This was Tuesday's lunch. I realize that it is technically Wednesday, but we've had a bout of illness in the house. And I being sleep deprived didn't bother typing anything. If you can't tell, he had a half a Turkey sandwich, a pat of blueberry yogurt, and a bit of watermelon. He barely ate the bread of the sandwich. This was to be expected since the night before HB developed a fever and so he lost his appetite complete. Today he is normal and eating his normal amounts of food.
Childhood Obesity: Genetic or EnvironmentalUnless you've been hiding under a rock (okay maybe didn't have access to a newspaper), Michelle Obama's platform (the thing that all 1st Ladies take up) has been childhood obesity.
While some metabolic disorders and medications, do contribute to the obesity epidemic, environmental factors are the main cause. Environmental meaning your overall calorie intake and your overall calorie outtake.
Because today's foods are stuffed with calories and children prefer to sit in front of the tv (or maybe their helicopter parents prefer it) instead of gallivanting around town like our forebearers of yesteryear, children are reaching larger and larger proportions every year to their detriment.
It doesn't help that advertisers (and my mother) bombard children with images and slogans for faty, high calorie fast food (can you say, Happy Meal, mom?). They often use the "whine factor" to measure their effectiveness. The whine factor being how much whining a child will do before giving up because studies show it doesn't take much whining for parents to cave.
Not only that, but convenience foods also contain huge amounts of calories. Lets face it. It's way faster for parents to grab a bag of frozen whatever or boil some mac n' cheese than to spend the 30-60 minutes to sling together a meal. Parents who are themselves obese also have a hard time modeling good eating habits.
Then there's the output of calories. Used to, kids had P.E. or recess of some kind. But with heavy budget cuts, children spend more time locked into a desk. Then they go home, where parents trained in "stranger danger" and freak out over kidnapping hardly let them roam the back yard by themselves.
I'm waiting for one of my neighbors to notice that my 2 year old sometimes plays on my gated/walled porch by himself. Gasp! Someone will kidnap him. How irresponsible of me!? But maybe I shouldn't take him in our car either since the odds of him getting mangled in a car accident are significantly higher than being kidnapped. Granted he's two. He could break an arm instead. Studies actually show that children who have broken a limb tend to have stronger bones in that area. Not that I'm saying to go break your child's arm. I'm just saying it's not that bad. I knew a lady whose two year old got knocked over by the dog and got badly hurt (half body cast). It's just that it happens no matter what you do.
Or conversely, the child prefers to glue himself to the tv. I know. I'm one to talk. My child isn't big into playing with his toys as much as he prefers Pingu or Backyardigans. But on consistently hot days it's hard to find things for him to do that don't involve computers or last more than 5 minutes. It's a work in progress.
My point is that as parents it is our responsibility to take care of the health of our children and model good eating habits, which is the whole point of this series. I'm trying to come up with good food that my child will eat that doesn't involve chicken nuggets (or Happy Meals).
I'm also not saying no junk food ever (in fact studies show that this is actually bad for kids). I'm just saying everything in moderation.
Next week: Baby Led Weaning Tips for Children Under 9 months