Obesity is, in many ways that matter most, analogous to drowning.Individuals can, and for the most part should, learn to "swim" through our obesogenic culture. But those swimming lessons need to be accessible, affordable, applicable and actionable.
Yes, I agree, talk about health is key, as is a focus away from body image and on being a good person. But the fact is, we really don't want our children to be fat -- not only because it is unhealthy, but because in our uber competitive world, a fat person is less likely to be hired, or to be asked on a date -- and yes, all of that matters. Unfortunately, what's outside matters too.
When Sesame Street was deciding what was most important to teach preschool children in this country at the time, the answer was obvious. And so our Healthy Habits for Life program was born, giving children and their caregivers simple but powerful messages about nutrition, physical activity, and "eating one's colors."
The headline in the New York Times, was: "Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43 Percent in a Decade." This, and similarly effusive headlines reverberating throughout the news media, would seem to invite the question: have we, in fact, turned the tide? Is the mission accomplished?
A burgeoning body of research is pointing to the importance of the first few years of life for influencing long-term health, including an individual's weight as an adult.
If the government had not intervened in the matter of our children's health, I'm not sure we'd all be high-fiving each other about these latest statistics affecting our country's most precious resources.
Human beings don't have gills, and there are genes to blame. But the right response looks like swimming lessons, and lifeguards, and fences around pools -- not studying genes while pushing kids into the surf. Not a new pill to fix an age-old part of who we are that was never really broken.
Plaque is created from fat, cholesterol and other matter in the blood. It thickens artery walls, causing coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack or stroke later in life. And that process can start as early as age two!
We are all products of the world we live in. To the extent we can shape that world -- and that is both the calling and the responsibility of architects and urban planners -- we should do so in ways that facilitate good health and well-being.
We all want our kids to learn healthy eating habits, to be active and to grow and live comfortably at a healthy weight. Yet for too many children, excess weight is a very real health concern. Too much junk food and too little physical activity are frequently-cited culprits in the problem. But what about sleep?
The fear that a diversity of size in role models will damage our girls is a false one. The real risk is the damage we perpetuate by maintaining the status quo.
Have you ever carefully prepared a home-cooked meal (like roasted chicken with root vegetables and fresh herbs on top) only to have your kids refuse to take so much as a bite, insisting, instead, on eating those same nuked frozen chicken nuggets (again)?
Why should Italy be different from other post-industrial societies? I am afraid Italians have lost that innocence quite some time ago; children's consumption of packaged, mass-produced snacks instead of homemade treats or fruits dates back to the 1970s.
There is a corresponding body of evidence that shows a proper detox program -- one that reduces the input of toxins and helps the body more efficiently eliminate toxins with a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory lifestyle -- can significantly reduce the negative impact of environmental stressors.
Even if Ben is "big boned," I need to teach him how to make healthy choices -- now. But the biggest change needs to come from Ben himself.
New findings that one-third of the world's adults, 1.46 billion people, are overweight or obese is shocking, especially as it coincides with efforts to improve food stability in struggling nations.