Here's Why Kids Are Still Getting More Obese

If your kids are overweight, they may not be eating too much.

... the number of calories consumed annually by the average US child declined 9 percent between 2004 and 2013. And yet, researchers from Duke and Wake Forest have found that trend has not improved the child obesity situation.

... not a single group showed a statistically significant decline in obesity or being overweight over the time frame.

So, despite the above-mentioned drop in calorie intake, our kids are still packing on too much weight too fast. What gives?

... while kids have eased up on problematic items like sugary sodas in recent years, they're "not shifting the quality of [their] diets toward healthy foods." Instead, "we continue to see our children mainly eat what we would call junk food," relying heavily on cookies and other grain-based sweets, along with plenty of salty snacks, fruit juice (which acts an awful lot like soda in our bodies), and other sugary beverages.

... French fries and chips are the most common form of vegetables kids eat by the time they're two years old.

... Congress and President Barack Obama reformed the school food environment in important ways back in 2010, cutting down on the once-ubiquitous availability of sugary snacks and beverages, but public school cafeterias are still constrained by tight budgets to churning out plenty of highly processed food.

Chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates are ubiquitous in food packaging and all manner of consumers products; yet there's "strong mechanistic, experimental, animal, and epidemiological evidence" that at tiny doses they mess with our endocrine systems and can trigger obesity and diabetes, warns the Endocrine Society. Kids can be saddled with a higher risk of obesity before they're even born, when their pregnant moms are exposed to BPA.

Add all of this to stubbornly low rates of physical activity among kids and the long decline of time and resources devoted to physical-education classes and even recess, and it's no wonder our childhood obesity problem persists. [emphasis mine]

Check the Kind of Plastics You Use

How to Avoid Phthalates and BPA: 

  • Do not microwave food/beverages in plastic 
  • Do not microwave or heat plastic cling wraps
  • Do not place plastics in the dishwasher 
  • If using hard polycarbonate plastics (water bottles/baby bottles/sippy cups), do not use for warm/hot liquids 
  • Use safe alternatives such as glass or polyethylene plastic (symbol #1)
  • Avoid canned foods when possible (BPA may be used in can linings) 
  • Look for labels on products that say “phthalate-free” or “BPA-free”

I still make the mistake of microwave reheating of plastic wrap-covered food, and sometimes put plastics  in the dishwasher.

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Replies to This Discussion

I suspect there is also the issue of exercise, or the lack thereof.  When I was a kid (more years ago than I care to relate!), we had recess every day and we played HARD, rang around, swung on swings and flying rings (loved those!) and played soccer.  Are kids these days doing as much?

Personally, I'm dubious.

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