The Struggle Continues Against Childhood Obesity

A new study from MSNBC reports that food ads on television have more pull when it comes to children's food selection over parents.  Children ranging from 3-8 years of age were shown programs including three commercials; one group viewing an ad for French fries and the other an ad for apple slices and dipping sauce. It is reported that 71% of the children that watched the French fries commercial whose parent's had a neutral influence chose to eat French fries over apple slices when given the option; 55% did when their parents encouraged them to make the healthier choice. Of the children who watched the commercial for the apples, only 46% went for the French fries when parents remained neutral and 33% did when parents promoted the healthier choice.

It is alarming that more than half of the children in the study who watched the French fries commercial chose them over listening to their parent's advice. Despite the fact that children are exposed to media on a very regular basis, parents aren't doomed in the fight to keep their children healthy.

Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign is attempting to bring awareness to citizens nationwide and solve the issue of childhood obesity so that kids will grow to be healthier individuals with a decreased chance of living with diabetes. A task force was assembled by President Barack Obama to come up with an action plan: Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within A Generation. It is imperative that measures are taken in order to abolish the current statistic that one third of every child that is born after 2000 will suffer with diabetes or heart-related diseases.

Tackling school cafeterias and forcing them to upgrade to healthier food options with more nutritional value is more essential now than ever before. This is because a good portion (sometimes the main portion) of children and adolescents' daily food consumption happens at school.  The USDA and the Let's Move campaign are playing active roles in taking defensive measures against childhood obesity by working with The HealthierUS School Challenge to provide physical activities as well as nutrition education and higher standards of food quality to schools. As of September 28th, 2011; 1,631 schools are currently participating.

The role the government is taking in obesity prevention among children is a major step in the right direction; however, it is a cause that everyone living in the United States needs to take to heart in order to ensure that this upcoming generation surpasses the life expectancy of the one before.

How are you helping your children make healthier food options?

Photo: Port of San Diego

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