Sunday, May 1, 2011

What are you (we) feeding your (our) kids?

It's not just what we're feeding them in their own kitchens, of course. The modern world has conspired to undermine even the most health-oriented parents' best efforts to teach their children well when it comes to what kind of nutrition they need for their little bodies, hearts and souls.

While food isn't supposed to be medicine -- it is, after all, one of life's most wondrous pleasures and a source of pure joy -- it sure as heck shouldn't be poison, either.

With something approaching half of all American children now being overweight or obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently studied three influential contributors to kids' "food environment": child care, school and the larger community. In other words, leaving aside what parents and families do to help their kids learn a healthy relationship with food, what are these other players contributing?

Well, as reported in Time Magazine, there's a lot of bad going on out there.

Child-care facilities and schools at all levels in most states don't bother to restict access to sugary soft drinks and other junk food. School lunches are disastrously unhealthy in many school districts (see Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, now running on ABC-TV, for on-the-ground evidence of the crap that passes for a nutritious meal). And children's television is overrun with enticements for the consumption of all kinds of sugar-, fat- and salt-laden foods.

What can we do about any of this? Here's some advice for parents:

For starters, take the TV out of kids' bedrooms. And then start eating dinner as a family. "Eating meals together as a family is associated with positive effects on children across many domains of life, including the development of healthy eating behaviors and the maintenance of a healthy weight status," the report says. Indeed, the American Association of Pediatrics says family meals are linked with a host of benefits to health and well-being, including better grades and less drug use.
Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment