What's really making our kids fat?
I think it's an important and logical step in the sluggish efforts to combat astonishingly prevalent obesity among children and adults. Surely in our educational institutions we should be setting a good example, right?
But I got some feedback on Twitter this weekend that got me thinking a little differently about where the problem really lies.
I haven't had a chance to verify this, but one person said that it's schools in affluent areas that sell the most junk from vending machines and unhealthy cafeterias, and yet it's not those kids who are obese. It's the kids who eat junky foods because their parents can't afford anything better who get fat, and it's not because they're buying pop at school, she said.
Of course it's not news to any of us that there's a link between poverty and obesity. That's why community gardening programs and others that help put healthy foods in the hands of people with lesser means have been so successful.
It was on my mind Sunday when I hauled home a huge bag of winter vegetables - carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnip, beets, bok choy, onions, ginger, garlic. The cost - $16.10.
I was talking about the affordability and nutritional density of these mostly root veggies with the boys' father, and he challenged me to better understand the way my own education and good fortune arm me with the knowledge required to turn these cheap veggies into parsnip-potato pancakes, turnip-carrot-parsnip-apple soup, mashed yukon gold potatoes with horseradish, and pan-seared bok choy with ginger. (And that's just this weekend - my crisper is still full.)
I'm not working a second job. I know I'm fortunate to have the time to make these foods for my family. But the extent to which it may be a mystery to others how to plan and prepare healthy meals is something I hadn't considered fully. In future, I hope to better explore the initiatives and policies that really would help Canadian kids maintain healthy body mass, and would love to hear your thoughts.
What kind of healthy-eating programs would make a meaningful difference?