I've been waiting for the "revolution" in education, in terms of an understanding that children need to move, pretty much for as long as I've focused on early childhood physical activity -- which is to say, about 35 years.
Currently, one in three kids are obese or overweight. If kiddos are obese and overweight at age 10-17 years old, they have an 80% chance of being an overweight or obese adult. Sadly, if current trends continue, by 2030, 86.3 % of adults will be overweight or obese.
We now have an opportunity to shift the focus from simply diagnosing and treating ill health to understanding, curing and preventing it. Caring for our microbes gives us a chance to conquer this new wave of illness, and live healthier, happier lives.
Schools provide many opportunities, and share a responsibility, to help children learn healthy habits, if for no other reason than because such habits are intrinsically linked to academic success.
I feel there's an unspoken sentiment that parents should avoid conversations about weight with their children. I beg to differ. In fact, I think parents take a big risk when they avoid this sticky issue.
Brand-new research reveals that whether a child is normal weight, overweight, or obese at age 5 is hugely indicative of weight at age 50. If a child is obese at age 9, the correlation is even greater; at age 15, it's still worse. This extraordinary finding means that trajectories of weight gain starting at age 5 can be linked through ages 9 and 15 all the way to middle age.
As Mrs. Obama asserted, "if we all keep pushing forward, day after day, year after year, we will finally be able to give our kids the healthy futures they so richly deserve."
We're in charge of what, when and where our kids eat. It's our kids' job to decide whether they eat and how much they eat.
While it's nationally recognized that we are in the midst of an "obesity epidemic," our response remains gravely inadequate. Imagine handling the ebol...
But the truth is, we need to stop thinking that feeding our kids well is about food, because it's not. Feeding our kids well is about raising our kids well, and we do that by teaching them good habits.
The venerable phrase, "common sense," has taken a beating, thanks to the School Nutrition Association (SNA), which descended on Capitol Hill last week to convince Congress to roll back school nutrition standards.
By moving fruits and vegetables to the center of the breakfast and lunch lines, these schools -- and many others -- are leading a revolution to improve kids' health, manage rising rates of childhood obesity, and tackle our country's ongoing struggle with an epidemic of chronic disease.
There are so many ways that we can support our kids on their paths to become healthy eaters and sustainable food advocates, but I've found the more fun we're having, the better it is for all of us.
As we are bombarded by diet information and get more confused by nutrition headlines daily, I tend to grab onto the simple, proven basics.
Now, I get that banning sweets from school parties or fundraisers or whatever isn't going to make all parents feed their children healthy foods and thereby end childhood obesity. But it does force families to think together about alternatives.
As a mother and grandmother, I have found that punishing rarely accomplishes what we want. I believe that this is true for all people, young and old.