25 October, 2006

Childhood Obesity

Have fast food and restaurant advertisements all but taken over the television commercial breaks?

I mean, maybe I am just more sensitive to it due to my unemployment. Maybe I am craving the food and so the ads attract more of my attention, but I was disgusted when I started counting how many advertisements in a break were for gross fatty foods.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my gross, fatty foods. They are a nice treat and they taste heavenly. That said, how often do you want me to eat it? Every meal? Are you kidding me?

As for childhood obesity, have we ever thought that the ads aren't actually targetting the youth, but their parents? The parents are the ones making the decisions after all. I don't remember the ads affecting me until I had buying power...when my parents had the buying power, I had no sway over the decision, so the ads just blew right by me. Maybe parents just need to get some courage and put their feet down.

When I was a little girl, we didn't have a lot of money. McDonalds was a big treat!!! It wasn't a convenience or a craving, it was a treat. We got it for completing our job charts for a month or for being fully potty trained. It ranked up there with a trip to the zoo!!!

I was watching the TODAY show this morning...I know, feel however you like about that...but they did a segment on little changes you can make to reduce the fat content in your fridge on basic things like milk, bread and juice. What fascinated me was that my mother has been doing these things for years. My mom is a registered nurse who has stayed home with my 2 sisters and me for the last 19 years or so. She has always been very conscious about nutrition and balance. Still, I was truly astonished when I realized that she had been feeding us skim milk (believe it or not, there is actually more calcium in skim milk than 1% or 2%, whole wheat bread (although if your kids are set on white bread textures, Sara Lee makes a great whole wheat with the look and texture of white), and 100% juice for years and that this is new to so many people.

Get this, use plain yogurt and add fresh fruit instead of getting the stuff with fruit. Not only is it cheaper, but the sugar content is soooo much lower.

Come on parents, take responsibility. It is not the fast food companies, schools or ad agencies contributing to your child's weight. We are a capitalist society, they are trying to make money. You are the only one responsible for setting good nutrition habits in your household. Teach your children and yourself about healthy, tasty and satisfying food combinations. Get yourself and your kids off the couch and get outside. Stay active. Not busy, but active. Re-establish the idea of "treat". Expand the category. Treats are to celebrate or reward, not simply to indulge.

That said, I am really craving Taco Bell...and Arbys...

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