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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Fattening up the little ones...

A friend sent me this article, I'll highlight some key words...

March 6, 2006

LONDON -- Nearly half of the children in North and South America will be overweight by 2010, according to a report today by the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

In the European Union, about 38 percent of all children will be overweight if present trends continue -- up from about 25 percent in recent surveys, the study said.

"We have truly a global epidemic which appears to be affecting most countries in the world," said Dr. Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force.

The percentages of overweight children also are expected to increase significantly in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

'It's like the plague is in town'

"They're being bombarded like they are in the West to eat all the wrong foods. The Western world's food industries without even realizing it have precipitated an
epidemic with enormous health consequences," James said.

He said children are "being exposed to the world's marketing might," arguing that governments should step in. "There needs to be a ban on all forms of marketing, not just television adverts." Because obese children tend to carry the problem into adulthood, doctors say they will tend to be sicker as they get older, suffering from heart disease, stroke and other ailments stemming from their weight.

"This is going to be the first generation that's going to have a lower life expectancy than their parents," Dr. Phillip Thomas said. "It's like the plague is in town and no one is interested."

AP
Plague, Global Epidemic, ENORMOUS health consequece... These key words sum up this article as a scare tactic, or just a way to get people to read it. It's all in the wording. You use the correct words to invoke a feeling. In this case a feeling of fear. I didn't intend to comment on the choice of words in this article, but I figured this would be an easy enough place to start. Considering the main point they are trying to make is an important one, BUT they are aiming the blame in the wrong direction...

So kids are watching tv, looking at road signs on their way to and from school on the school bus and they see what every other commuter and television audience sees. Advertisements from numerous companies trying to sell fast food with gimmicks. 95% of the food isn't good for us, but it sure tastes good (most of the time).

Here's the thing. Who's to blame for fattening up the kids of today? Is it really the advertising and the fast food restaurants? Nope! I'm pretty sure everyone would agree that it's the parents that are to blame. It's way too easy to be driving home from work and decide, man I really don't want to cook tonight. Golden arches up ahead... BINGO!

You know what? I'm guilty of it too... I take the easy way out just like anyone else. But here's the thing. We may do it once a week. To me, this seems a little too much. But to others this is a drop in the bucket. If you drive past the red-light-district of fast food, which every community has them now, you have these pretty little places just sitting there enticing you with their tasty treats. It's hard to resist. Now look at the line-up around the building of patrons waiting to get their goodies. Who's there?

Do you see the neighbor-kid Billy or Katey and their friends encircling the building like a bunch of buzzards circling thier prey? Again, the answer is no... You see mini-vans and SUV's wrapped tightly around the building just waiting for those juicy burgers and fries.

Simply put, if you are going to blame someone, blame the parents. Take the time to spend making dinner with the kids and keep it healthy. A special treat of fast food every now and then is fun, but like everything else, keep it in moderation.

When I was a kid, it was a special treat to get food from McDonald's. It didn't happen all that often, but when it did, it was a special thing. The same thing goes for constant treats of soda for every meal and snack. When I was growing up we had movie night on Friday's with soda and popcorn. This was the coolest thing for me, because I would get my own bottle of Coke, just for me. This was the only time of the week that I had soda. It was special, and I loved it.

We don't give our kids soda at home at all. The only time my 6 year-old son has soda is when we go to the movies. Again, a special event. He knows that 95% of that tub of popcorn is his and he gets to share the soda with Mom and Dad. He loves it this way, and we keep it special. My 2-year-old doesn't touch the stuff. She doesn't like the bubbles. Just as well...

One last note on soda and weight issues with children.

I heard on NPR yesterday that a study was done in Boston dealing with sugary drinks and weight gain for teens:

by Allison Aubrey
Morning Edition, March 6, 2006 ยท Researchers say a simple way for teens to lose
weight is to stop having sugary drinks. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston
found that teenagers who replaced soda and juices with calorie-free beverages
lost about a pound a month over a six-month trial. (Audio Link)

Hhmmm... Interesting thought. Now granted, a pound a month isn't that much. But they didn't change their diet at all, other than substituting for the sugar loaded beverages. Nothing else in their lifestyle changed.

It's all a matter of education and moderation. I like the fast food as much as anyone else. But I do enjoy cooking too. It's not that hard to whip up something at home that's not going to put your kids at risk for health problems down the road.

Please share your thoughts with me and tell me if there's anything I may have missed. I think I'm pretty on the mark with this one...

2 Comments:

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Clifford said...

This last weekend I had lunch with a family from Michigan. The mom told me that their 10 year old daughter loved root beer and constantly drank it throughout the day. The parents couldn't keep enough of it in the house. I looked at their daughter, who is grossly overweight, and I thought "It certainly looks like she loves rootbeer."

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger hoof_in_mouth said...

Don't forget that kids aren't allowed (forced) to "DAMMIT, GO OUTSIDE!" anymore, or go anywhere under their own steam (bike). I basically wasn't allowed in the house before dinner, even in winter. Show me some little lardass, and I'll show you a kid with a TV and video system in his room that gets driven everywhere by his super paranoid parents.

 

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