Childhood Obesity: The Silent Epidemic that’s Becoming a National Security Disaster
March 06, 2010
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First lady Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move” campaign the second week of February to highlight, and hopefully help remedy the current childhood obesity epidemic.
If you think epidemic sounds a little too dramatic, then consider this: It is estimated that one out of every three children in the United States is obese.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a simple formula for helping prevent childhood obesity.
It’s 5-2-1-0, and it breaks down like this:
5: Eat five vegetables and fruits a day (the majority of this should be vegetables). I would also add that you limit your fructose consumption from fruits to under 15 grams per day. You can use the table lower on this page to help you determine the fructose content of common fruits.
2: Limit screen time — TV in particular — to 2 hours or less a day. (The AAP says to avoid any screen time for children under the age of 2. Another interesting variation of this comes from Robert Lustig, MD who is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California who specializes in weight loss. He integrates this into the next one in that for every minute of screen time (TV or video games) a minute of exercise is required.
1: Do one hour of physical activity a day.
0: Have zero sugar-sweetened drinks This is an easy one that EVERY child would benefit from following.
Additional suggestions are: Be persistent in offering your child new foods, don't berate your child about his weight, involve him in food preparation, and be a dietary role model.
In the video above, British chef Jamie Oliver delivers an impassioned plea for America (and the world) to embrace a healthy food movement. He was recently given the $100,000 TED prize.