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Some schools are banning cupcakes at kids’ birthday parties. Say that again! Here’s a quick memo: kids are not fat because they eat a cupcake or two at a school party. We all get fat because of a caloric imbalance—we eat more calories than we burn.
Eat healthy food or unhealthy food and one fact remains: if you eat too much, you will gain weight.
Teach your kids what to eat, how much to eat and to exercise regularly. Even better, model these behaviors for them. That is the answer to our obesity epidemic. I like the idea of taking unhealthy snacks and drinks out of school vending machines because this helps feed daily unhealthy eating behaviors. But, leave the school parties alone!
I have a better recommendation for school administrators: stop cutting out physical education class. Forty-five minutes of daily exercise is what kids need during the day. We all need that activity during the day. This will burn calories and help control weight gain.
For sure, obesity is a huge problem for our entire population and should not be taken lightly. Consistently bad eating and exercise behaviors have caused this epidemic. Consistently good eating and exercise behaviors will bring us out of the epidemic. There are no quick fixes.
According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 percent of pre-adolescent kids and 17 percent of adolescents were overweight in 2003-04. And there's an increase in type 2 diabetes in children. These numbers have not improved since that time.
So, what are we to do to help ourselves and our children? Here are some tips:
1. Eating right starts at home. Parents have the responsibility to teach their kids what to eat and how much to eat. You may need to clean out the pantry and replace foods high in sugar, fat and other unhealthy ingredients.
2. Don’t let your kids sit in front of the computer looking around on Facebook for hours and hours. Force them to go outside and play or sign them up for a sports team. This is the best type of exercise—fun exercise.
3. Take advantage of fitness plans available at health clubs. Just about every health club has fitness plans for families.