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4/2/13blog post

what's making our kids overweight?

Is it the added salt and sugar sweetened beverages that are causing our kids to be overweight/obese?

Did you know obesity affects 17% of children? Why is this?? Is it the salt that is causing kids to be overweight? Is it the sugar sweetened beverages? Recently, Pediatrics published research on this question. Body Mass Index (BMI) was obtained in kids aged 2-16 years and who ate diets rich in salt and sugar sweetened beverages.

Reading the article reminded me of the visual: the United States map showing the increase in adult obesity. If you click back to the mid 1980’s why was there so much less obesity? It made me think back…what was so different back then?

I talked with my Mother about how times have changed:

  • Summers: Full of riding bikes all day and playing outside. Finding friends in the neighborhood and playing. All our mom knew was we weren’t in the house.
  • Swimming pool: The local private pool was full with families and friends. We spent all day at the pool – walking back and forth from swim practice and eating meals at home since it was only 2 streets away.
  • TV on after homework was done: That was usually around 4pm and dinner was at 5pm. Then, back outside and no TV until 8pm. Bed at 8:30pm. Wow – where was Atari?? Limited time on that, too. Again, “kids, get outside!”
  • Fast food was expensive: No money with a one working parent to spend on fast food. Plus, the serving sizes were smaller. No Extra Value meals or 99 cent menus. We got to drink milk at home. Drank water IF we ate in a restaurant. We hardly ate fast food!
  • Mom was home: Mom cooked and cleaned during the day. She worked with us on homework after school. She knew the other families in the neighborhood. We had home cooked meals – even breakfast was eaten together before heading to school in the early morning!

The research study noted above concludes that higher intakes of sugar sweetened beverages can be related to obesity. They found that kids will drink more of these beverages with a higher salt intake. Think back – how much soda or Kool Aid did you have growing up? We were allowed just a little with our small bowl of snack on Friday nights, only.

The salt, the sweetened beverages…sure, I believe they contribute to obesity overall – along with the many society lifestyle changes. Take a moment to think how your childhood was and how your kids’ is today. Change is good. Balance is even better. How can we adopt a little of our own childhood way of life back into our homes?