The First Lady has penned a piece for Newsweek explaining why she’s opted to use her platform to combat childhood obesity. Particularly among Black Americans, both children and adults are disproportionately likely to be overweight or obese, and to be affected by the health problems that frequently result from that. To learn more about Mrs. Obama’s campaign for healthier living, click here. – NewsOne Staff
For years, we’ve known about the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. We’ve heard the statistics—how one third of all kids in this country are either overweight or obese. We’ve seen the effects on how our kids feel, and how they feel about themselves. And we know the risks to their health and to our economy—the billions of dollars we spend each year treating obesity-related conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
But we also know that it wasn’t always like this. Back when many of us were growing up, we led lives that kept most of us at a pretty healthy weight. We walked to school every day, ran around at recess and gym and for hours before dinner, and ate home-cooked meals that always seemed to have a vegetable on the plate.
Text continues after gallery …
For many kids today, those walks to school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Afternoons playing outside have been replaced with afternoons inside with TV, videogames, and the Internet. And with many parents working longer hours, or multiple jobs, they don’t have time for family meals around the table anymore.
It’s now clear that between the pressures of today’s economy and the breakneck pace of modern life, the well-being of our kids has too often gotten lost in the shuffle.
And let’s be honest with ourselves: our kids didn’t do this to themselves. Our kids don’t decide what’s served in the school cafeteria or whether there’s time for gym class or recess. Our kids don’t choose to make food products with tons of sugar and sodium in supersize portions, and then have those products marketed to them everywhere they turn. And no matter how much they beg for fast food and candy, our kids shouldn’t be the ones calling the shots at dinnertime. We’re in charge. We make these decisions.