In case you hadn’t heard, childhood obesity is a big problem in this country. So big in fact (pardon the pun) that Michelle Obama chose it as her signature issue during her time in the White House. Her “Let’s Move” campaign, designed to raise awareness about childhood obesity, just celebrated it’s one year anniversary. Some of her accomplishments over the past year include the addition of 6000 salad bars in schools nationwide, and collaborating with Wal-Mart to not only reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in many of their products, but to also make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable. Is it making a difference? It’s probably too early to tell, but it looks like our kids need all the help they can get.
As expected, this study is causing a lot of controversy. What about all the “cheap and easy” foods being pushed on our kids every time they turn around, or the increased time in front of screens instead of playing outside? Again, the authors concede there are many complicating factors in the case of childhood obesity, they’re just pointing out one more thing to put on your radar.
Personally, even though I’m not a traditional working mom who goes to the office for a designated period of time each day, I appreciate the reminder that any of us can get too busy to make a healthy, home cooked family dinner. The suggestions outlined in the study to combat childhood obesity apply to all mothers: learn to make quick, nutritious meals, have regular family meals as often as possible (studies show this has a positive impact on many aspects of our children’s well-being), make sure your child is getting enough sleep (inadequate sleep is connected to higher weight), and be aware of what foods are being served at your children’s structured activities such as class parties or other extracurricular activities. And even though it wasn’t mentioned, I think everyone agrees we should be putting fun, family exercise on the calendar.
I wonder what Michelle Obama thinks of this study? Certainly she could be considered a working mom herself, but with the White House kitchen staff at your beck and call I imagine she can order up whatever healthy food she wants for family dinner. On the other hand, with the White House kitchen staff at your beck and call you could probably order up some serious comfort food. I know I would be tempted!
QUESTION: What keeps you from making a healthy, home cooked dinner?
CHALLENGE: Identify the things that get in your way, and see if you can’t make some simple changes to improve the health of your children.