The Times West Virginian


March 17, 2013

How do we win battle against childhood obesity?

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, 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.

Misty Poe

Managing Editor


Text Only
  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • 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.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads