If we're not able to solve the child wellness crisis we're currently facing, every other facet of our society will be impacted in the coming decades.
Mothers are the most important and most powerful people in the world related to solving our childhood obesity epidemic. The only way an obese child can change is if the home and family changes, and that will only happen when mom says it will.
Not smoking is a simple way of reducing lung cancer risk. We don't need to take drugs with toxic side effects or get injections to prevent it. All we have to do is put out the cigarettes. So why are we setting ourselves up for another cancer epidemic, this time caused by obesity?
Besides advice on feeding babies, parents aren't given much support when it comes to the 18 long years they have to feed their children. As a result, many assume that food-related behaviors, like picky eating, are a cause for concern when most of the time they are a normal part of growing up.
The time has come for Americans to gain a fresh perspective of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To do so, the first step is to clarify a few facts about the program.
I work out for over two hours a day. I eat "cleaner" than 99 percent of the people you know. I have not put any artificial ingredients in my body for over a year and have less than 15 percent body fat. But I have obesity. I will always have obesity. It is a disease I live with every day.
When it comes to weight problems, sugar and exercise are red herrings, for the most part. We have not come to terms with our collective addiction to the meat and cheese that are making us and our kids fat -- or when we lack the courage to confront the industries that sell them.
I am a pretty decisive person, but I love, LOVE movies, and I love wandering the aisles of a movie rental place, for an hour or more, trying to figure out what movie I am most in the mood to see.
These numbers simply don't add up to deficit reduction. Cuts in nutritional assistance today will lead to increasing health care costs in the near and long term.
Taylor Swift has the power to influence kids on an emotional level that can rival any popular celebrity today. Her endorsement of Diet Coke jeopardizes kids' ability to make healthy decisions and could lead to a doorway introducing our kids to the consumption of diet sodas and a relationship with the Coca-Cola brand.
We have long known that sleep is of profound importance to health. We can't be too busy to get the sleep we need, unless we are also too busy to get the health and weight control we want.
We are raising a generation of children who can use their parents' iPhones but not peel a carrot. And who prefer to quickly squeeze applesauce into their mouths through a pouch versus actually biting into and chewing a crisp apple. Food, which should activate and excite all of the senses, has become as flat and one dimensional as a pretzel.
Save the cupcakes and cookies for birthday parties, holidays and occasional desserts at home. Keep them away from the soccer fields.
None of this is easy. We can dumb it down all we want but kids are smart. They live in the same world we do. As parents or teachers or mentors, let's guide them with honesty and information rather than glossing it all over.
The new mayor should continue driving the momentum we've seen to date. Only through ongoing collaboration -- especially via public-private partnerships -- can we move toward shaping a healthier future for communities throughout New York and hopefully the country.
Just like attitudes and laws surrounding tobacco products evolved over decades, so will campaigns aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. The progress with sodas in schools shows it can be done.