||How to End the Epidemic of Overweight & Sedentary Children
by Todd Hollander
Most parents understand that childhood obesity, and obesity in general, is a big problem. And everyone seems to be looking for a reason or someone to blame for this rising epidemic.
Unfortunately, experts likely will never be able to find one single thing that makes the average person overweight, which means that there is no quick fix to help our kids get back to a healthy weight.
We're Killing Our Kids is a very nice supplement to other books on obesity, nutrition, and weight loss.
Instead of simply repeating what everyone else is saying, namely that everyone needs to eat fewer calories, choose healthier meals, and exercise more, Todd Hollander offers an in depth analysis of the factors behind the obesity epidemic. Only by really understanding these factors will we ever be able to truly reverse the trend of kids becoming more and more overweight.
So why are kids overweight? We're Killing Our Kids suggests 10 main causes, including:
- Society and the fact that 'everyday life has ceased to require the physical exertion necessary to maintain healthy weight and physical fitness.
- 20th Century Innovations, such as television, escalators, and frozen pizza.
- Electronic Media and increased TV watching, computer use, and video game playing.
- The Government, including their pushing the Food Guide Pyramid to get people to eat a low fat diet, which may have ended up encouraging them to eat more carbs and more calories.
- Restaurants, especially fast food restaurants and super-sized meals
- Schools, which push unhealthy lunches, and unhealthy snacks from vending machines
- Lack of Exercise, with less physical education and schools and the adoption of sedentary lifestyles by many children
- Sugar, especially the amount of sugar kids get from drinking soda and fruit drinks
- Parents who may 'fail to set a proper example for children with their own diet and exercise practices.'
- a 'perfect storm' in which all of the above factors combined to create the current obesity epidemic
I like this 'perfect storm' theory for obesity. If you think about it, if just a few of these factors had occurred, like the rise of fast food or increased TV watching, they could likely have been overcome by most kids if they had continued to exercise or didn't also drink a lot of soda and fruit drinks.
It also offers hope that maybe we don't have to fix all of these things to help get kids to a healthier weight.
After discussing the causes for kids being overweight, We're Killing Our Kids goes on to discuss the consequences of being overweight, beginning with the blunt fact that 'being overweight can kill you.' Although the long term health effects of obesity, such as diabetes, are important, in the short term, the psychological effects may be even more concerning. Todd Hollander describes these consequences as 'particularly tragic,' especially when you consider that 'common psychological problems associated with overweight and obesity range from low self esteem to anxiety, clinical depression, and impaired social functioning.'
Although understanding the causes and consequences of being overweight are important, the last two chapters of the book are what make We're Killing Our Kids a great book for parents of overweight children. In them, Todd Hollander discusses What You Should Know about nutrition, exercise, and weight loss, and What You Should Do to help your kids 'develop a lifestyle of good nutrition and physical fitness.'
What You Should Know
- portion sizes are way above normal serving sizes
- certain foods have 'good' fats
- like fats, some carbs are good and some are bad, and you can use the glycemic index to find healthier carbs, including foods made up of whole grains
- a healthy diet includes a combination of 'lean protein, monounsaturated and polyunsatureated fat, and low-glycemic carbohydrates,' and not necessarily a low-fat or low-carb diet
- you can use the F.I.I.T. principle to create an 'effective exercise program' to improve your health
- you can avoid temporary weight loss results by changing what you are eating, instead of simply following a calorie-restricted diet, and exercising
We're Killing Our Kids also offers helpful guidelines for a balanced breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacktime, including foods to include and avoid.
If terms like glycemic index and good fats are foreign to you, We're Killing Our Kids is essential reading to help you plan a healthy diet for your family.
What You Should Do
Help your family 'develop a lifestyle of good nutrition and physical fitness' by avoiding bad advice and using Todd Hollander's book to develop a plan, priorities, and actions to promote a 'nutritious diet and physical fitness.'
Rating: 4 stars
Or look for other books about obesity in children.