Yesterday Beth of Shut Up and Run posted on her blog titled Obese Police. It was an interesting post regarding if a child should have been removed by the state because of the fact that he was four times the size of ‘normal’ kid his age. It was under the thought process that the mother we putting her child in harm’s way. There are a lot of comments about the situation and I encourage you to read the post and then throw in your two cents. I know I did.
My two cents consisted of not knowing if taking the child out of the home was the right thing to do. I still don’t know, although another comment made me think. It said that what this mother was doing was child abuse and that society would not hesitate to remove a child from a house if it were ‘traditional’ child abuse. I nodded my head in agreement and that also reinforced my other thoughts on the subject.
I am a believer that we tend to tip-toe around the subject of obesity because it may hurt that person’s feelings. I have been getting to the point that I just don’t care if their feelings are hurt because I think it is this idea of ignoring the situation that has allowed this person to continue to feed their problems instead of attacking them head on. People will turn to food as a defense mechanism the same way that they do drugs and alcohol.
When a person is doing drugs or abusing alcohol we don’t seem to have a problem as a society to do interventions or get them help. Maybe drugs and alcohol are too far away from obesity, but how about cigarette smoking? As a society we have no problem telling people who are smoking that they are killing themselves slowly and now have Government entities banning cigarette smoking everywhere except for in your house practically. There was an uproar over second-hand smoke and how that impacts the other person’s life even though the are not puffing. Why is obesity any different?
When a person is obese they are susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes, coronary disease, shortness of breath, etc and these too have an impact on society. Health care costs rise, costs of goods rise, insurance premiums go up. If you don’t think you are being affected by the person eating 10 McDonald’s Quarter Pounders a day you are sadly mistaken.
A variety of different approaches are needed because not everybody learns the same way. There needs to be education, there may also need to be Government intervention in the form of taxes, maybe the food companies (the ones using cellulose in their processed foods) need to be sued and have their hand forced into creating healthier meals.
So what does this have to do with childhood obesity? It has everything to do with childhood obesity. Parents are not focusing on being parents. They are allowing TVs to parent their children. They are shuttling kids from activity to activity and instead of serving them real foods they are stopping at the drive-thru in McDonald’s and eating on the run. They are not educating their children on what is healthy food and thus we are creating, or have created, a generation that could easily not outlive its parents.
I have a step-son and I preach about healthy eating. If he asks me if I want some candy I tell him no because I don’t eat that. He has heard it so much that he told Karen and I that he no longer wants candy on Halloween but instead wants apples. He has refused to order french fries because I had a comment that the french fries from fast food places like McDonald’s will make his butt fat. He is learning that I workout and eat vegetables and get stronger and it is implanted in his head. It is about educating them so that they make better choices as they get older.
With this in mind I came across an article by Joy Bauer about 8 Ways Parent Make Kids Fat. I am going to list the 8 ways along with a short statement from the site but be sure to read the article for yourself.
Mistake 1: Telling kids to clean their plate
For the most part, healthy young children eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. As a parent, you don’t want to mess around with their internal cues by encouraging or bribing them to “clean their plates” and eat past the point of fullness.
Mistake 2: Offering sweet rewards
Trying to get children to eat their vegetables can be downright frustrating – and parents often resort to bribery. Does this sound familiar? “Eat your broccoli and you can have ice cream for dessert.”
But unfortunately, this technique teaches our kids that broccoli and other vegetables are “less appealing” because their consumption requires a reward. At the same time, this approach positions dessert as the prize, something to be valued over other foods.
Mistake 3: Serving up too many snacks
Constant snacking throughout the day translates to calorie overload – plus, can leave kids uninterested in nutritious food (like chicken and vegetables) at mealtime when lunch or dinner rolls around.
Mistake 4: Filling up on empty liquid calories
An eye-opening study in the journal Pediatrics found that today’s youths take in 10 to 15 percent of their total daily calories from sugar-sweetened beverages (like soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks) and 100 percent fruit juice. Further, kids’ average daily caloric intake from these beverages increased from 242 calories to 270 calories over the last 10 years and continues to rise. Most of these drinks are sources of empty calories, meaning they provide simple sugars but little else in the way of nutrients — plus, high-calorie beverages do not trigger the same satiety mechanisms as solid foods. This means that your kids are unlikely to feel full from drinking lots of soda or juice, and therefore will not innately compensate for the extra liquid calories they slurp up, which can inevitably pack on the pounds.
Mistake 5: Giving in to kids’ dinner demands
When it comes to mealtime, kids inevitably request pizza, chicken nuggets, pasta, burgers and fries. Instead of accommodating unhealthy requests, parents should take charge — nix sugary breakfast cereals and pastries in the am, and provide ONE universal meal for dinner each night (of course, try to take your kids taste preferences into account).
In fact, you can even learn to prepare healthier versions of your kids’ favorite meals by making simple swaps in the kitchen: use lean meats (like ground turkey in place of fatty ground chuck), low-fat dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt) in place of full-fat varieties, and lighter condiments. If they love chicken nuggets and fries, prepare “baked” nuggets with “oven roasted” potato fries and a green vegetable. If they like burgers, make lean turkey burgers. If they crave pasta, try whole-wheat pasta with marinara and turkey meatballs.
Mistake 6: Letting kids overdose on screen time
According to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation report, in a typical day, 8 to 18-year-olds in this country spend more than 7½ hours using media (TV, music, computer video games, etc.). That’s almost a full work-day of media time each and every day! When kids are parked in front of the tube, they’re totally sedentary and eating up time that might otherwise be spent playing or moving around. Plus, there’s a good chance they’re mindlessly snacking on junk food while watching their shows — and also being bombarded by unhealthy food ads. SO it’s actually a TRIPLE whammy of unhealthy habits.
Set house rules on television time, and limit your kids to their favorite shows. Only have the TV on at set times when people are watching a designated program — don’t keep it on as background noise all day long. And definitely don’t allow the TV to be on during mealtimes —when it can distract them and interfere with them listening to their body’s natural fullness cues.
Mistake 7: Letting kids stay up late
Sleep deprivation messes with appetite cues. It increases levels of hormones that make kids hungrier and decreases levels of hormones that keep kids feeling full, so tired kids are more likely to want snacks and nibble and graze throughout the day. Plus, if your kids aren’t well rested, you’ll have more issues getting them up in the morning in time to eat a healthy breakfast (and skipping breakfast makes them far hungrier in the afternoon/evening hours).
Mistake 8: Using strollers excessively
Strollers are a wonderful necessity, but using them excessively as your kids get older robs them of exercise — and reinforces the idea that it’s okay to be sedentary.
Please take the time to educate yourself and your children on what is healthy eating so that you can enjoy your life and they can enjoy theirs.
What Steps Do You Take To Live A Healthy Lifestyle?
** UPDATE – While on Twitter I read a tweet from Lauren of Food Trainers. She has a great blog and I used one of her posts regarding ‘carb-loading‘ recently. This tweet contained a link to an article in the USA Today regarding Childhood Obesity and is a good read because it also refers to the child in the article on Beth’s blog. Read the article [HERE]