As a mom, pediatrician, integrative health expert and living healthy naturally M.D., I know that children can do this. They can beat the obesity crisis if we can create the right curriculum.
It's finally becoming normal to recognize that poor food choices lead to the current obesity epidemic and mushy-brain syndrome. Groups like Alliance for a Healthier Generation lead the movement on this and with great results to show for it.
You don't have to worry about getting our children to eat veggies, or more or less food. It's not your job to decide how much our children have to eat before they can "earn" dessert, or if you think they are too skinny or too fat. You don't have to keep track of any of it!
While fighting obesity is not easy, it can be done. By giving schools the tools, we can be assured of making great strides in battling this disease and the serious risks associated with it.
As parents, we need to be aware of how we talk about food and what others are eating in front of our children. We need to model kindness and not judgment, whether it's about eating not enough vegetables or too many vegetables.
Of course, it's the parents' responsibility to make sure their children are healthy. But it's also our nation's responsibility to make sure the environment we parent in doesn't make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to do so.
Obesity is a cultural problem and requires a cultural solution we have the knowledge and means to administer. That we fail to apply those means bespeaks our ambivalence at best, our profit-driven hypocrisies at worst.
While I agree with the Sugar Association's Dr. Charles Baker in his recent blog that we should approach the obesity epidemic armed with knowledge, it appears the only thing the Sugar Association wants to do is exonerate its product and cast blame on other sweeteners.
The food landscape in America is bleak, but the landscape in your home is of your own design. Here are a few ways to lay the groundwork for healthy habits.
What we've taught today's children is that they get a trophy and a snack simply for showing up. We've taught them that everything should be celebrated with food and a party. And we've taught them that ordinary days -- with no treats or parties -- are somehow lacking.
I'm always mindful of what I eat, how I work out and the way I feel, and I constantly remind myself that I am a "work in progress."
It's mind-boggling that at a time when overweight and obesity levels are sky high among our young people, and physical activity levels are down, our schools are cutting physical education classes, recess and intramural sports programs.
Even as the nation as a whole is moving ahead to improve student health, here in Texas the legislature has just taken a big step in the wrong direction.
I was privileged to be in rooms full of people passionate about the obesity challenges in Arkansas and prepared to work hard. Everyone around me seemed realistic about the challenges and was lacing up his or her hiking boots accordingly.
Safe and maintained places to be active and exercise are essential to solving the nation's childhood obesity crisis -- if kids can't go out into their neighborhoods and play, we'll never be able to increase physical activity.
The American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson have come together as partners in a new initiative -- Voices for Healthy Kids -- to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.