It Looks Like Our Society Actually Wants All Our Kids to be Fat!

| Nov 7, 2007

Right now, nearly one in six children is overweight. Given the findings of a group of studies recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, however, it's a wonder that they all aren't fat. Their environment is certainly working against them.

Each of the studies paints a damning picture of one aspect of our children's chub-charged environment. According to a University of Michign study, eighty-three percent of high schools and 67 percent of middle schools have contracts with a soft drink manufacturer that pays them from $500 to $6000 a year for the privilege of fattening the student bodies. Hispanic children are downing the sodas at the highest rate, but the rest aren't far behind.

In another U of M study, researchers found that only one in ten children is taking any physical education by twelfth grade. That pitiful number is even less for African American and Hispanic kids.

A University of Illinois study found that one in four television commercials seen by teens is for food, and it's definitely not advertising broccoli. African-American adolescents see about fourteen percent more food ads than their white peers, and the ads are heavily weighted, so to speak, toward junk and fast food.

According to researchers from the U of I, low-income minority neighborhoods are riddled with fast-food outlets, far more than are found in high-income white neighborhoods. Another study, from both U of I and U of M, found that the abundance of corner stores in poor neighborhoods is associated with being fatter, whereas having a large upscale supermarket is associated with being thinner.

The obvious conclusion, that we need to get our children to eat right and exercise more, seems a bit fatuous in light of the constant environmental pressures to go the other way that our children are exposed to. If we don't change the environment, the likelihood of keeping our children slim looks pretty slim.

Source: Medline Plus; American Journal of Preventive Medicine, September 2007

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Categories: Diets, Exercise, Food, Kids & Teens

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Posted by Anonymous on 9 November 2007

The obvious conclusion? The obvious conclusion is that if we want to do anything about obesity or Type 2 diabetes we need to take a hard look at poverty in this country and finding ways to get people out of it.

Posted by Jerry on 9 November 2007

Similar story on CBS Early Morning News yesterday (11/18/2007) An LA City Ccouncilperson is attempting to reduce the number of fast food outlets in the down town and minority areas eg Watts, of Los Angeles. There are hundreds of these places and very few groocery stores in these areas. Graphics of neighbourhood children were especially revealing of an obesity outbreak. Very bad conditions.

Respectfully J Lee

Posted by lindalou on 12 November 2007

Lower socio-economic neighborhoods would indeed benefit from grocery stores that offer fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, as shown in a study of diabetes patients in Harlem and Upper East Side NY. But the parents need to be taught how to prepare and cook the foods and they need to have something to cook them on. Many poor families do not have the money to pay for both utilities and food, so buy their food already cooked (fast food). Also they have not been shown how to budget their money and food stamps. I have patients that only have $63. a month in food stamps, but did not know they should be spending some of their income for food also. They thought the money was to be spent on other things and the food stamps were their food budget. 50 years ago, we had PE every day, we had 45 min for lunch, we had home economics classes in middle school where we learned to sew and make a basic meal and to budget. Amazingly, we also had 5 academic classes each day. Today, our children have 20 min for lunch, sometimes at 10:30. They only have 4 classes a day, but they are 90 min long (no middle school kid has an attention span for that). They do not have PE or if they do, it is a classroom instruction on sex and health, not activity time. They cannot walk to school or to the corner drugstore soda fountain because they are on a bus for 2 hours. Yes, we did this to ourselves, but we do have the resources to make the change. Just Do IT!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 19 November 2007

Thank you for posting this article. It's not the children's fault that they're not healthy. Too many adults are out there shaking their fingers at the youngsters for being "lazy" and "fat". The responsibility of providing for the well-being of our children rests solely on our shoulders. Give the kids back their PE and recess time. Give them back their 30 minutes for lunch and feed them something decent. Stop taking "blood money" from the soda companies. Let's create a way for the low-income communities to have access to healthy food. Why can't we start food co-ops in our neighborhoods and get some good nutrition going to our kids? The middle class kids are getting shuttled around to a million different activities, and going through the drive-through for their dinner. They need our time and they need our attention! Our kids deserve better than what we're giving them! We have to stop blaming the kids and look at ourselves and the world we're creating for them.

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