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.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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