The other day while at the market I couldn’t help but notice an obese woman with three obese kids pushing a shopping cart packed with sugary cereals, cartons of soda, cookies, chips, cheese, and other processed foods. I noted no fresh fruits, vegetables or lean meats. Unfortunately, many of the best-tasting foods in America are terrible for us and are usually high in calories, fat, sugar, sodium or other artificial additives.
It just so happens that this was not an impoverished mother trying to stretch food stamp dollars. The woman is a colleague physician.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the soaring obesity rates among American adults and children wealthy or poor, particularly African Americans and Latinos.
That’s why First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, dubbed “Let’s Move” is a wake -up call that must start at home. The initiative has four core pillars: better nutrition information, increased physical activity, easier access to healthy foods and personal responsibility. The campaign shows, specific actions revolve around food labeling, school food quality, and encouraging kids to exercise each day and doctors to monitor body mass index.
Mrs. Obama is taking a smart, multi-pronged approach to an alarming problem faced by too many Americans. Her campaign has the potential to make a big difference.
There are plenty of “small changes” families can make to encourage their children to be more food and exercise savvy, including reducing salt and sugar intake, choosing healthy snacks, water and natural juices and beverages over sodas, walking to school and gardening.
Change starts at home. Some parents complain kids won’t eat healthy foods, so they give them what they want. That is cheating our children and sends the wrong message.
Parents can talk to their kids about eating and exercising properly. They can teach balanced diets, but if they aren’t getting fresh, healthy foods at school and in the restaurants parents frequent, kids are smart enough to see the contradiction. Most children need at least 60 minutes of active play a day and should have no more than two hours of screen time (TV, computer and video games) a day. Parents can set the example.
It’s high time to tackle childhood obesity. Join the “Let’s Move” campaign, find out as much information as possible about eating healthy and exercising.
Pass it on - Set the example for our children.
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