How To Prevent Childhood Obesity? Remember What You Have Forgotten

Get this. The calories that kids eat away from home has increased from 23.4 percent to 33.9 percent between 1977 and 2006.

Those take-out foods are high in sugar and salt and synthetics and, oh yeah, calories. 

“We found that … kids eat an increasing number of calories outside the home,” said study author Jennifer Poti, from the university’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Eating outside the home is actually fueling the increased energy intake for kids.”

Ya think? 

Remember What We Have Forgotten

As a culture: 
  • We used to cook more at home. 
  • We used to eat together as a family at home. 
  • We used to not be so fat and unhealthy all the time. 
In fact, eating out increases the volume consumed, the salt consumed, the sugars consumed. 

Here are the study data (pubbed in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association).

29,217 U.S. children aged 2 to 18 took part in surveys of food intake, between 1977 and 2006. 
The researchers found that the number of calories children got from foods eaten away from home increased significantly. In fact, the percentage of calories children got from fast food was greater than those they got at school.
Samantha Heller, a dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., said that “in our fast-paced, time-challenged world, parents are convinced that it is easier and less expensive to eat take-out, fast food and in restaurants.”

But who buys that? 
I don’t know — and I know I will get some people to defend their inability to make food for their families … or even defend their inability to purchase decent foods — but it seems like there is a choice being made. The choice to make your food at home; the choice to make family time a commitment.  

We cannot control where these eateries are located or how they prepare their foods, but we can decide to cook more at home, which will ultimately save money and help keep our families healthy,” Heller said.

The Typical Whine
It’s too expensive …. Although it appears a take-out meal for $4.99 is a great deal, one would actually save money by going to the store buying chicken breasts, vegetables, whole grain pasta, bread and sauce. 

You would have a healthy dinner and leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and probably enough left to reinvent dinner by using the remaining ingredients in a salad, frittata or burrito,” she added.

For less than $30, you can buy enough food for several meals including chicken breast, mushrooms, broccoli, pasta, lettuce, bread, eggs, tomato sauce and salad dressing,” Heller said. A family of four can spend that much easily for just one meal each for take-out and fast food. Planning the week’s meals ahead will make home cooking easier, faster, and cost-efficient. More importantly, research suggests that family meals enhance the health and well-being of children on many levels,” she said.

Bottom Line

It’s about personal responsibility, and our ability to set our own priorities and schedules. There is “health in the hearth”. Make your own food at home. We used to do this when we were healthy and these are the cultural habits that we need to remember to make dent in the chronic weight and health issues of our children. 

More Kids Eating Calorie-Packed Take-out Food –

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