Overweight and Underage

I often say I’m a fat kid at heart, but that’s not just talk. I am. Wonder bread, Twinkies and whole milk lined my lunch box. Oh sure, an apple was tucked in there somewhere, but it was often overlooked or traded for tastier treats. Growing up in a house with 4 other siblings, food was a commodity with a minimal shelf live – especially if it was sugar-coated or salty. So Michelle Obama’s recent campaign against childhood obesity hits close to home-sweet-home.

Obesity has more than doubled among adults and tripled among children from 1980 to 2004, according to a report from the Surgeon General. That means nearly one in three children is overweight or obese.

“The health consequences are so severe that medical experts have warned that our children could be on track to live shorter lives than their parents,” said Michelle Obama, who is launching a campaign to fight childhood obesity.

Reading over the Surgeon General’s recommendations, I was struck by how simple their suggestions are:

At home: Parents should cut down on sodas and sugary juices, add more vegetables and whole grains, limit TV time and add more activity.

At school: Schools should have healthy food options and require physical education for students.

At the doctor’s: Doctors need teach their patients about the importance of good health.

At one point in my adolescence, I was more than 100 pounds over my BMI’s healthy weight range. I remember my pediatrician never once mentioning weight loss to me. I also remember how shocked my mother was to find out how much I actually weighed. I guess it’s easy to overlook what’s staring you in the face.

I often wonder what my childhood would have been like had my doctor approached my mom about my weight early on. Or if those Twinkies weren’t loitering around my parents’ pantry. Sure, I was active as a child, but no amount of kickball could make up for my romance with chips and dip.

So as simple as these recommendations sound, they obviously aren’t being done right now by millions of parents across the nation.

According to a recent study, obesity now poses a greater threat to your health than smoking. And our overweight children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents. You wouldn’t give your child a cigarette, so why are you killing them with candy?

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“Overweight and Underage”