Eating “Real Food” and Making Healthier Choices for Kids

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More than one in six children and teenagers are obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  All we need do is look around and see the re-sizing of America.

There was to have been a voluntary ban on fast food ads on TV as these were said to be helping super-size young children. Has this happened? And if it did happen, would it help matters?

According to a group of physicians, voluntary guidelines have not made a difference in reducing ads placed on TV. They say it’s time to get tougher with the food industry about not advertising junk food to young children. The assumption here is that young children often can’t tell the difference between ads and programming. If fast food ads were banned, they say, this could decrease obesity and overweight by 17 percent.

Looking at the bigger picture, we can see it is not only the food industry’s problem. It is one for all families. Studies show that one in five children (ages 2 to 5) is overweight or obese before entering kindergarten. These children aren’t even in school yet so the school lunch program can’t be at fault. So obesity isn’t only the school lunch problem.

That places much of the responsibility on parents and caregivers of young children. They are the ones in charge of the food that goes on the table. And for families with small children, they are in charge of what their children eat. They need to know about healthy eating and portion size for themselves as well as their children.

With all the media talk and writing about good nutrition, you would believe everyone would be well aware of what constitutes healthy eating. But I still find it hard when I go to the grocery store to see all the processed food, soda pop, and other less-than-desirable food going into grocery carts, often, too, of those who need it the least. I often wonder whether anyone is eating “real food”.

Parents – do you know what your children are eating?

To the good health of you and your family

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and nutrition advocate and author

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