Last night (July 7) on the news, I heard that in 1995 NO STATE in the United States had an obesity rate of above 20%. Now, every state, save one, has that obesity rate. And the one state below 20% is Colorado, and they are just barely hanging on at 19.8%.
Wow. That’s something to be proud of.
Now I know that we can skew statistics and make excuses and reason why those numbers aren’t right. But the fact still remains we, as a nation, are getting larger and lazier and are passing on these bad habits to our offspring. Now, there could be another correlation to the obesity rating change… and it’s allowing me to be on this virtual soapbox right now.
Think back to pre-1995 days. I was a sophomore in high school. We didn’t have Internet at home. In fact, I had two friends who had Internet capabilities in their homes in 1995. Now, we have Internet where ever we go. Am I saying that the Internet is solely to blame for us turning into a Nation of Fatties? No, but it sure is helping.
(And if I am offending you or making you feel uncomfortable with my choice of language, I am sorry. This is something that really does cut to me. I have seen the devastating effects of morbid obesity. My aunt died on the operating table during what should have been a “routine” kidney stone surgery, but wasn’t because of her weight. I have tried to have sympathy for those struggling with weight. I have and am struggling with my weight but I cannot just sit idly by and tell someone to “be happy with yourself” when they are hurting themselves. If that makes me wrong, then so be it and you can stop reading, subscribing and following now.)
I hear complaints from fellow parents who can’t get their kids to eat foods other than chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and french fries. They know that their kids are nutritionally deficient and they are setting them up for failure as adults, but “he won’t eat vegetables and I don’t want him to starve.” Here’s a news flash: If you are OFFERING your child food, there is no way he is going to starve. Yes, you child will be mad and stomp and pout because deep down many kids are egotistical tyrants, but eventually he will eat. And if you are a mom who is doubling as a short order cook, making multiple meals because Jane doesn’t like this and Chris doesn’t like that… stop that too.
Here’s another thing, parents, your kids aren’t going to want to exercise if they do not see you exercising or playing with them. And I am sorry, Nintendo and XBox… the Wii or Kinect is a poor excuse for exercise. (Let me amend that, the Wii can be a good start but you have to expand from there. Get outside with your kids after dinner, go for a walk or bike ride, shoot some hoops, play tag, move with them.
I’ll have to admit that we set ourselves up for failure. We love to see a chubby baby, with rolls of fat, however some of our parenting techniques (or lack thereof) can hurt our kids health in the long run: force-feeding infants ounces upon ounces of formula (with breastfeeding you can’t really tell how many ounces the child has taken, the child stops eating once full. I have seen my formula-feeding friends continue to try to get their babies to finish the bottle even after the child seems done, because they don’t want to waste the formula,) toddlers with the ever present sippy cup of calorie-laden fruit juice, pre-schoolers placated with snacks because their parents need just “one more minute” to finish their program or write that email. We are teaching our kids that we live to eat.
So, who’s the enemy in all of this? Food? Parenting? the Internet? Marketing? Nope. The enemy is an age old one:
We eat too much.
We schedule too much into our days.
We watch too much TV.
We spend too much time on the internet or otherwise sedentary.
We are too permissive with our parenting.
We worry too much.
A Nation of Fatties? Nah. Maybe just gluttons for punishment.