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Calorie Count Blog

Childhood Obesity: Beyond the Pounds


By +Carolyn Richardson on Mar 24, 2012 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

You have probably seen the media ramp up coverage of childhood obesity as of late. From the Let’s Move Campaign to Georgia’s anti-obesity ad campaign, a seeming war on the weight of children is front and center. However, because childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, remedying this issue is far bigger than losing pounds.

Weight Stigma

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports about 10% of annual healthcare costs in the US are attributed to obesity. The reason obesity in children and adults is worth all the attention it’s getting is because its associated health problems, such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, are life-threatening conditions that are preventable. The problem with much of the media coverage is that it demonizes the choices, body image, and sociability of overweight and obese people. Science has proven this approach may not work. A Yale University study found overweight participants who were exposed to a stigmatizing video ate three times more than those who watched one with a neutral message. Bottom line, hating on weight does not work.

Where Does My Food Come From

Separate episodes of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tested elementary and high school students about where certain foods come from. While many high school students failed to choose a correct answer from multiple choice questions about where butter, cheese, and corn come from. One issue at the base of childhood obesity is the fact that many children do not know how food is produced. The fruits, vegetables, and whole grains the USDA urges us to eat are a mystery to too many youngsters. Not only have many never grown anything, but many have never gone to a farm, or stepped foot into a food manufacturing plant. Nutrition education is tantamount to improving the obesity epidemic at all levels. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that preschool children who were almost always served homegrown produce were more than twice as likely to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day—and to like them more—than kids who rarely or never ate homegrown produce. With technology to grow herbs and tomatoes indoors, and an increasing interest in urban gardening, now is the time to show kids what goes into the food that ends up on their plate. 

The Parent Trap

With almost 70% of adults over 20 overweight or obese, even with proper education as a child, improving obesity statistics is an uphill battle. Because parents who are obese are much more likely to have obese children, their habits and authority may make it hard for children to maintain healthy habits. Without the support of their parents, nutrition education for children may fall on deaf ears once kids transfer the message to their moms and dads. The other often-ignored issue of preschool children is childcare. About 60 percent of infants and children up to age 5 spend an average of 29 hours per week in some form of childcare setting away from home. Childcare therefore is an important place in a child's food experience that may have little, if no parent intervention. Because food preferences are built from birth to age 5, nutrition in childcare is also an important component in creating healthy eating habits. 

The 5-2-1-Almost None Rule

Whether at home, school or childcare, there needs to be an easy to understand guideline for parents, schools, childcare providers, and after-school programs that promotes healthy eating habits. The 5-2-1-Almost None rule is an easy way to remember the following nutrition and physical activity guidelines for children:

  • Five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • No more than two hours per day in front of a screen (TV, video games, and recreational computer time).
  • One hour of physical activity per day 
  • Almost none sugary beverages - that is no more than two servings per week of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Your thoughts…

What misperceptions about food from your childhood have contributed to your current eating habits?



Comments


Comment Removed

The obesity in children is especially of interest to me as I was overweight as a child.  I do not recall overeating, although I do know that snacks/candy/desserts were always available in our house.  As I grew in height, my weight didn't change, and in high school I ended up being 130 pounds and 5'7" tall, pretty normal.  

What has helped me (but maybe hurt my self image) is that I still see that fat girl in the mirror, and I don't ever want her to return.  I weigh myself every day, eat healthy vegetables, grains, fish, chicken and once or twice a year maybe a piece of red meat.   I have convinced myself that I don't like cheese, but what tempts me are sweets.  However, sugar does not agree with my system, so I feel much better without it.

I think we all have to play little mind games and find what works for us in keeping the weight off from a dietary standpoint.

Exercise is a DAILY ritual, cardio, weights, something every day.  A constant battle, but so worth it to look and feel good!

 

 



The biggest for me was the use of food as a reward.  Eating out was usually a treat for many things.  In my adult life, I carried that forward as using food as an entitlement.  Have a bad day then eat to relieve the stress.  Have a good day then eat as a reward. React to boredom or depression by eating.

Regarding childhood obesity, I was overweight a large part of my childhood.  One of the reasons for me deciding to make a lifestyle was when I noticed my child was starting to develop poor eating habits and was becoming overweight.  Not wanting to see that for her, I decided I needed to make a lifestyle change and hopefully be a positive influence in this area.  I'm happy to say through my 20 month fitness journey of losing and maintaining a 100 lb weight loss she is no longer overweight and has developed healthy eating and fitness habits!!



I have sooo much to give to this topic, that I am not quite sure where to start. First of all, I am a former fatty. I battled my weight since I can remember. I am told that I had terrible colic, and so my pediatrician told my mom to start feeding me ceereal in my bottle at 2-4 weeks. Way too many fat cells were created in my little body. All the pics of me as a baby, I am HUGE in comparison to all other babies. Both my parents were effortlessly thin and beautiful. My mom put in the pageants and was always obsessed with my weight. She started counting my caloric intake when I was like 5.

I got to eat half a sandwich, 4 doritos, and half an apple. We never kept any junk food in the house....never...any. My Mom made sure to tell people not to bring any over, due to my tendency to gain weight. Instead of encouraging me to play outside, my parents put arm and leg weight on me, along with purchasing a mini trampoline for me to run in place on. While everyone was in front of the TV, I was bouncing on the trampoline for a an hour a night. I started hiding food. I lied about food, but my Mom still kept up with my food diary.  We would religiously weigh me in every week. My Mom would say things like, "You have such a pretty face sweetie. It's such a shame we can't get that weight off of you." At the time she was saying this, at most, I was probably 4-5 pounds heavier than my fellow elementary schoolers.

As a mother of a 5 year old little girl, I cringe when I think about the misery and self loathing I endured as a child. My little girl goes through spurts. She always gets a little chubby, then shoots up. I wonder if that isn't what was happening with me. I believe in efforts to "save" me from being fat, that my Mom gave me a food obsession/ eating disorder. She would often say, " I don't know where she gets it from, her father and I are just naturally thin." Both of my brothers were thin, they were actually too thin, if possible. I always felt like something was broken inside of me, like I was a second class citizen.

When I grew up, I moved out the day I turned 18. I instantly ballooned into 238 at 5' tall, yikes! I gorged on everything she wouldn't allow, and I mean gorged. I would eat until I was in pain....more self loathing. When I was 21, I decided I had had enough! I started walking everday at the slow pace of 3.2 mph, but consistently for 30 minutes a day, everyday. I instantly lost 50 pounds. Then I started being healthy food conscious, and then I incorporated free weights. In total, I lost 108 pounds. I completed my mission at 25. Since then I have had 2 children, and again lost all the weight. Once I was in charge of my body, and my food intake I became a normal weight. I work out, but I enjoy it. I don't feel like it is a punishment anymore, but instead my own personal time. 

I have a culinary degree, am a pastry chef, and am currently pursuing a nutrition degree. I hope to be a food lobbyist one day. I want to change things about our food supply, food perception, and parental intervention. There are so many things to be looked at and changed for our children. If more people looked into high fructose corn syrup, it would be illegal. Parents shouldn't limit food, they should offer as much fresh fruit any veggies as their kids want, and limit junk, but not eliminate it (that just creates food obsession). Acceptance is the key to helping our kids, that and incorporating a healthy lifestyle into all of our lives, not just the "fat people's".



The way I was raised to eat is not done these days but I think it is why my parents and my siblings are not obese.  We always had home cooked meals and very rarely ate out (usually a special occasion or a treat).  My parents made us eat every vegetable they served and they served them all.  Like any kid we didn't want to eat them but we were not allowed to leave the table until we did.  Today all my siblings and I eat every vegetable including spinach, Brussels sprouts, other non-favorites.

We all home cook our own meals and very rarely go to fast food restaurants. Sadly my nephew is eating like other kids these days picky and rarely eats vegetables.  He prefers fast food restaurants and junk food like Doritos.  He is not obese but overweight.  My brother has tried to change my nephews eating habits but is facing an uphill battle when he is competing with school lunches and school peers influence.



Wow! A lot of other formerly obese people here-- it really is traumatic when you're a kid and you feel you have no control over your weight. As a child, I had no idea why I was fat-- I just ate the fried chicken and big macs my Mom gave me and thought that our nutrition choices were normal. Parents might be giving kids horrible foods as a way to appease them or as an act of love, but in the long run, kids could grow to resent their parents for creating a health problem that is very difficult to manage later in life. There are so many things you can "rob" a child of, from having a girlfriend or boyfriend, playing a sport, feeling unafraid of bullies, having confidence and joy in using their bodies, and having a lifelong foundation of health-- there are a lot of studies that show that, even if you lose the weight, going through puberty with obesity increases your risk for many cancers. 


It must be hard for parents of obese kids to know what to do. Once, my mom had me look in the mirror and told me I was a "fatty" and I just cried and ate more food :). I didn't have the self-confidence to deal with that kind of tough love. Be gentle and kind and supportive, but be firm. Build the child's self-esteem as well as offering healthy options. Make the child care. Give the kid facts about heart disease and diabetes. Educate kids about where their food comes from, how animals are raised, etc. Show kids how to read ingredient labels. Don't have anything crappy in the house, no matter how cheap it is with the coupons. Coupon-ing is a great way to make sure everyone is really fat all the time.  



I never had misconceptions per se about food, except that when very young I thought it must be pretty rare.  As I grew older, I realized we just couldn't afford a whole lot of it.  We were raised on pasta and bread as they were fairly cheap.  Mom could make our homemade sauce last from a bright red the first day, to pale pink 15 days later. On pale pink days, we got meatballs.

As an adult, I ALWAYS had (still have) food in my house.  It just wasn't always the right kind of food.  In my 20s, I just put enough food in the kids' bellies to keep away hunger pangs.  I always baked our own goodies, because it was so much cheaper and I didn't want them to feel deprived.

I did learn to garden and grow fresh veggies in my late 20s, but we rarely had fruit in our house and we had a lot of high fat meat.

So, while I took a step up from the nutrition of my parents, I was not great.  My daughters paid the price.  (MY sons have no weight problems).  But, much to my delighted surprise, my daughters are giving their children better nutrition than they had themselves.

It is a shame that it has taken 4 generations to approach healthy eating, but I think we are getting there.

SIDE NOTE:  Fast food and junk food was not ever one of our family's banes.  Our bane was affordability and not knowing how to make the right choices with limited funds. 



One thing that has also changed in the last few decades, just touched on in the article, is exercise.  If mom is working, she does not want her kids outside    (if they are past babysitter age).  So there is not too much kids can do during daylight hours waiting at home for parents to get off work.  Maybe part of the solution is to provide some good times outside when possible, or get them to a gym or activity until the parents get home.  I don't remember worrying about stranger/danger when I was a kid, but I am sure this enters in here somewhere.



Original Post by: shesmalls

The way I was raised to eat is not done these days but I think it is why my parents and my siblings are not obese.  We always had home cooked meals and very rarely ate out (usually a special occasion or a treat).  My parents made us eat every vegetable they served and they served them all.  Like any kid we didn't want to eat them but we were not allowed to leave the table until we did.  Today all my siblings and I eat every vegetable including spinach, Brussels sprouts, other non-favorites.

We all home cook our own meals and very rarely go to fast food restaurants. Sadly my nephew is eating like other kids these days picky and rarely eats vegetables.  He prefers fast food restaurants and junk food like Doritos.  He is not obese but overweight.  My brother has tried to change my nephews eating habits but is facing an uphill battle when he is competing with school lunches and school peers influence.


Thank you so much for sharing your story.  It's sad to read about how you were raised as a child, but the person you've become is incredible and your story is truly inspiring!!



Original Post by: lreneeco

Original Post by: shesmalls

The way I was raised to eat is not done these days but I think it is why my parents and my siblings are not obese.  We always had home cooked meals and very rarely ate out (usually a special occasion or a treat).  My parents made us eat every vegetable they served and they served them all.  Like any kid we didn't want to eat them but we were not allowed to leave the table until we did.  Today all my siblings and I eat every vegetable including spinach, Brussels sprouts, other non-favorites.

We all home cook our own meals and very rarely go to fast food restaurants. Sadly my nephew is eating like other kids these days picky and rarely eats vegetables.  He prefers fast food restaurants and junk food like Doritos.  He is not obese but overweight.  My brother has tried to change my nephews eating habits but is facing an uphill battle when he is competing with school lunches and school peers influence.


Thank you so much for sharing your story.  It's sad to read about how you were raised as a child, but the person you've become is incredible and your story is truly inspiring!!


Ooops!! I meant to quote the story above - from erin_is_35.  Always get that wrong! 



As a kid, I was not allowed out of the house during the days off from school (both parents worked and I was a latchkey kid) and no friends could come over because my dad had a business running out of our basement. My mom would wake me at 7:30 am so i could answer the business phone while they were gone and and I would lay on the couch watching I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke Show reruns all morning. Today, CPS would be called on them...but I learned to quell the desire to run and play. By the time I graduated 6th grade I was already wearing a girdle. It was downhill from there. I have been trying to reconcile myself with my parents, both deceased, and trying to get past the anger and disappointment of my youth, but it is a long row to hoe. I am close to target weight now, but the anger remains. It's up to me now, and I hope I can manage myself.



What's interesting, is the fact schools (my sons elementary school) have gone down to only one day per week for P.E. Class!! Doesnt make much sense!


Original Post by: erin_is_35

I have sooo much to give to this topic, that I am not quite sure where to start. First of all, I am a former fatty. I battled my weight since I can remember. I am told that I had terrible colic, and so my pediatrician told my mom to start feeding me ceereal in my bottle at 2-4 weeks. Way too many fat cells were created in my little body. All the pics of me as a baby, I am HUGE in comparison to all other babies. Both my parents were effortlessly thin and beautiful. My mom put in the pageants and was always obsessed with my weight. She started counting my caloric intake when I was like 5.

I got to eat half a sandwich, 4 doritos, and half an apple. We never kept any junk food in the house....never...any. My Mom made sure to tell people not to bring any over, due to my tendency to gain weight. Instead of encouraging me to play outside, my parents put arm and leg weight on me, along with purchasing a mini trampoline for me to run in place on. While everyone was in front of the TV, I was bouncing on the trampoline for a an hour a night. I started hiding food. I lied about food, but my Mom still kept up with my food diary.  We would religiously weigh me in every week. My Mom would say things like, "You have such a pretty face sweetie. It's such a shame we can't get that weight off of you." At the time she was saying this, at most, I was probably 4-5 pounds heavier than my fellow elementary schoolers.

As a mother of a 5 year old little girl, I cringe when I think about the misery and self loathing I endured as a child. My little girl goes through spurts. She always gets a little chubby, then shoots up. I wonder if that isn't what was happening with me. I believe in efforts to "save" me from being fat, that my Mom gave me a food obsession/ eating disorder. She would often say, " I don't know where she gets it from, her father and I are just naturally thin." Both of my brothers were thin, they were actually too thin, if possible. I always felt like something was broken inside of me, like I was a second class citizen.

When I grew up, I moved out the day I turned 18. I instantly ballooned into 238 at 5' tall, yikes! I gorged on everything she wouldn't allow, and I mean gorged. I would eat until I was in pain....more self loathing. When I was 21, I decided I had had enough! I started walking everday at the slow pace of 3.2 mph, but consistently for 30 minutes a day, everyday. I instantly lost 50 pounds. Then I started being healthy food conscious, and then I incorporated free weights. In total, I lost 108 pounds. I completed my mission at 25. Since then I have had 2 children, and again lost all the weight. Once I was in charge of my body, and my food intake I became a normal weight. I work out, but I enjoy it. I don't feel like it is a punishment anymore, but instead my own personal time. 

I have a culinary degree, am a pastry chef, and am currently pursuing a nutrition degree. I hope to be a food lobbyist one day. I want to change things about our food supply, food perception, and parental intervention. There are so many things to be looked at and changed for our children. If more people looked into high fructose corn syrup, it would be illegal. Parents shouldn't limit food, they should offer as much fresh fruit any veggies as their kids want, and limit junk, but not eliminate it (that just creates food obsession). Acceptance is the key to helping our kids, that and incorporating a healthy lifestyle into all of our lives, not just the "fat people's".


This is a great story!  I love how you binged on what you couldn't have and it wasn't until YOU (not some one else, like a school, TV..) made the decision for a healthier life style that it was cemented and became part of your life.  Grew up loving food and hating yourself to loving food and loving yourself.  I think with that experience alone would make you an excellent nutritionist.  Great story thanks for sharing!!



Original Post by: mama2corynchase

What's interesting, is the fact schools (my sons elementary school) have gone down to only one day per week for P.E. Class!! Doesnt make much sense!

Yes Ma'am...you just hit it! There are people out there whining about our children becoming obese, but they are failing to realize that the problem starts at home, then transfers to school, then follows them for the rest of their lives. 

The following story includes many true facts, and a few humorous embellishments for your entertainment.  

Mom and Dad rarely can or will take the time to cook and sit down to eat a balanced breakfast with little Jane or Joey, so they go to school hungry. There, they may or may not get snack or breakfast, which is 90% carbs/high sugar/low protein. Super Donuts, prepackaged cereal mixes, sausage and gravy covered english muffins are their choices. They are given up to 30 minutes for breakfast, and that's if they get to school right at 7:30. 30 minutes sounds like a lot, until you factor in about 200 kids have to go through the line, which is manned by 2 cashiers. By the time Jane/Joey get through that line and sit down, they have about 10 minutes to eat.

Repeat at lunch time, where yes, fruit and veggies are routinely offered, but the fruit is almost always from a can, and the veggies frozen then overcooked (because don't you know, schools can't POSSIBLY afford fresh fruit and fresh veggies). Even the greatest broccoli lovers out there won't eat over-boiled, soggy broccoli. The children receive little, if any, nutrition education, such as growing plants or hearing from local farmers during their elementary years.

Oh, and those wonderful recess times we remember as children? They no longer exist. Jane and Joey can go outside if the weather is not too hot or too cold, and then only if they behave. So they begin to associate physical activity with being "good", (i.e., you have to be good and the weather has to be perfect to exercise). And if they get too "rowdy" on the tiny little playground, they are made to walk single file and silently back to their classroom. PE itself has gone from baseball, soccer and kickball games outside to relay races, tag, and jump rope in the gym, no matter the weather, and is offered twice a week for 30 minutes at best.

Add to all this the fact that some brilliant politicians and SuperMoms decided  that Jane and Joey can't POSSIBLY have a brain in their head unless their teachers can show the rest of us they can crank out absolutely meaningless test scores. All of that pressure leads to Mr. and Mrs. Teacher having to keep their students at their desks, not playing outside. They can't do art and music inside, either, but must sit and scratch out numbers and "spell it like you hear it" words on worksheets. That's a lot of mental energy to expend and little physical activity to release those stress hormones that are building up inside their little bodies. Add that poor excuse for school lunch they get served, and their bodies are primed for the accumulation of fat cells.

Now, little Jane and Joey get to go home on the bus that they rode a measley 1/4 mile to school because there are no sidewalks or crossing guards. They have learned since Kindergarten that walking is dangerous and requires too much energy, so they grow up with more negative associations with physical activity.

Once home, little Jane and Joey get to do their homework while ravenously eating snacks to fill their empty bellies. These snacks are typically granola bars, cracker pack, and fruit snacks because of their cheap prices and the way they are marketed to the kiddies. They gorge themselves on these, then hang out on the computer, the video game console, or watching TV. If Mom or Dad is home, they might get to go outside, but there is no more of "be home when the streetlights come on" because the overabundance of our negative media has got all parents terrified that their kids will get snatched and sold into sex slavery if they let them out of their sight for more than 3.2 minutes.

There are no more family meals, homecooked by Mom or Dad, from what they grew in their home garden. We are an instant gratification society now, and growing a plant just takes SO much time. There is too much reliance on the middle aisles of the grocery store or the fast food restaurants on the way home from Joey's little league and Jane's dance lessons. And by the way, those sports and private lessons are the most activity they see in a week. IF Mom and Dad are blessed with enough resources to enroll them in those programs.

So, what is the answer to our kids getting fat? We must start at home. Grow a tomato plant. You can go to the dollar store and buy three packs of seeds for $1. Then buy some potting soil for $1. And a couple of pots for a $1 each. Have your kids do the planting. A child can plant enough seeds for 8 tomato plants in less than 30 minutes. They will learn more about food and nutrition by performing that simple task than their school can teach them the whole year. Oh yeah, and that $5 and 30 minutes you just spent will save your child close to $300,000.00 in their lifetime in doctor's bills for hypertension because getting them started at 3 years old will set them up for healthy habits for life.


Buy your kid a bike. Let him ride it around the yard if you have no sidewalks.

Let them climb trees. They aren't gonna fall out and break all their limbs simultaneously. As any parent of a one year old knows, kids are amazingly agile climbers!

Take your teenager to the mall and tell her you'll buy her those cool jeans if her and her friends can walk 5 laps in less than an hour (just make sure you don't try to walk with them...sit in a place where you can observe, but no one knows you're the mom as your very existence, if known, would cause extreme tension in the body, redness in the face, and the silent treatment for a week at home). Offering a positive incentive to exercise goes a long way in reprogramming what school and society have done to us!

It doesn't take much to change bad habits if they already exist, and it doesn't take much to start healthy habits initially with your kids. Be the parent, not your kid's friend. And if you don't know how to start living healthy, take that keyboard you've been typing on and Google "how to grow a vegetable garden" It's that simple.

PS. And to all of you doubters of my advice out there, I was the fat kid who was bullied up until high school. I have struggled with my weight every day of my life from the age of 9, and still weigh more than I FEEL I should. I have been scarred forever by the things others (including my own family) said and did to me, but I have survived with a smile on my face. So I know what I'm talking about :)

 



My parents did they best they could with what they had. For me becoming obese was after getting marry and letting go. But now with Weight Watcher and this support I'm almost back to normal range (down 90lbs)



Original Post by: mama2corynchase

What's interesting, is the fact schools (my sons elementary school) have gone down to only one day per week for P.E. Class!! Doesnt make much sense!

Yeah, I was pretty shocked when we moved here to FL, and my son no longer got recess (at the time he was in 4th grade).  I can't imagine being a teacher cooped up with kids who have energy to release!

He only had PE 2 of his 3 years in Jr High, and only one year in high school.

Luckily, he met someone in high school that liked to go biking, so they'd get exercise that way.  And we have a pool, so he did a lot of swimming in the warm months.  Other than that, it was hard to get him away from the computer.  He did develop an interest in plants which helped.  And he walked to school every day.  But, the car line at the school was LOOONG with parents not letting their kids walk 6 blocks home. :( so sad.



I remember when I was a child 7-10, I always had at least 2 hours of physical activity & 1 hour of watching TV. I find the physical activity during that age is good for building muscles & things that related to them. I think 1 hour of physical activity is too short, & kids should have the maximum time of physical activity as they could do.



Thank you for your supportive words. It is hard to look bad at that sad little girl. I, like so many others am still trying to stifle the anger in my heart towards my parents. One thing is true, I think my Mom was trying to do her best. It just seems so out of the rhelm of possibility that she thought that was the way to deal with her living breathing little girl.



Boy does this bring back bad memories.  I too was overweight from a very young age (3) and was constantly told "you're fat, stop eating" or "you have such a pretty face it's a shame that you're fat".  My family was all over the charts on weight.  My mom (former model) was naturally thin.  My dad came from a farming family so we ate in volume.  We religiously had meat, potatoes and some canned vegetable and bread nightly and not eating everything on your plate was a corporal offense.  I learned from a very young age to not listen to my body and eat everything on my plate whether I was hungry or not.  My mom did not cook well so I learned to make mashed potato sandwiches and eat lots of carbs and fat.  I too wasn't allowed to go outdoors and engage in an active lifestyle.  I had such a bad image for so long about myself that every time I eat I have such an overwhelming guilt.  In high school I engaged in very dangerous habits by consuming dexatrim which completely screwed up my metabolism for life and going on frequent starvation diets.  When I became an adult I could not control my eating since everything was off limits as a child and I ballooned to 260 pounds.  Sugar, fat, candy, ice cream  - I ate a lot of it.

I currently eat better or more consciously that I did as a child but I am still 50 pounds overweight.  I eat a lot of healthy foods but I also eat way too much sugar.  I don't eat fast food and rarely eat meat.  I mostly eat beans and legumes. 

I have two kids and they are slightly overweight.  The schools here serve junk for lunch.  High fat, high salt, nutritiously void JUNK!.  Then they have all but eliminated PE.  The kids if they are lucky get an hour a week.  My son in middle school gets an hour of pe daily but they have eliminated any recesses or lunch time activity.

Back in the day (30 years ago) moms stayed home and cooked and kids got out of school and played.  Not kids stay at care until 5:30 or 6:00 and parents who are strapped for time buy unhealthy fast food.  Until society as a whole recognizes that technology and our stressful and hurried life style is a detriment and changes it our kids are mostly doomed. 

I battle daily to make my kids have time to exercise but it is very difficult with all the time demands.  I truly hope that society recognizes the problem and decides that our kids are important enough to change.



I was raised on all kind of cereal, having desserts all the time and soda every dinner, But when I was 11 years old my mom had another baby and stopped working, She went into natural cooking classes and started to change things around. My sister born at that time is the only among us that has no problem keeping her weight. She didn't have sugar added to her milk (low fat), she ate all kind of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and almost no meat. 

All three of us were active, at that time there was no cable TV, no video games or computers. We would bike all day go to the street to play with our friends.

They second I stopped growing vertically, I started growing the other way. Same for my brother. My younger sister is still nice and slim.

So baby fat cell might have a lot to do with it.

My kids were raised on all kind of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. My girls struggle a bit but what I believe is that it's due to lack of activity. When they find a way to work out and eat sensibly everything goes fine.



genetics do play a role.  I have 3 kids...all with different body types.  I struggle to lose, my husband naturally thin.  Our oldest has to be careful.  She is thin, but you can tell she can gain.  our son is normal...not thin or fat...our youngest naturally thin.

they were all raised the same...same diet, played out side, did sports...they are all different...just like all of us. 

There is no magic formula.  some people really do have it harder...but that isn't an excuse...we have to work harder...oh well. so we do.

But parents...offer and make healthy food.  It's worth it.  We are on a budget too...you can do it.  you really really can.



I too believe that nutrition education is where we are going to make the biggest impact. If you are looking for a tool to help teach your child healthy portions take a look at my website for menus, portion plates, healthy snack ideas, shopping lists and more. http://www.portionsizematters.com



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