Preschool Obesity – WTF!

A recent study suggests that 1 out of 5 children (age 4) are obese.

Study finds 1 in 5 obese among 4-year olds


As stated within:

The study is an analysis of nationally representative height and weight data on 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001. Children were measured in their homes and were part of a study conducted by the government’s National Center for Education Statistics. The results appear in Monday’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers then went on to estimate the following:

Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese…

Life As A Parent

If I read this story 5 years ago, I would have likely skimmed over it and moved on without much thought. It’s not that I would have wished obesity on any child, but it simply wasn’t a topic that I followed closely before having children of my own.

I am now a proud father of two wonderful children. There is no denying that life changes after becoming a parent. My life now revolves around caring and providing for my children. If they hurt, I hurt. They mean everything to me. I can’t imagine ignoring their health and well being. Even the best legal counsel in the world couldn’t sway me to believe it is acceptable to allow children to eat themselves to obesity.

No Excuses!

Since reading this article in the news yesterday, I’ve already seen arguments defending those parents whose children are overweight. At the top of the list, many have highlighted the troubled economy. Their argument is that it is too expensive to consume healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.


Yes, the economy has gone down the gutter as of late, but even tough times don’t give us a reason to overfeed our children. Does anyone actually believe that a poor economy somehow justifies obesity? Are we really that pathetic as a nation? What happened to stepping up and taking some responsibility? Times have certainly changed…

My mother raised two kids on her own. We certainly weren’t wealthy. That didn’t stop her from picking out what foods we ate. My brother and I didn’t do the shopping. Our voting rights were not recognized. We weren’t in charge. My mother ran the show. She bought the food. She cooked the food. We ate the food.

Yes, we had snacks, but there were rules in place in terms of what and when snacks were allowed. For example, we were allowed to pack one snack with lunch.  That was it. I can remember telling my mother that the other kids had more than one snack with their sandwich. She would respond by reminding me that I’m not one of the other kids. She was not about to give in.

Looking back, I’m glad my mother took care of us the way that she did. She is all the proof that I need to completely discredit the economy as a viable excuse for obesity. My mother was (and still is) a very strong woman, and we certainly learned from her example. She did everything in her power to take care of us and I’ll never be able to thank her enough.


We can’t blame a poor economy for nationwide obesity. Personally, I already run a very small business and the slow economy hasn’t helped. Tough times don’t mean that I’ll start stuffing my kids with crap however. We still do our best to purchase and consume healthy foods. It’s all about priorities. I’d rather cut back in other areas. Nutrition and health are at the top of my priority list when it comes to spending.

Furthermore, what happened to kids getting outside to play? I practically lived outside as a kid. That’s all we ever wanted to do. No one wanted to sit inside and watch television. It’s natural for kids to get outside and play. It isn’t natural to sit inside and watch Elmo re-runs all day.

Is it really too much for parents to get off their ass and play outside with the kids? You can go to the park for free. Throw a ball in the yard. Take your kids for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Find something that you can do together. I cherish the time with my kids. I’d play outside all day if I could. My son would too. He was in the gym with me last night and asked me to build him a sandbag. He’s not even 3 and he’s already trying to lift our sandbags. He follows my lead. He sees that his parents are active and he wants to join in on the fun. When you lead, your kids will follow.


Another common excuse is lack of knowledge regarding various health related topics. I don’t buy into this excuse one bit however. I have no sympathy for parents who complain that they don’t know what foods are healthy for their children. Does the word “Google” ring a bell? How about you turn off American Idol and instead do some research regarding your child’s health? Bookstores are also great. You can even go to the library and check out books for free!

No one really knows anything about being a parent until it happens. There isn’t an instructional book that you can follow step by step. My wife and I read everything that we can find regarding the development of our children (ex. cognitive, social, physical, etc.). Infants aren’t able to make decisions on their own. We as parents must assume the role.

If you have time to make a child, you better have time to take care of the child. No one is born with answers. Parents need to actively search for answers. If my kid has a problem and I don’t know how to fix it, you can be damn sure that I will not stop looking until I can.

Lastly, I’ve never seen a child become obese overnight. It’s a gradual process. It’s not as if obesity breaks out like a rash. It takes time. Parents have the ability (and time) to make changes before obesity robs their children of their health and vitality.

We need to stop coddling ignorant parents as if they were the toddlers. Parents need to step up to the plate and stop making excuses. I’m beyond disgusted with this entire topic. I can’t imagine where we’ll be in another 20 years. I can only hope that my prediction is wrong.


  1. Hey Ross, I haven’t seen the the statistics, but i think most of these obese children are part of the lower classed economy and cannot afford to buy good healthy food. It costs more to feed your children fruits and vegetables than to buy large quantities of foods with lower nutritional values. Buying a pizza pie at 10 bucks for a family of 4 is cheaper than feeding each person separately with healthy alternatives. It was like that for me growing up. I agree and can’t understand why parents don’t promote outdoor activities to their children more often, because my parents did, even though we were in a not so great neighborhood. Admittedly some neighborhoods are much worse than mine were.

  2. Osa – Did you read my full entry? I discussed the economy. We weren’t rich growing up, but it didn’t stop my mother from raising two strong, healthy boys.

    There are ways to get by, but many people simply are not willing to put in the effort. It doesn’t rank high enough on the priority list, which IS a problem and a huge mistake.


  3. Osa,

    I have to take issue with your comments. A ten-dollar pizza is not more economically viable than a baked potato with cheese and salad, is it? It’s just easier to buy your meals than cook yourself. I know for a fact that I can feed six people on tuna and salad for less than $10…

    Ross, am I the only one who thinks it’s funny that people are discussing overfeeding children when the global economy is in such a poor state? Surely if the average family is struggling to make ends meet the last thing a prudent and responsible parent would want to do is waste money on junk food? What about money for clothes and bills?

    If I see another fat kid walking down the street stuffing his face I think I might just go postal!



  4. Alex,

    Another point worth mentioning is simply TRYING to provide a healthy option for the kids. No matter how difficult things can get, parents should still TRY to provide to the best of their ability. Many do not make the attempt however. That is the real issue.

    Parents at least need to put in the effort. Doing the best that you can sounds like a basic concept, but many fail miserably in this regard.

    A shift in priorities is often a required change.


  5. The ignorance thing is bullshit. I just don’t see any way that a person can possibly think that fast food is healthy. It just seems like common sense to me.

    As far s money goes, we’re talking about feeding a family with salmon and exotic vegetables. A whole chicken and a salad can feed a family of four for pretty cheap. It sure as hell isn’t convenient, but it gets the job done with limited resources.

  6. I have a 3-year-old, very active, very fit little boy who loves nothing more than to go outside and play. We don’t have a real yard or any real land for playing, but there’s parks and the beach and no real excuse for not going outside. Even though it’s coming into winter here now, I’m in NZ, and the wind and rain make being outside the most uncomfortable experience, there’s STILL options. For $3 we can go to a number of different indoor playgrounds or the public kids pool. Makes for a good weekend day as my wife and I both work full time. And honestly, this is where I can’t fault a good care center, because he gets to do play and learn all day long.

    As for food, it’s vast majority whole foods: lean ham, cheese, red peppers, cucumbers, apples, oranges, bananas, berries, etc. The only difference being some Omega-3 cookies, zucchini muffins, and vitamin gummy bears.

    The lazy parent will give into the child saying he doesn’t like this or that. The good parent will prevail by only offering healthy alternatives. You’re in control, not the toddler.

    I’m with you, Ross. There’s no reason for giving your kids a crap start in life by not giving them good fuel and plenty of fun exercise.

  7. If you really want to get heated, check out this group:

    One article about them discussed how the group wanted signs taking down depicting fat children eating a hamburger in an effort to fight childhood obesity. Their reasoning was because it teaches children to hate their bodies and to think of themselves as ugly.

  8. Okay I saw the article in the paper and just shook my head in disgust about the whole matter. Being poor does not mean you have to eat like crap, we were a poor Native American family & my mom always bought pretty clean and healthy food. I remember wanting the processed crap that the other kids had & Mom insisting that it was not needed – and it was entirely to expensive.
    That said I am now a parent & I actually find it cheaper to buy fresh, clean & natural than to buy the processed pre packed, pre made stuff. Way Cheaper. It is completely up to the Parents to teach their kids how to eat properly.


  9. The “my kid is fat because we can’t afford healthy food” argument is a cop out for primarily two reasons. First, making your kid go play is totally free. I coach children soccer and far to many of the kids cant even do warm ups without taking a break. I had one parent who even suggested the two 20 minute halves was to long for the children to run. It sad but to many kids play computer games rather than go outside. Second, even if you cant afford organic foods, home cooked meals are almost always cheaper and healthier then any food you buy at restaurants.

  10. Personally I think mothers aren’t the same as they used to be. They don’t know how to cook and look after kids as well as our mothers did.

    Same goes for the fathers.

  11. Having worked at a grocery store this rant made me think of two things. One, although it’s sad whenever I see people buying crap to eat, it’s especially sad when it’s parents buying crap that that they and their kids will eat.

    The other things is that the most economical shoppers I’ve seen are also some of the best health wise. They look for deals on meat, and produce, buy alot of whatevers a good deal and very little else. Their grocery bill is probably half of what the people who buy crap is.

  12. I was nearly tripped up by a very chubby four year old and her mother on their way to school a few weeks back. The child was lagging behind, out of breath and pausing every few yards to take a bite of something in her hand.

    What was the breakfast of choice at nine in the morning for a small child late for school?

    A chocolate fudge bar!

  13. I think the key here is responsibility. In recent times people have started to get the idea that somehow it’s someone else’s fault when bad things happen. So if a parent thinks they cannot afford to buy healthy food or does not know enough about nutrition to make the right choices, then these days they are more likely to just shrug their shoulders and blame the economy or the government if their kids get fat rather than proactively take whatever steps are necessary to solve the problem.

  14. I saw this study a couple of days ago. It’s appalling. It really is. Money trouble is no excuse for laziness, nor is there necessarily a correlation there. I know plenty of well off families with obese children. For example, take a parent making 6 figures, too busy to sign their kid up for sports or spend time actively with them. After a 10 hour work day the parent is too tired to cook, so they grab some happy meals on the way home for the kids. The parent is too tired an lazy to play actively with their child, so they instead hook up the xbox to keep the kids occupied. You see where I’m going with this.

    There are no excuses for lazy parenting.

  15. I go around a lot of schools in UK as an Army recuiter at the moment. I am amazed to find the amount of teenagers who are either overweight, can’t run or perform press ups etc or have no desire to push themselves. It’s sickening to see kids have let their youthful energy slip away.

    Great article. Thanks

  16. This is a great post and I totally agree with you. I am also a father of 2 and our TV never comes on. My oldest ‘s favorite pastime is going for a walk. I don’t buy junk food and they don’t ask to eat it. They get one snack in their lunch and even that is something healthy for them. We are disabling our children by not preparing them for healthy lives early on. We need to lead by example. Thanks for taking the time to read such a great article.

  17. I take some issue with this study. First their conclusions are based on BMI. BMI is good at evaluating how fat your average couch potato is, but not much else. There is also no analysis of historical data. How has the size of children changed over the last 20+ years, etc? This will tell us something b/c historically we have not calculated BMI for children, but we have tracked height and weight and have very well developed/understood charts for them.

    I also have a personal anecdote…my brother was told that my nephew, who is in this demographic, was obese. I laughed b/c looking at this kid, who is 4yrs younger and 2lbs lighter than his older brother, you can tell that he could be a champion powerlifter. His hands, feet and knees (joints) are just BIG. And this kid loves to be outside. His favorite outdoor activity is taking the rocks off the rock wall and piling them on the other side of the yard. For his older brother it is a punishment to turn off the gameboy and have to go outside….

  18. javier – BMI may be overrated/overused/pointless more times than not… but that isnt the larger issue. a 4 y/o shouldnt have a BMI in the obese category, regardless of the validity of BMI. how does a 4 y/o get to that point? the parents. of course the are exceptions, but the results are scary.

  19. Preach it. America is far too dependent on processed instant dinners spiked with sat fat and sodium. What BS excuses people make about “not being able to afford to eat healthy.”

  20. I have six kids from 1 year old to 4 years old, I’m self employed in the construction industry. Talk about a hard hit area of the economy! Guess what? My kids still eat whole quality food. We prepare their food every day. The economy excuse is nonsense. People are just lazy and love to play the blame game. I go to these b-day parties for my kids friends and all there is to eat and drink is soda pizza and cake. Not even a bottle of water or a veggie tray. “Oh but it’s their birthday” is always the excuse. Do your kids a favor and give them a present that will last a life time, Healthy eating habits (all the time).

  21. I am a minority amongst other parents regarding nutrition and TV. When I tell people that I don’t have Cable TV and my 2 year old has never watched any TV or DVD they are aghast and look at me funny.

    When I tell fellow parents that my 2 year has never had ice cream or candy bars they actually tell me I’m a bad parent saying, “your kids aren’t enjoying food”. Of course, my wife and I only feed our kids fruits and vegetables – not sweets. What a concept!!

    It’s no wonder my 2 year old is well adjusted, has few temper tanstrums, and has a mild temperment thru out the day – no sugar spikes!

  22. A lot of this is based on BMI…Most of us are ‘over weight’ Most football players are obese according to BMI. I will not be able to meet the recommended 149lbs concidering how I exercise. But I feel that I am in the top 2-5% of Americans physically and so are my kids. We eat healthy and exercise

  23. The issue of measurement is an important one, and I agree with you guys who have been bringing up the limitations of using BMI. But the real issue here is that there DO EXIST a lot of parents who just don’t care enough about their kid’s health / are too lazy to deal with preparing good food for them. Even if you don’t believe the exact numbers in the study (perhaps you think a lot less than 1/4 of kids are obese), there do exist a lot of obese children nowadays, and its a problem.

  24. I think the problem is partly related to the wealth of the population.

    Food is something we must all have yet it is so expensive!

    Its not just quantity of food that is the problem it is the quality of the calories consumed. 1000 calories of fat is not equal to 1000 calories of protein.

    Some people just cant afford quality calories, they buy what they can afford which is stuff you wouldnt want to feed your dog if you could afford dog food.

    But that still doesnt mean that parents cant improve how they treat their kids. Just dont buy chocolate or crisps etc… Or fizzy drinks… In the super market near my house in the UK its cheaper to buy 2 litres of cola than it is to buy 2 litres of water.


    You mention your mum brought you and your family up by herself… and still managed to feed you right and make do.

    One thing your missing is that 20 years ago when your mum was raising your family the quality of food on sales was greater than the quality on sale now. It was most likely much cheaper as well.

    So yes your mum managed but the quality of calories she could afford 20 years or so ago were much superior to the globilized tosh they sell us today.

  26. Tim – i agree that BMI isn’t accurate on an individual basis, but let’s also not forget that 2 and 3 year olds are not packed with muscle. I don’t need this study or any study to confirm that many youngsters are overweight. I have two young children and see loads of kids in the 2 to 4 year old range.

    Ben – Read some of the comments listed above. It’s quite possible to eat healthy without breaking the bank. It requires an active effort however. Furthermore, knowing how to cook goes a long way. Cooking stews that last for several days is one example. Parents need to step up and take the active effort. Learn how to cook, shop the sales, etc. Yes, it does require more work, but it’s certainly worth it.

  27. I get what your saying ross, its just the quality of food on sale these days is much lower than in the past.

    There was a TV show in the UK that did tests on chicken etc… that is sold in shops.

    And your average chicken now has less protein and more fat than it did 50 years ago.

    So altho your paying similar prices now… the quality of your calories from normal foods like chicken and vegtables is much lower.

    I dont think this is an excuse for obesity tho. But wealth does play a big role in deciding what you can eat.

    Also 50 years ago most mums did not work! They wasnt stressed out with their stupid jobs, they had time and energy to think about food. Now they want quick fixes like everyone else.

  28. Hey I couldn’t agree with you more!
    Parents have an obligation to provide their children with optimal nutrition. They should be doing the research and keeping up to date with proper diet trends.
    Weather your rich or poor, I think health is a high enough priority in a child’s life.
    Also, I can tell you I, like a majority of college students, struggle with regards to the bank account. I have a strict food budget and eat the healthiest of all my friends. A majority if grocery stores lower the price of produce at the end of the week because of shelf life…hmmm go shopping end of the week. Thats just one example, i wont get into all of them.
    Also, i feel that ignorance is an excuse for laziness. Parents just don’t want to go home and prepare a healthy meal at the end of work. Well you know what there are worst things, like clogged arteries and diabetes. Thats my take Ross

    Christopher Stella
    Fitness as a Lifestyle

  29. My mom grows our fruits and vegetables… The most it takes is time, but the reward is farrr greater. I don’t think I can go back to store bought vegetables and fruits anymore. The taste is soooooo goooooodddd!!! and it doesn’t take that much money at all to grow a garden to feed the right amount of vegetables for your family. Go to a farmers market if you don’t have time or money. It’s so cheap and so good! Go berry picking! Go somewhere that has healthy food. Ross is right, No Excuses!

  30. Ross,

    Great post – I’ve two kids one of 10 and one 4 so I’ve been watching childhood obesity increasing for sometime now. I find it very sad seeing really young fat kids but there are more than ever before – it certainly predates economic downturn and hey wealthy kids are fat too.

    The real problem is bad diet (convenience) and lack of activity (laziness). I’m Scottish and we’ve developed a fear of letting our kids out of our sight. So they don’t go out to play for the day and return late afternoon for a telling off like we did!! Their lives are much more controlled and yes safer but also less adventurous and challenging. I also think that kids learn less practical things because they don’t play/learn the same, making things, falling out of trees etc. Instead it’s inside watching tv or playing video games and driven everywhere. Parents need to take their kids out if they can’t let them out. We try to take them out into the country for walks/hikes (hey it’s free) and both of mine are interested in my fitness kit – I even bought a 5lb kettlebell to get them started.

    This is my first visit to your website, your commonsense and lack of pc bs will get me back for more, I’m looking forward to it.

  31. I bought a roast the other day for about $6.00 U.S. carrots for $3-4.00, 1 onion for $1.00 or so and oh yeah water for free. Had the salt and pepper and $1.00 bought the onion soup mix I added as a base. Cooked the roast for about 6hrs in a slow cooker fed myself, 2 daughters and 1 son(who eats like a shark on a feeding frenzy) and I still have left-overs nearly a week later? I’ve already eaten 3 meals from this myself, not including the one with my kids (single dad). How expensive is eating healthy again? I can’t seem to remember getting enough food for 4 meals (1 for 4 ppl and 3 for just me) on $12.00 from a restaurant EVER!!! Even from the dollar menu at McScarf and Barf or the like. And before anyone says anything about time, I work 2 jobs and study for school(out for the summer, but gotta keep my skills sharp). I just choose my kids and their health/well being over sleep/tv/me time/whatever. I’m a parent for god’s sake I have to make them the priority and make sure they learn good habits from me.

  32. We have a 9 year old son.
    He is one of few children his age that walks to school in my area.
    Very safe streets & less than 1km from home.
    There are kids getting driven to school who live just a couple of blocks down the road – WTF?

    Our 3 year old daughter has the energy to walk to & from the school with us after a day of running, dancing, climbing & jumping.

    On days of light rain we’re sure to be the only ones walking.

    Raincoats & umbrellas DO exist!

  33. How can folks eat healthy when they don’t even know what healthy eating is all about? The public has been mislead as to what food pryamid should look like.

  34. Ok it goes without a doubt that eating has alot to do with weight gain but you can not ignore the that we all have different metabolisms and while its ok for us mesomorphs and ectomorphs to sit here and blame them for eating to much.
    They eat and it goes straight into fat on there bodies this makes them more hungry and need more food which starts the snow ball effect.
    I feel sorry for obese people as they love hamburgers but simply cannot eat them or cakes etc.

    Its not the individual we should be targeting but food manufacturers mass producing cheap processed crap with no goodness in them at all no matter what the nutritional value states on the back because that is the biggest con i think there is going.

  35. Blaming food manufacturers is similar to blaming a pencil for a spelling error. The individual must take the time to education him or herself regarding VERY simple and sound nutritional strategies. Society as a whole seems to forget about personal responsibility. The information is there if the individual goes out and finds it. The same can be said about anything in life. Some choose to “do” while others do not.

    Drug dealers are not to blame for our nation’s drug problem. They don’t force the users to use. The same can be said of nicotine and alcohol. Individuals make a choice when they consume these products. We cannot always blame the manufacturer for our own mistakes.

    As for differences in body type, food does not just “turn into fat” when it enters the human body. There is much more to the process, and also much more that the individual can do to ensure a healthy and satisfying lifestyle. Healthy foods happen to be quite tasty. This topic has been discussed in detail in prior blog entries. Refer to the Health and Nutrition category for more information.

  36. I have to agree with Osa. Awhile back CNN did a really nice report on the lack of grocery stores in the inner cities of this country.There have been moves by some in these communities to ban the further growth of fast food restaurants in these communities. As far as food manufactures I hope there is more research done on high fructose corn syrup because I believe its increased usage instead of sugar helping feed this rapid growth of obesity in this country. I know these views may not be popular on this blog, but I love what you write about fitness that is why i keep coming back here

  37. I completely agree with most everything said here,i am the father of 5, from 22 to 4, NOT 1 is overweight in the slightest, the problem as i see it is, today’s parents(if that’s what you want to call em) are selfcentered, selfish, lazy wanna be “parents”, half of them don’t even know where thier kids are most of the time.My wife and i have homeschooled all of our children,we know where they are, who they are with and why they are there,planting a kid in front of the wii or xbox is NOT parenting!!!!!, letting kids graze all day until they won’t eat a good dinner, same, i am 100% in agreement to the “Get off your butt” approach, yes there are some who just do not have time, (single mom with 2 or 3 jobs) but as for the majority….. HA give me a break,there is a button on the t.v/game that says power…. investigate that, get outside with them, LOVE them and teach them, they will thank you for it when they relize you did it because you love them

  38. It goes without saying that parents have to lead by example. With that said more and more parents are getting so LAZY that that’s what their children see and think is ok. It’s the RESPONSIBILITY of the the parents to keep their children healthy and safe, however, how can the children be healthy when the parents can’t get themselves on track? As a personal trainer I hear so many excuses not to buy training but the number one excuse is that they don’t have any money. For some, that is simply the case. For others, when getting down to it it’s because they don’t want to give up their lifestyle of eating out, drinking and/or actually committing to a change. I seriously had one lady tell me that she’s worried about her kids because all they want is McDonalds. She herself was 320+ pounds and admitted to eating McD’s at least 2-3x/day. She was spending over $600/month on fast food and “couldn’t afford healthy foods” As far as the economy present and past…Sure foods where cheaper back then but so was the cost of living. Not to mention the freezers weren’t packed with as much processed foods. The grocery stores then where about the size of the entire Wal-Mart freezer section (At least in our town it was).
    Now, sure the economy is in the toilet but that’s no excuse. I work 2 jobs, my husband works full-time and goes to school and we are in debt up to our eyeballs and buying healthy foods isn’t expensive nor is anything else an option for us. Sacrifice the $50/YEAR at Costco or Sams and stock up. You can get 15 dozen eggs for $17, a giant box of old fashioned oatmeal for $8, frozen chicken, salmon, tilapia for $10-15/bag. Get your basics there then go to the farmers market for the rest. When we do decide to “splurge” a little we feel so horrible the next day. My daughter is almost 1 1/2 and all she’s eaten healthy foods from us. She’s tried the packaged toddler foods and thrown them on the floor. She’ll gobble up green beans, apples, blueberries, tomatoes, eggs… I want her to grow up healthy and active and we are leading by example.

  39. i totally and undisputedly argee with you ross as a parent of two aged5 &3 i hate to see nothing more than children missing out on there childhood. I see parents today forgetting what it was like for us as kids and that theres nothing more fun than if you are out kicking a ball about with a parent or mum takening you to the park just to run around playing cops and robbers or what ever i understand that its easier to park a child infront of the t.v than get off our fat arses and do something to keep are children healthy but may i remined those parents who disagree with my point that been a parent is a privlage not a right and obuse that privlage at your perrel

  40. First, great article.

    My mom is a nutrition student(she could be graduated long ago, but keeps taking more classes) and works with the Best Beginnings group in my city. The group works on educating pregnant, immigrant women on how to provide their children with nutritious meals on a limited budget.

    Despite the huge efforts of the volunteers involved, many of these women are ‘providing’ their children white bread(sugar bombs) with some kind of mystery deli meat as a form of protien.

    Guess what? These are their lunches they eat amongst their private school classmates…

    They’re choosing to send their children to private school as a status symbol over providing them nutrionally sound meals.

    It makes me sick.

    I’m now 21 years old. As a female powerlifter, I’ve never been more greatful for the resources I’m provided with in my home-the biggest one being something that started when I was born-nutrionally sound meals.

    It used to make me jealous to see all my schoolmates with the peanut butter cups, or pudding snacks. It used to bother me to know I was probably the only ten year old in my school (next to my twin sister) who had never tasted Coca Cola.

    Now, I know I’m one of the luckiest out of my friends. I don’t crave sugar-because high sugar, high fat foods with no nutritional value were outlawed at my house.

    I have a body fat of 14%, because I can count on one hand the number of times we were allowed to eat at burger joints. I had my first McDonalds cheeseburger when I was 15-and hated it.

    We wanted a snack? We got cucumbers with pepper and vinegar on them, raw veggies, or a fruit smoothie. This how a growing body should be fueled. We need to teach children the value of fuelling their bodies with nutritionally sound meals before it’s too late.

  41. As for all the people arguing cost(especially the arguement about things have gotten more expensive, consider the fact I’m 21 my brother is 18), my mother feed three growing children with very high quality, nutritous foods for our entire lives-when only one of my parents was working. She encouraged us to be active(actually it was a requirement, we had to be riding a bike/playing soccer/baseball anything) for atleast an hour a day afterschool. These are FUN activites that most kids grow to have a passion for.

    Instead of getting that new gaming system- we got new hockey skates. When cable was cut off because my parents couldn’t afford the bill once- we didn’t care because we were too busy hiking in the Rockies with hiking sticks our Dad made us- a pretty cost effective way of ensuring his children stayed active. We were more devestated when our Mom drove over our skateboard in the driveway then we were when the Gameboy our Grandma had bought us broke.

    Children learn by example-set an example that includes a sound diet and being active rather then playing Xbox, and they’re sure to follow.

  42. I couldn’t agree more with most of the comments on this topic. My daughter is 8years old and can honestly knock out multiple stes of push-ups, pull-ups and a few other exercises we work with. I say this simply because when all the other shit is off the table even nutrition up to a point, it comes down to parents being parents and leading by example. My daughter comes out to the garage with me sometimes when I am lifting and just sits there and watches me and asks questions. Questions are alittle distracting but I know she’s only asking becuase she is curious. I welcome those questions becuase it allows me to spend time with her and also make her understand that the only thing stopping people are peoples excuses. My wife and I are both in fairly decent shape and we are proud that our daughter recognizes exercise as fun and healthy, which is why on her own sometimes I find her climbing my rope in the backyard for fun and doing push-ups. Sorry I got preachy but in the end parents need to step up and be parents and show there kids the world outside there house and teach there kids that health is the greatest singal gift they were given.

    Have a good day,
    Daniel Kimball

  43. I discussed this via email with my Mom and this is what I go back.

    Women who are poor are more likely to be overweight, and men who are wealthy are more likely to be overweight. Headscratcher, huh? You’d think poor men would fit in there as well, but it does not seem to work that way … my only guess on that would be perhaps that they tend to work labor intense jobs. Wealthier women do appear to take better care of themselves. I haven’t seen family income stats on obesity in children.

    The other thing that is interesting is that this is the very lesson we are trying to teach our women. We generally feed them for well under $2 per person, most often around the $1.15 mark per person for a healthy lunch which includes milk. We always have vegetables, fruit, a protein source, and a grain source. It comes down to shopping wisely. I don’t think we are even teaching them enough about shopping economically. We used to do a session about shopping dollar wise every few months but we haven’t done one in years. It is interesting that so many of them seem to be able to find money for cigarettes …

  44. Low income is no excuse for buying junk. I’m not sure where the idea that ‘fast food is cheap food’ comes from – that might be the case in the States, but I doubt it considering your supermarket chains are even bigger than ours (the UK). You can buy enough to feed four family members a good round meal of ‘meat & two veg’ for under five pounds here – about ten dollars. It costs more (or about the same at certain places) to buy a family meal at KFC or McDonalds. To the guy who said ‘the ignorance thing is bullshit’ – the majority of people know that a burger is worse for them than a stick of celery, but how many people know how to cook a family meal properly? It’s a lot easier to just go out and make Burger King cook it for you. And if you work a shitty full-time job it takes a fair bit of effort to get home and oook your kids a healthy dinner. Education needs to come in the form of ‘how to make cheap, easy, healthy meals – here’s a step-by-step guide’ not ‘these foods are healthy; you work out the rest!’ It’s not patronising – it’s just that many people never get taken through basic cooking by their parents/schools and need to learn it later in life. (Great site btw!)

  45. I agree, the economy isn’t really an excuse, to be honest, it probally is cheaper to feed them unhealthy food, but even so, a good healthy meal would only cost a tiny bit more, and even if you have 3-4 bad meals a week, and then 3-4 good meals a week, the kids shouldn’t be obese. Even with 7 bad meals a week they won’t be obese, the only way they can be obese is if they snack too much or eat big meals, either way is no excuse since cutting down on meal size and snacks can easily save money.

  46. Look for Professor Robert Lustig’s lectures on sugar. Sugar may not be the only reason for obesity, but then again, it -may- be: Fat satisfies the appetite without overeating, UNLESS it’s mixed with sugar. Even real fruit juice is fattening, so parents often -think- they’re doing the -right- thing, while -fattening- their kids. This is a tough realization: KIDS SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN JUICE! They should drink water or milk, -only-, and -eat- fruit. Blaming the obese, or their parents, doesn’t help : Wrong choices are omnipresent, too-affordably on the shelves & in millions of dollars of ad campains. The less educated have no way of comprehending what’s happening to them. Sadly: Advertising IS their education.

  47. Did anybody consider the fact that buying kids the xbox, wii and the other gaming systems cost quite a bit of money which could have been used for feeding the kids healthy food? If you have the money to buy your kids gaming consols and the games then you definitely have the money to feed them healthy food. The economy is getting worse, kids are getting obease and people are complaining that they don’t have any money to buy healthy food. Yet people somehow manage to buy junk food and snacks which almost cost the same amount as three healthy meals. Is there something wrong with this picture?

  48. I must say that I am extremely intrigued by this conversation. I think everyone has a valid point and I just want to shove my 2 cents in….As a mother, business owner, and personal trainer:
    1. mothers ARE different in 2010 than they were in 1910. They HAVE to be. They usually need to work to help support they family leaving very little time to devot to their children and family needs, ie, healthy cooking and exercise.
    2. It is EASIER and lower stress for SOME mothers to plop their child in front of the Wii or what have you instead of sit and READ to them or play outside.
    3. PRIORITIES are the key to life. Some systems differ greatly from what we on here consider priority numero uno; HEALTH. Instead of spending money on healthy foods and exercise, they spend money on cars, games for their Wii and what not, and on clothing and shoes and hair and beer and smokes….I will stop there.

    Parents need to start taking responsibility for their own children. I have started my own training business that focuses on children; teaching group classes to parents WITH their children and teaching the kids and the parents how to work together. They are VERY successful. Unfortunatly I live in a very welathy area and most are stay at home moms that workout all the time and tan and whatnot…BUT, they do NOT spend quality time with their kids which is part of my focus.

    There are plenty of healthy snacks that we can feed our children. Schools need to get on board as well as offer more and maybe ONLY healthy foods to our children in school to set them in the right path.

    It really comes down to the priorities and what is easiest, not what is the best…..

  49. Ross, AWESOME my friend…absolutely awesome. As a father of a sweet 3 year old baby girl it is conforting to know that there are other sane, like minded,indivuals out there who believe in good ol’ fashion common sence!!! For a minute I was starting to believe that I was the only one out there. This problem starts with lazy parents and filters down to their children, it disgusting to say the least. Keep up the good work maybe one day we can get together and start a revolution!!! 🙂

    P.S. Love the workouts…F#$%in’ AWESOME!!!

  50. Re: “Buying a pizza pie at 10 bucks for a family of 4 is cheaper than feeding each person separately with healthy alternatives.”

    Beans, rice, and potatoes don’t cost that much. Neither does chicken. I agree that organic fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but non-organic fruits and vegetables are affordable.

    I think people just like the convenience and taste of fast food.

  51. I take issue with the whole thing Ross. First off, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Africans and many Hispanics tend to be more massive naturally in lean tissue. This has been pointed out by many of these communities when they are denied such things as health care based on their supposedly high risk factors.

    On top of this, the definition of obesity used is highly suspect. As an athlete are you obese? I am — at roughly 7.5% body fat, simply because my BMI is slightly above 25. The definitions used have varied considerably in the last 20 years and am uptick in the national fatness index usually means some bureau someplace redefined it. The baseline for “normal” is gradually devolving to middle-aged, highly sedentary office workers. This should be resisted, especially by athletes who have pretty outrageous nutritional requirements at times.

    Poverty does not cause obesity. This is pretty much claptrap — go ask anyone, any place else on earth about how fat the poor are and they’ll look at you like you are a Martian. If food has gotten cheaper in the US it is precisely because market forces have kicked in and made it so, meaning low price reflects demand. This is the first time in human history that famine is not a normal part of life. It does take a bit more work to eat healthy at times when there are far too many choices, but who do you know will own up to being an idiot about eating? Most people will tell you they (and they alone maybe) try very hard. The ones I know who fail generally are either relatively new to living independently (as in fresh out of High School) or are trying to follow nutritional guidelines that are highly questionable. (For instance, an all vegan diet that ends up having far too many calories to get basic nutrition.)

    As I see it, people are mostly unhealthy because they are very inactive physically. There is *no* good solution to this, short of forced labor. A services-based economy and lots of machines give us the free time to do whatever we want (this is why I have time to head to the gym and visit with my family. How ’bout you?) and for some people that means watching TV or playing wii all night. ok. Readjusting nutritional guidelines to accept high levels of inactivity as normal, then trying to fix the health issues they cause is really, IMHO, the issue. No animal evolved to be sedentary. Obesity statistics just reflect bureaucratic shenanigans trying to support this and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

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