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Obesity In Our Children - It's Not Being Taken Serious Enough

James R. Donaldson

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I am probably going to upset some people with this article but I don't feel we are trying hard enough in the area of reducing childhood obesity in this country. It has to start in the home where we are taught most things needed to begin life; values are set in us at a very young age that we build upon throughout the rest of our lives, those values act as our foundation. We are taught right from wrong; our manners are embedded in us, our beliefs in religion along with many other principles and I feel that proper nutrition should start there as well. The parents can't be setting on the couch watching television with a box of cream puffs and chips while teaching their children good nutritional habits.

I can understand the situations that many families face with the rising costs of putting good quality foods on the table every day but there are better alternatives than what is being offered to a great majority of children without breaking the budget. One example is replacing the high sugary breakfast cereals for old fashioned oatmeal with a bit of cinnamon added which is a good complex carbohydrate and will keep their blood sugar levels stable throughout the morning and is cheaper as well. With all the alternatives available today there is just no excuse for allowing children to eat junk for breakfast.

Children that eat their breakfast at school are another story. I understand that school meals are government subsidized but I feel that they could do much better in the area of sound nutritional choices. If you pick up a newspaper and look at the menu for the week you may be surprised at what is being served up. I don't know about you but I don't consider pizza, French fries, white bread, breaded chicken patties and hot dogs as nutritious foods. This great country of ours, the richest in the world, spends more money on worthless programs that study bugs than it does on filling our schools with nutritious foods for our children. There are some circumstances in which the child's best source of nutrition for the day must come from the school meals provided.

There is no justifiable reason that we can't make certain that every meal served in our schools are as high a nutritional standard as could be humanly possible. I challenge you to look into your schools menu and read for yourself what is being offered to your children. A good many schools are starting to remove the soft drinks but not nearly enough. One regular 12 ounce soft drink contains ten teaspoons of sugar, would you sit down and add that much sugar to your morning coffee? Children are starting their day off with a can or two every morning at school along with a chocolate bar or cake from the vending machine. I'm sure you have heard the no child left behind slogan but I don't think they were including a nutritional meals program along with that. It is my opinion that if the government is going to complain on national television about the childhood obesity epidemic facing this country then they should do more than they are in making sure that every meal in our public schools which they subsidize is void of enriched white flour, bad fats and sugar laden products.

It would be so much better to see television advertisements evolving around healthy foods that would prevent most of today's medical problems rather than the current drug company commercials which flood the airways advertising their products that only cover up or delay the diseases which were in most cases created by eating unhealthy foods. I don't think that I will see that day come in my life but if we as adults don't start taking more of a role in what we ourselves eat and feed our children then that day will never come. They talk about the health care crises yet do little in my opinion that will ever stop it from getting worse. Many schools have eliminated gym class from their curriculum, how stupid is that? When I was growing up every kid in the neighborhood was outside playing after school until it was dark. In my neighborhood today there are allot of children but it is a rare sight if you see any of them outside playing anytime at all.

I wrote this article from my heart, it truly hurts me that so many of our children today are suffering from needless obesity. If you are an obese parent and feel offended by this article then do something that will change your life around and get yourself on a healthier track that will help you as well as your children. We all have to make choices in our lives, its one thing if it only affects you but if it includes children then you had better choose the right one because you're their role model and you set the example their going to follow.

There are a great number of you out there that have good intentions but don't speak up. We must stand together and be heard, set good examples and reach out to those that need our help. If we all just set around and wait for the problem to go away by itself because we are afraid of hurting someone's feelings then we are doomed to failure. Our children are far more important than somebody's feelings, there the future of our country and we cannot stand by and watch them fall prey to poor eating habits. Please take a stand in your home and community by promoting healthy eating habits. If not for you then do it for the children, please don't let them down, they need us now more than ever.


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