Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Shocking Reality: 25% of All American Kids 12 and Under Are Dieting

Homemade Pumpkin Nut Whole Wheat Waffles
My kids love these because they taste GOOD and are GOOD for you
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

New research indicates that a quarter of all American kids aged 12 or under are on diets.  This was among the key findings in a poll of 6,523 parents conducted recently by CouponCodes4U which sought to investigate the attitudes of parents towards the food that their kids eat.

When the site asked the question, "What food do your kids generally eat the most?" only 24% chose healthy food, while 58% said junk food.

Additional parental findings from the poll -- some more alarming than others -- revealed that
  • 41% insisted on giving their child a packed lunch for school instead of letting them eat in the cafeteria
  • 62% of these parents -- when asked "Why?' to the above question -- said it was to "Keep track of what their child was eating"
  • 11% said they made sure their child was exercising regularly 
  • 19% admitted to having previously given their child a note to allow them to skip gym class
I'm going to be blunt.  I think that the growing child obesity in the U.S. problem can almost completely be placed on the shoulders of the parents raising kids who live almost exclusively on unhealthy food choices and are sedentary because it is tolerated.  

So many kids today, particularly the ones who are seriously over weight, have lost their natural cravings for healthy foods such as milk, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and other more nutritious options.  They have forgotten how great it feels after a good work out, too, and as a result have also lost the desire to get outdoors and be physically active -- trained their bodies to expect nothing more than to sit in front of a computer or TV, or play video games for hours on end.   None of these activities are bad, BTW, if they are used in moderation and are properly supervised by parents.

The solution I believe is obvious:  it begins at home.  If parents would start serving meals to their youngsters that not only consist of a higher percentage of healthful food at home but that is also visually appetizing and creatively presented (like the pumpkin nut whole wheat waffles that I make for my own family pictured at the top of this post) their children would no longer be conditioned to prefer junk food either at home or away from the house.  Likewise, if parents would also eat healthy diets as well as model an active lifestyle for their kids, children would not be eating all this junk or sitting around so much.  

As a parent, it's up to you.  If you are concerned about obesity in your child, what will you choose to do about it?

Please Leave a Comment:  What's your advice? How do you think America can successfully combat the rise of obesity in this country among young people?  

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