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Reducing Obesity in Children

A staggering number of children in modern times are overweight or obese. How has this happened? What can we do to reverse this trend?

Children are stuck in school for 6 or more hours a day. Back in the "old days", recess and gym were a regular part of those hours. In modern times, with our focus on passing tests, many schools have no gym or recess at all. Now, I'm all for having kids who know how to read and write. That is certainly important. However, kids need to learn how to have healthy bodies too.

Some studies show that it's not necessarily about just "having gym". Many people can recite traumatic stories about just standing around at recess being picked on - or about being ridiculed in gym. Having the time set aside is no guarantee that the children become more healthy. Instead, schools that have "active fun times" - perhaps with music to dance to, or active Wii and Dance Dance Revolution games - do well.

Also, schools that offer nutrition courses really help a lot. The more students can learn about eating healthily, the better!

After School
In the "old days", kids ran around for hours after school, playing tag, hide-and-seek and numerous other active games. They rode their bikes everywhere. In modern times, we live in suburbs without sidewalks. It's too dangerous to be outside. Parents aren't at home to watch over their kids. So instead, kids sit in front of a TV for hours and hours - either watching shows or playing video games. They tend to eat junk food, too. So it's a double whammy.

Junk Food
In the "old days", kids had milk as their drink. They ate fresh food. Candy was a holiday-only treat. Soda was perhaps a Sunday afternoon treat. In modern times, kids gobble candy every day, drink soda all day long, and many have french fries as the ONLY vegetable they eat, ever. That is just scary!

Kids can't control what foods are offered to them - they are at the whim of what a parent cooks. Now, of course, if kids are raised on french fries, they can get hooked on them and complain when broccoli is presented instead. But if a kid is raised eating healthy food, it becomes a normal part of their daily life.

It's a real shame when a kid is fed junk food throughout their entire childhood - when they are 2 and 3 and 4 it's not like they can go eat something else on their own!! It is very important for the parents to both set a good example and to set a good meal. Parents can't really control what a kid eats at school - but if the kid starts with a good, filling breakfast, then they are less likely to overeat at lunchtime.

There are numerous reasons that our children have become heavy - and there are many solutions. The key is to work on each aspect, so that as a group they help us to become a more healthy society!

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