Last week Congress declared a resolution to make September our National Childhood Obesity Month.
Certainly, a yearly reminder about this serious national problem is a good thing. But what if we could make this reminder unnecessary? What if we could make childhood obesity a thing of the past?
We can! We’re learning more each day about the forces driving this epidemic. We’ve always known that the problem is complex, but we’ve never been attacking it on so many fronts.
Under President Obama, we’re reaching into the country’s food deserts, bringing healthful foods to places where only packaged, processed and fast food was sold. Mrs. Obama has put the White House garden and “Let’s Move” on the map and in the daily newspapers. Congress is on the cusp of passing legislation that would significantly improve the quality of child nutrition programs, including school breakfast and lunch, as well as bringing comprehensive nutrition and physical education to more schools.
In the private sector, Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver are standing up for food for kids, and teaching kids and their communities to prepare their own food. Schools are building and expanding edible gardens. Parents are fighting back against the encroachment of academic time upon recess, physical education and lunch periods.
Nutrition educators, such as us experts at Super Kids Nutrition, have been in the trenches for a number of years, trying to help kids escape from this epidemic of poor health. The toughest part—besides seeing kids suffer the emotional and physical consequences of overweight—is deciding where to direct most of our efforts. Do we fight against junk food on TV? Do we teach nutrition education in school? After school? Do we build gardens? Do we talk to parents and help them budget for better diets?
It’s a multi-pronged battle for sure, and each of us has been hitting the monster from a different angle. But perhaps for the first time, we have looked behind us and have seen people willing to stand up and take our places. We’re seeing more angry parents, grandparents, and kids themselves saying, “Enough! We want to be healthy –we want real food!” This growing cheering section of American people is propelling us forward.
We can—and we will—kick the childhood obesity epidemic. And we won’t do it as individuals, as singular schools, as stand-alone communities, or even as an individual state. We’ll do it as a nation.
This National Nutrition Month, Super Kids Nutrition wants to thank the parents, kids, and community members who have expressed support for this crucially important cause. We’ll get there “one healthy food at a time.”