Save the Next Generation

Do you know?– in the United States, currently 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.

Do you know?–childhood obesity is strongly correlated with adult obesity.

Do you know?–obesity in any age can affect your whole body functions, causing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other life threatening diseases.

Obesity, is a very simple but also some complex condition: it’s simple because body weight gain is a result of exceed food intake versus physical activities expenditure; it’s complex because there are some many factors involving in deciding these two domains, like income, education, etc.

Obesity is like a tsunami–it destroys a person by affecting its health, it destroys the well-being of a family and it also can destroy a nation. Obesity epidemic had already cost huge spend of health care, quality of lives of individuals. We don’t want the next generation walk through the same path, so we need to change.Family members are the key stakeholders–they should be aware and put their priority on the children’s health.

To help shaping a healthy, balance eating habit of a kid, a notion should be kept in mind–it is a shared responsibility, “the parent or caregiver is responsible for WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE; the child is responsible for HOW MUCH and even WHETHER” (Ellyn Satter, RD). To become a good parent, it is worth to learn what is healthy for kids and take the time to make what the kids love. Kids don’t know much about foods, but they mimic their parents on eating habits; you should also be a role model, don’t say and do in different ways;eat everything, picky eater only raises picky eater. Children’s appetites, like adults’, vary from day to day and meal to meal, so don’t think they should eat a certain amount every day. It’s also important to remember food is food, don’t use them as a reward and don’t bargain, bribe, lecture, shame or threaten on food, make it a happy, family-shared comfortable experience each meal.


Technology brought great fun to childhood via TV and digital games–but this makes kids less likely to move. If you want your child get moving, make rules about screen time and be a exercise leader. Research shown that family member involvement can greatly increase children’s interest and therefore the actual time of physical activity. Institute of Medicine recommend at less 60 mins of physicial activities each day for children–this 60 mins don’t need to be consecutive–you can let you kid do 20 mins in the morning, 10 at noon, 20 in the afternoon, and 10 at night. That means regarding to physical activities, every minute counts. Seize every chance you and your kid can be active.


Food Chosen in No Choice

Often times, people in the food and nutrition realm are talking about food deserts–particular places where you can’t reach healthy, fresh food but only fast food. Those are places we are hoping to change, by gov investment and policy support along with merchants’ involvements.

Well, last night I come across a similar but a little bit different situation when I found myself couldn’t foods to eat. I was on a bus from Boston to NYC and the bus driver stopped at a small town and kindly gave us a dinner break (10 mins!) to grab some foods. He stopped right next to an Arby’s where there is no other restaurant or grocery store in 1 km. No choice–hearing my belly yelling I have to walk into a place in where I rarely was. Facing the unfarmiliar and full of nice sandwiche pictures broad, I chose sth $6.37 without noticing it’s a combo with ham, cheese, and curvy fries–of course a “small” cup of coke. Yep, I confess to some extend I enjoyed the food for the reason I think because it was the first time I ate fast food in 2 years–but my knowledge kept making me feel super guilty for the irresponsibility for my own health. Damn, I want to find out how evil they are:

Beyond my imagination, the sandwich and fries contain almost 1500 mg sodium–which means this meal filled up the low sodium recommendation for a whole day. I found this information on Arby’s website but what I can’t stand is that they don’t provide the DV% (daily value %: how much nutrients does the particular food supply as a porportion of how much that nutrient should a healthy person eat a day)–which means even though many people know there is 1500 mg sodium, they just can’t figure out that’s really a lot!


Now I totally understand how the people live in “food desert” feel when buying their foods–even though they gain nutrition knowledge from media everyday, even though they care about their health and their children’s, it is a shame of lacking a simple choice for them.

OK, stop complaining–stick back to my baby carrot and celery stick from this morning 🙂