Helping Kids Get Healthy (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

So many studies say adults, and kids, are way too heavy.


I admit I'm only scratching the surface of a growing problem.

We recently ran a story on 11 News about new statistics from the Centers For Disease Control.  The CDC says 45 percent of American adults have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.  13 percent have at least two of the three!  The reason for all of this poor health?  According to the CDC, much of it is weight-related and a third of Americans are obese....not overweight, obese.

The CDC defines obese as a body mass index of 30 or more.  18.5 to 25 is considered normal weight. They also point out that BMI is not a direct measure of body fat and there are lots of variables.  In simplest terms, someone who's 5' 9", in general, would have to weigh 203 pounds to be obese.  Again, there are lots of qualifiers and variables, but the bottom line is..that's pretty heavy, and 33 percent of Americans are in that category.

Weight Range BMI Considered
5' 9" 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

Being an overweight adult often starts with being an overweight child.  It's estimated that about a third of children and adolescents in this country are obese.  Get this, if a child is obese from ages 10 to 13, there's an 80 percent chance that child will be obese as an adult....80 percent!  There are other studies that show things like foods high in fats and sugars can have an effect on the brain that makes them addictive.  With that in mind, here's part of a news release that came out today about unhealthy foods in school lunches.  It's from dietitians from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:

"Some of the foods contain more saturated fat and sodium than a child should eat in an entire meal."

The five worst school lunches are:



 Beef and Cheese Nachos

 24 grams of fat and almost 1,500 milligrams of sodium


Second Worst

 Meatloaf and Potatoes

 472 calories and 78 milligrams of cholesterol


Third Worst


 More saturated fat than a child should consume in an entire meal


Fourth Worst

 Cheese Sandwiches (including toasted cheese and cheese quesadilla)  More than 7 grams of saturated fat and almost 1,000 milligrams of sodium


Fifth Worst

 Pepperoni Pizza

 More than 6 grams of saturated fat; pepperoni is a processed meat that increases cancer risk


The report suggests that schools increase the number of days they serve healthier options already on their menus, such as vegetarian chili and veggie burgers, which are low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.



Clearly school lunches aren't the whole problem...they are one meal a day, five days a week. Clearly 8-year-old aren't driving themselves to McDonald's for a few double cheeseburgers.  


Parents have to help.  They have to keep tabs on what the kids eat, and they have to supervise it.  Fill them up on fruits and vegetables, allow them just one sweet treat a day.  Parents also have to help by setting a good example.  If parents try to eat healthy food, kids will too.  I battled weight as a child, and it was tough.  I was active at 8 years old but I had terrible eating habits.  Here's a picture of me that sums up both of those statements.



I still fight weight as an adult but I'm winning the battle now because I have made heavy exercise a top priority every day.  It's the only thing that works for me.  Wouldn't be nice if kids could grow up without having to worry about weight and the health consequences that come with being too heavy?

We're airing a story today about the school lunches, and another one tonight about getting kids to make healthy food choices.  Watch them if you can, maybe they'll help you and your kids.  I'll add the links later.

As for the school lunches, District 11 in Colorado Springs is working now to phase out the worst of the foods.  Good for District 11...more importantly, good for the kids who go to school and eat lunch in District 11.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

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