Most of your know about my previous crusades to tackle the disappointing lunch choices that our children are offered in school. And, that the average American diet has been a point of contention …known to be full of processed foods, artificial ingredients and a lack of nutritional fruits and veggies.
A recent article in the NY Times this month provided some very interesting facts. “The top four sources of calories in the average American child’s diet are grain-based desserts, pizza, soda and sports drinks, and bread.” One-third…yes, 1 out of every 3 children, eat fast food every single day and more than 90% do not eat enough veggies. And, one of the driving forces of this trend relates back to the $2 billion a year spent on advertising unhealthy food and beverages directly to children. Of course they want the Happy Meal that gives them a “free” Star Wars figure!
The article included a chart from Business Insider of “25 foods that make up most of the calories Americans eat”. Number one? Desserts – cakes, cookies, pies, donuts…”. The chart can be found below:
I struggle every day with what to do with this information. Why is it that there are not more regulations being put on food packaging? Why are we not educating the parents more?
Are some efforts happening? Yes. But ever notice how slow it is taking? Big food giants are not going to let that happen so easily. “It’s all about the money, money, money.”
The US Gov’t just released their new dietary guidelines…which happens every 5 years. It does support some key common denominators: Less sugar, more healthy fat, more non-processed protein, more fruits & veggies, lower sodium and a healthy balance. Gold star to big gov’t on the effort…but how does this get communicated more effectively to our children?
I believe our children do need to be educated and the schools are the place to start. I also believe a lot of it stems from the parents. I find many parents are trying to make smart choices – they exercise, try to eat fairly clean and avoid desserts and processed foods. However, much of this does not translate to their own children. It is so important for parents to practice what they preach for themselves and their children. If they would never eat chicken nuggets, neither should their children.
I want to do my small part. I am running another 6 week fitness and nutrition program for children ages 9-12 from Feb 19th – March 25th in Summit on Fridays from 4:15-5:15. If you are interested, please visit my Facebook page or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.