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Stop the cycle

Posted July 24, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

I recently viewed a video on obesity stating that 80 percent of obese children are likely to become obese adults, according to a 2011 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Please let that sink in. We can stop the cycle.

The Associated Press did a study asking “Should parents lose custody of their super-obese children?” The study went on to ask provocative questions dealing with severely obese kids. The author argued that it comes down to outright child abuse letting these kids become obese. These kids are dying because of diseases that parents allow through eating too much or the wrong kinds of food. It went so far as to argue that we need to take kids away, place them into foster care, feed the kids only three times per day, and when they show results return them to their parents. Others suggest that the government should tackle obesity more seriously. They have, in the sense of changing school lunches and even snack machines. One mayor out east went so far as to legislate the size of sodas a person can order. I want to make it clear I am for choices, not more governmental control. I believe in personal responsibility. People need to get educated and get moving to stop this cycle.

From the experience of taking on obese kids, training them does not work when Mom is in the car shoveling down a bag of crunchy Cheetos. Now we require parents to participate in any weight management program.

We must take a serious look at our daily choices on food. The epidemic is costing us billions a year as we sit by and watch Type 2 diabetes and hypertension soar, along with early deaths. If your child is not obese, then take on preventative measures to ensure it does not happen to him or her. In order to ensure our children have a bright and healthy future, it is our responsibility to expose them to quality foods, not just what their taste buds crave.

Start by getting serious for 30 days. Get rid of all the junk food in your house or car. Junk food is built to look appealing and appetizing, but it is garbage. Fill your pantry with colorful fruits, washing them so they are ready to eat immediately. Make sure your children can reach them, and allow your kids to eat all they want. Feed your child six times a day throughout the day. Small and healthy portions encourage self control and don’t make them feel like they have to overeat to get to the next setting.

Cook food at home. Generally, the longer it takes you to prepare, the healthier it is. When your kids help prepare the food, they become more engaged in eating it. Let them cut the veggies, add the seasoning or put them in the blender. If you make it fun, they’ll beg you to participate. Later in life, you’ll see them preparing their own foods because of what they caught from you.

When you eat out, skip fried foods and sodas. Know what you are eating. Generally speaking, if you can grow it, you can eat it. If it comes in a box, it is loaded with bad preservatives, fat and unhealthy ingredients. There are exceptions, like frozen green beans sold in a frozen box.

When you are done with food preparation and consumption, get active. Kids’ martial arts, sports lessons, active summer camps, private coaching and running clubs are all good activities and activities we offer right here at The Orange Planet.

Information provided by David Charleston, owner of The Orange Planet Athletic Club in Pleasant Hill.

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