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Children and Obesity


– Welcome: “When are kids (and adults) too FAT? ”
– Feature: “Ten Tips for Thinner Kids”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick: “How to teach nutrition to kids”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick: “Fast Food Nation”
– K-3 Book Pick: “The Edible Pyramid”
– K-3 Book Pick: “The Great Cupcake Caper”
– 4-6 Book Pick: “Good Enough to Eat”
– 4-6 Book Pick: “The Race Against Junkfood”
– Web Discoveries: “KidsFood Cyber Club”
– Words of Wisdom: “Food, glorious food!”

WELCOME: “When are kids (and adults) too FAT?


 Dear Readers,

 North Americans are preparing to come out of winter hibernation. Some of us are discovering that our children (or *ourselves*) gained a few pounds in the process.

That’s not surprising. Too many of us are super-sizing our food choices too often.

More than half of US adults are overweight. More than 25% of US adults are obese.
Since 1980, the percentage of overweight children has nearly doubled.

With your guidance, the 20% of overweight kids out there won’t join the 50% of overweight adults.

The good news is that food is wonderful in moderation, when balanced by exercise. Planning, buying, preparing and eating food are fun social activities that produce great interaction among families and friends. And don’t forget doing the dishes!

So the real message of this issue is Bon Appetit. Enjoy your meals and your health. I hope the resources below help.

Kent Davis – Editor

FEATURE: “Ten Tips for Thinner Kids”
by Kent Davis

The bottom line is that ALL weight gain is due to taking in more calories than your body uses.  Here are 10 tips to help parents balance the equation. For more ideas, see Dr. Koop’s tips above:
1. Take charge – As a parent, it’s your responsibility to give your children a healthy diet. You are the decision maker.

toss salad wooden bowl md wht Children and Obesity2. Involve your children in the meal-planning process – Get your kids involved in planning menus, shopping for food and preparing meals. See our Active Parenting feature for more ideas

3. Turn off the TV – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of two hours of TV per day. See our February 2001 newsletter for ideas on how to limit media consumption.

4. Encourage physical activity – Help your kids participate in organized sports in school and in family activities at home. A walk in a park or biking as a family is fun. You can find opportunities every day if youteeter totter md wht Children and Obesity look. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, don’t look for the closest parking spot at the mall. Make physical activity a habit for you and your children.

5. Eat meals as a family – This will help develop healthy eating habits. You can monitor your child’s portions, help them eat at a reasonable pace, and set a good example. Concentrate on making meal time a pleasant time together.

6. Encourage kids to eat slowly – It takes your body about 20 minutes to signal that it is full. By eating slowly, your children will enjoy the food more and have less of a tendency to overeat.

7. Limit juice and soda – High calorie foods with low activity lifestyles guarantee weight gain. Drinkingorange bobbing tree md wht Children and Obesity 400 calories of Coke or orange juice is still a 400 calorie intake. And it’s just too easy to fill up with high calorie beverages. Real fruit is a much better choice.

8. Don’t ban any food – This could result in craving or in your children eating the foods popcorn md wht Children and Obesitysecretly. It’s better to limit consumption to a reasonable amount.

9. Plan for snacks – You know your kids will want them. Plan ahead to have healthy snacks available. Favorites include air-popped popcorn, frozen fruit juice Popsicles, fruit sorbet and dried fruits.

10. There are no quick fixes – Weight loss pills or fad diets don’t produce long term benefits and are never appropriate for children. Controlling weight is a matter of building healthy habits of eating and exercise over time.


howtoteachnutrition Children and Obesity111008 1851 kdcutandpas28 Children and ObesityHow To Teach Nutrition To Kids: An Integrated, Creative Approach to Nutrition Education for Children Ages 6-10

by Connie L. Evers

This book is your *best* resource. It’s packed with plenty of tested strategies that teachers and parents can implement immediately. It deals with nutrition in school and at home and offers plenty of hands-on activities to help children learn about eating healthy. I especially like it because it uses an integrated approach, like our life skills lessons. It offers hundreds of activities that fit into regular school subjects like social studies, math and science.

fastfoodnation Children and Obesity111008 1851 kdcutandpas28 Children and Obesity“Fast Food Nation”
by Eric Schlosser

Schlosser’s detailed research ranks fast food among the biggest health threats we face. Consider that Americans spent $110 billion on fast food in 1999. That’s more than we spent on new cars, computers or higher education. And it shows on our waistlines; more than half of US adults are overweight! Schlosser links this trend to fast food marketing campaigns that start targeting us as children.
Has your child ever coerced you into visiting a fast food stand for the latest toy or movie tie-in? Have you ever wondered how fast food restaurants ended up on every busy corner in the US (and increasingly in other parts of the world)? This book is an interesting read that delivers the facts.


ediblepyramid Children and Obesity111008 1851 kdcutandpas28 Children and Obesity“The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day”
Illustrated by Loreen Leedy

  This book features a restaurant with a charming feline waiter to simplify the meaning of the U.S. Department of Agriculture food pyramid. There’s not much text, but the illustrations and storyline will help teachers and parents explain the concept of a balanced diet.

fivekids Children and ObesityFive Kids & A Monkey Solve the Great Cupcake Caper
by Nina M. Riccio, Beth Blair (Illustrator) 

This book received positive editorial reviews and, as one reader comments, “This was our favorite of the series. Who can resist a kid that turns into a cupcake from eating too much junk food? A gentle reminder of those healthy food habits we often choose to ignore.” For younger readers.


goodenough Children and Obesity111008 1851 kdcutandpas28 Children and ObesityGood Enough to Eat : A Kid’s Guide to Food and Nutrition
by Lizzy Rockwell (Illustrator)

This is a great reference resource for teaching health and nutrition. It gives age-appropriate scientific explanations for many aspects of good nutrition. Why is water important to our diet? What are vitamins? What does the food pyramid mean? What is protein and why is it important? How is food digested? etc. There’s good information here but older kids may think it looks like it’s aimed at a younger crowd.


raceagainstjunkfood Children and Obesity111008 1851 kdcutandpas28 Children and Obesity“The Race Against Junk Food”
by Anthony Buono, et al

Enter the heroes, the SNAK Posse (Super Nutritionally Active Kids) to teach kids to eat right and stay fit. Even though this colorful book is only 40 pages it has a strong motivational message.


WEB DISCOVERIES: for teachers, parents & kids

hotbutton Children and ObesityUSDA for Kids

This one is for your kids! It has plenty of links to interactive learning activities. Each one is a step-by-step lesson that’s fun to use. For example; Rate Your Plate; Food Guide Pyramid; Food Keeps us WELL; Choices, Choices, Choices; Grow it Yourself, and more.

pears rocking tree md wht Children and Obesity

Here are two excellent links
from the National Institute of Health:

but starred Children and ObesityHelping Your Overweight Child

This page is a detailed look at the problem of overweight children. It answers basic questions and offers practical strategies to correct problems.basket of apples md wht Children and Obesity

but starred Children and ObesityStatistics Related to Overweight and Obesity

This page contains a lot of technical information but it also has some quick facts to help you understand obesity.

but starred Children and ObesityPIC.TV Public Internet Channel – Childhood Obesity in America

Childhood Obesity in America looks at both the causes and solutions to this serious national health problem.  It explores the challenges of raising children in an era of fast food and video games, and talks to doctors about starting your child on a path toward a healthy weight.  This is just one of many free online videos available for viewing on the website.

WORDS OF WISDOM: “Food, glorious food!”

girl bicyclist md wht Children and ObesityThat quote is from “Oliver.” Indeed food is glorious if you’re getting enough exercise. Here are a few more to whet your appetite and make you hungry for discussion. Some are in jest, and some serious.
“A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz.”
Humphrey Bogart

 “Americans have more food to eat than any other people
and more diets to keep them from eating it.”


“You better cut the pizza in four pieces
because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”

Yogi Berra

“Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.”
English Proverb

“No clever arrangement of bad eggs ever made a good omelet.”
C. S. Lewis

“What is food to one man may be fierce poison to others.”

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


“Nothing will benefit human health
and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth
as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Albert Einstein

“When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.”

Chinese proverb

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