Food Revolution! Fighting Childhood Obesity
May 16, 2012
By Guest blogger Monifa Bandele, originally posted on MomsRising
This morning as I packed lunches for my two daughters, my youngest peered over the counter asking, “Did you pack some chips?” She and I both laughed as I placed apple in her lunch bag along side a small portion of her favorite guacamole-flavored chips. Everyday we try to strike a balance between what we want and what we need. It is a learning experience for the whole family.
As we ate breakfast, a Washington Post article caught my eye. It highlighted a dangerous trend in children’s heath. According to the article, high blood pressure among school-aged children is on the rise! The increasing numbers of children with hypertension and diabetes indicates a serious national crisis in children’s health. And, experts link this crisis to diet and nutrition.
It’s time for a change! And, moms and dads across the country agree. A poll just released yesterday by The Kids Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a joint project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, finds that eighty one percent of voters are concerned with childhood obesity and eighty percent of voters favor national nutrition standards that would limit calories, fat and sodium in snack and a la carte foods sold in U.S. schools and encourage the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy items.
And we at MomsRising are honored to be a part of this growing national conversation about childhood nutrition.
The reality is that children need help learning what’s good for them to eat, because junk food (which has lots of calories, but little to no nutritional value) tastes great and is hard to resist, even for adults! Moms and dads work hard to teach our children to eat right. At home, we offer balanced meals and encourage them to make healthy choices. But when they are at school, the snack food options can be limited. In order to make healthy choices, our children need healthy options!
This situation is critical! Today more than 23 million children and teens in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Junk food snacks and sugary drinks at school contribute to the epidemic.
Here are a few facts:
1. Over the last four decades, rates of obesity have more than quadrupled in children and more than tripled in adolescents.
2. Schools have a big impact on children’s diets. Studies show that children and teens consume 35 to 50 percent of their total daily calories at school.
3. Kids eat less of their lunch, consume more fat, take in fewer nutrients and gain weight when schools offer unhealthy snacks and drinks outside of meals.
4. The sale of low‐nutrition foods at schools (outside of school meals) is associated with increases in children’s body mass index (BMI).
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. This Spring, for the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA will release proposed, minimum nutrition standards for snack foods sold schools. These “snacks” are foods sold separately from school lunch programs either in vending machines or on a la carte lines. And moms and dads will have the opportunity to weigh in on those proposed standards.
* Let’s start that conversation today! Please check out and share your thoughts on the following important and enlightening blogposts. Improving children’s dietary habits is of critical concern to us all. By helping kids eat healthfully, we are fighting obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other serious chronic diseases head on!
- Voters Want Healthy Snacks in Schools, Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project
- May 19 is #FoodRevolution Day!, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Team
- Food Justice is Racial Justice, Marc Lamont Hill
- When Childhood Obesity Gets In the Way of Fun, Elisa Batista
- Study: Latino Parents Willing to Make Lifestyle Changes to Help Overweight Kids, Latina Lista