Monday, April 5, 2010

How do we stop our children from getting fat?

There has been a lot of talk about this topic recently. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has brought some attention to a very real problem that many people are facing- our kids are getting fatter and fatter. And how do we stop it?

I see kids in the ED all the time eating all sorts of junk. I've seen 500 lb teenagers. I've seen their parents eating the same junk. Our hospital has a Subway that is open all the time but still I see 2 year olds eating doritos and drinking orange soda. Why doesn't anyone seem to think this is a problem?

I don't know how to change a culture. There are so many factors here- culture, access to nutritious food, poverty, lack of transportation, lack of education. But we cannot allow our children to become the first generation who is less healthy than their parents!

Whenever you go into a fast food restaurant and are faced with a menu, do you think about whether or not you actually need all the food in the extra value meal? Do you really need a big mac, large fries and a large coke? Or would you be fine with a cheeseburger and a side salad? If you always eat the big mac meal then you get the idea that you need that much and are depriving yourself if you don't eat all of it! Time to change the mindset..

I don't know what the solution is but all I can do is chip away little by little and help improve the lives of the kids I see. Our elementary school had a March Madness battle with fruits and vegetables- I came in to help the kids taste the food and there were several kids who had never seen kiwi or honeydew or red peppers.. do their parents eat those things?

We need to realize that we are setting the example for our kids. If our kids see us eating chips and burgers, what are they going to want?

I realize this is a huge topic and I look forward to some discussion. Maybe we can brainstorm some ideas...

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