As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.
Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.
I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.
We live in a fast-paced world where parents work long hours just to get by. One where they don’t have time to cook dinner each evening or prepare lunches for the next day, and where we make quick decisions and eat fast-food (purchased or cooked at home). Our kids are running the race with us adults; from mornings rushing to school and skipping breakfast or gulping down sugary cereal, then off to school where most kids eat school lunch devoid of any substantive nutritional value, then on to after-school activities, home for homework, hurry up and eat, watch TV (on an average of 3 to 4 hours per day and sometimes at the same time as eating), and go bed (late, because we have to watch our favorite show) then start all over again the next day.
With all of this hurry and scurry, we don’t think that have time to prepare, no less think about preparing, healthful foods nor to find time for physical activity. We grab on-the-go snacks, “power-up” with quick junk snacks, meal replacement bars, drinks and juices which are high in sugar. We cook microwavable meals marketed toward kids, many of which mislead us that they are “healthy” or “all natural” on the front of the package, however, the ingredient list on the back of the package tells another story.
So we are left with poor eating habits, stress due to running around and lack of nutrition, lack of sleep, and with 3-4 hours of screen time in exchange for physical activity or healthy food prep, and we mindlessly consume 250-500 more calories per day while staring at the T.V.
Cut down on, or remove screen time. Reducing or eliminating screen time cuts down on junk food advertising that is aimed at our children and reduces the calories kids eat in front of the screen. And the time can easily be used to increase physical exercise, prepare foods as a family, and eat together at the family table and talk with each other, laugh and play together, and get to bed a little earlier, all of which reduce stress. By just cutting down on one part of our lifestyle we can potentially add to at least four other areas of our life, a change that will cultivate healthier and happier kids and families.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author of Chinese Medicine & Healthy Weight Management An Evidence-Based Integrated Approach (Blue Poppy, 2007), Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Families Coach