I thought it only necessary to blog with a political mind this morning since the elections are only a little ways behind us. I will share that I am not happy that Pennsylvania is now a Republican state but hey the election was fair. Anyway, I started thinking about the fact that through all the slanderous campaign commercials and radio ads we have all had to endure the last few months, I haven't heard a single candidate talk about what they are going to do to make sure that America has a future generation? It is a well known statistic that 1 in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese.. to the point that this has been called an "obesity epidemic." So I decided to dig a little bit deeper, past the plight of Michelle Obama, and look at what steps the government has taken in the last few years to combat this problem.
|This chart shows adult and child obesity percentages by state.|
The National Governors Association for Best Practices started a state led program in the last few years that is called "Healthy Kids, Healthy America." This committee's sole purpose is to support and integrate the development of anti- obesity and obesity prevention measures at a state level. Many states created their own more local committees under the umbrella of the NGA and started making five year plans to increase school nutritional options and physical activity in young students. Others conducted surveys in hopes to better understand the reasons for the obesity issues in their states. One of the most influential systems that have been piloted in a few states is a school based system for nutritional information. Indiana is one of the states that has actually succeeded in implementing a classroom/online wellness program that must be completed by students.
Want to read about the entire "POWER" project by the NGA and see what progress/ plans the states have? check it out! : )
On of the biggest state wide government policies/laws that I have heard of in the last 5 years to fight childhood obesity was passed the other day. We all know that McDonalds has been one of the main sources of blame in the past for creating childhood obesity issues by enticing families to eat their cheap and addicting food. Although they are not the only restaurant with these practices for sure.
Did anyone see the photography project in which a McDonalds hamburger and fries have not deteriorated at all in 6 months of being left out?? GROSS!! (Personally, I think its the parents that choose to take their children to McDonalds on a weekly basis that deserve the blame.. but I digress)
Haven't seen it yet?
San Fransisco legislators have passed an ordinance that requires fast food meals to meet certain nutritional guidelines before they are allowed to include toys in their meals! I think this is an amazing thing!! I mean after all.. lets face it. the point of a toy in happy meals is so that kids want to nag their parents to buy them. The kids want the box with the maze on it and a toy to play with on the way home and they don't have the knowledge or the want to care about the food they are putting in their bodies at the age of 8. Starting a reward system for those children to pick healthy (healthier) choices at fast food restaurants will help them to learn what the smarter decisions are when they are older. Choosing apple slices instead of french fries will cut over 100 calories and numerous grams of oil and fat out of your children's diet..giving them more energy and helping their body to function more efficiently.
So I say good job San Fransisco! You might be rainy but your heads are in the right place! I hope other cities and states adopt similar programs. What programs do you want your state or city to adopt? Do you have any ideas to help?
I would love to see Pennsylvania offer nutrition and physical activity courses. Actually teach kids an entire year about how to take care of themselves and not just make it a 3 week section of a health class or making gym more than just playing dodge ball.
What about tax incentives for people who can prove they use a gym membership or stick to a healthy plan? Or employer incentives for employers that allow free gym services in their buildings? State grants to schools to revamp their gym classes and vending machines or eating programs!
There are so many ideas out there of how we can help! what do you think?