Opinion

A crash course to adult obesity

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that kids’ meals at restaurants and fast food establishments are loaded with fat.

Although, one nonprofit organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, recently did a study on the subject and reported the obvious: Nearly every possible combination of the children’s meals at Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Chick-fil-A are too high in calories.

Parents don’t need a report to tell them it’s unhealthy to feed their kids hamburgers and fries for dinner. Nothing in a brown paper bag that’s handed to you through a drive-thru window is going to be healthy. American children are becoming increasingly overweight. Eating fatty foods and inactivity are undoubtedly difficult habits to break, but they’re especially hard to overcome as an adult if it’s what was learned at an early age.

Based on a study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in the combined years of 2003—06, 16.3 percent of children and adolescents ages 2–19 years were obese, at or above the 95th percentile of the 2000 Body Mass Index (BMI)-for-age growth charts.

According to data found in Kitsap County Health District’s Kitsap County Core Public Heath Indicators report, an estimated 23 percent of youth (grade 10) in 2006 were at an unhealthy weight, above the 85th percentile BMI.

The report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 45 percent of children’s meals exceed recommendations for saturated and trans fat, which can raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease, and 86 percent of children’s meals are high in sodium.

They recommended these changes for restaurants:

• Reformulate their menu items to reduce calories, saturated and trans fat, and salt, and add more healthy items like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

• Make fruit or vegetables and low-fat milk or water the default sides instead of french fries and soda for children’s meals.

• Provide nutrition on menus and menu boards. New York and San Francisco are among the cities and localities that have adopted menu labeling policies.

Here’s an even better recommendation: Make a wholesome meal at home. Not only will your kids eat healthy, but it’s an opportunity to sit together as a family. And when you’re finished, go outside and play with your kids.

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