In 2010, one out of every three children was overweight or obese.
It’s a startling figure released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But even more startling is that the number has tripled since 1980. Tripled.
Collectively, we are not doing our kids any favors. Portions are huge. And even when portions are the appropriate size, they’re not packaged that way. Think a bottle of soda has 120 calories? Read a little closer. That’s 120 calories per serving, and a 20-ounce bottle of soda is two servings, not one. But that’s in the fine print.
Same goes with candy bars, pints of ice cream, bags of chips.
And our latch-key kids — if anyone even uses that phrase anymore — come home from school, turn on the television or the latest greatest game console and zone out for hours on end. Why play a rousing match of tennis when you could “virtually” play tennis. And since we as parents are spending 50 to 60 hours a week commuting and working, it’s not our responsibility, is it?
No, they should be eating healthier at school! So then they change the menu to meet USDA guidelines for caloric intake, portions and nutrition. And now our poor kids won’t eat hot lunches. They throw away more food than they eat! This is outrageous! Now we as parents have to pack 20-ounce bottles of soda, candy bars and bags of chips, paying no attention to the labels. Hey look, it’s a 100-calorie snack! That’s healthy, right?
Garbage in, garbage out, right?
How can we even expect our kids to function on the kind of crap they serve at fast-food restaurants and pre-packaged goodies we buy when little ones start tugging on our shirt at the grocery store.
Who needs an apple when you could buy a tube of applesauce?
And physical activity ... hmm. By the time you get home from commuting and work, there’s no daylight left on a weekday to get the kids outside. Weekends are packed with errands and trips. So hand them the hand-held gaming device, the miniature one that keeps them sedated at home, and off we go.
I don’t know about your kids, but I know my kids have a semester of phys ed. Per year. That’s it, other than recess, which is completely reliant on the weather and, ahem, the behavior of our children.
Maybe they’re just going into withdrawals from sugar, caffeine and their video games during the school hours. Better let them chug an energy drink before they get on the bus.
What are doing? Everything they do as children creates a path for them to follow into adulthood. In 30 years, America has managed to produce three times as many overweight children. What will happen in the next 30?
More and more of the same unless we take the battle against childhood obesity seriously. Last week on our online poll question, we asked our readers to respond to what they thought would be the best place to make changes that would change our children’s health for the better. On www.timeswv.com, our readers logged on to vote on this question: “Where do you think the most important changes need to be made in the battle against childhood obesity?”
And here’s what you had to say.
Teams — Promote and require physical after-school activities for all children — 2.5 percent
School — Kids need to be active every single day and eat healthier food. 3.75 percent
Mindset — Parents are the ones to convince about healthier habits, foods and lifestyles — 33.75 percent
Home — Lock up the video games and turn off the TV — 60 percent
That’s a winner if I ever saw one.
This week, let’s talk about a proposed bill in the Legislature that would give more leeway to the “stand your ground” laws in West Virginia. That means that self defense would be extended to protecting someone else who was being attacked and owners would be able to use “deadly force” to protect their home and property from burglars.
What are you thoughts?
Log on. Vote. Email me.
In 2010, one out of every three children was overweight or obese.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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- Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely