First Lady Michelle Obama recently announced her new campaign “Let’s Move” to fight youth obesity. A worthy cause indeed. In the last several decades child obesity has become a severe health problem in 17% of all children and one out of three children are overweight. Those statistic’s alone should be cause for a massive evaluation of our current eating habits and how this is shaping future generations. Not only is size a factor when considering the limitations that child obesity incur, but also the health risks and disease’s.
Type two diabetes is now common in overweight children a disease that used to primarily effect adults. Promoting health for life starting in childhood doesn’t just have to be on the first ladies agenda,although her campaign puts the problem on the map. As parents we have the responsibility and resources to shape our children’s health and lives perhaps no more fundamental and basic then the food we feed, how we prepare meals, and the activity level we encourage our families to have.
The “let’s Move” campaign focuses on four components:
1. Making Healthy Choices. Many experts have pointed out that staying to the outer circle of a grocery store helps stay away from the trans fats, sugars, and processed food nightmares we need to avoid. Look for fresh foods that follow the food pyramid.
2. Healthier school lunches. The “let’s Move” campaign is working with the biggest sources for our school lunch food system to have access to affordable healthy food. There is a new bill that is coming soon to congress Child Nutrition Reauthorization that will or will not give more funding to schools ensuring the facilities have access to fresh food, nutritious food, and less cheaply made fillers.
3. Access to Healthy, Affordable Foods. This will be a challenge for the campaign as big agribusiness farms produce high quantities of the food we eat. As a parent you can look for Grand Junction local produce, quality raised grass fed beef, free range chickens, and local eggs. Buying healthier versions of product does eventually pay off for the consumer. Look at how many more organic foods are available in the last decade thanks to the power of the consumer. Remember you have a change to vote three times a day on the quality and health for your families food.
4. Increasing Physical Activity. Getting your family to unplug can be a challenge but is so worth getting out to play. Children spend an average of 22 to 28 hours per week watching TV. Limiting TV time to only a few hours per week will leave more time for physical activity and creative play. Get outside and walk the block, play a game of catch, find a family friendly sporting activity like hiking, biking, or even swimming. There is no excuse anymore for us to not get our bodies and our children’s bodies moving.
It’s not often we have all the resources right in our hands to stop a major problem. Hopefully with the help of Michelle, your awareness, and ability to combat child obesity you will be encouraged to take charge of your families food health. For more information and resources on the campaign check out Letsmove.gov.