Taking toys away from children may sound a little harsh but that’s exactly what San Francisco has just done by banning the Happy Meal Toy that our children have become so familiar with. San Francisco isn’t alone in thinking that this is a positive step forward in the fight against obesity. Neighboring Santa Clara made the same decision earlier in 2010. Supporters of this move say that the toys that accompany these meals reward children for choosing fast, fatty and non-nutritional foods. But there are plenty who say that this is a step too far from the ‘food police’.
Current statistics show that one in three American children is overweight. Mississippi currently tops the chart ranking the most obese states in the nation. 33.8% of people living in Mississippi are classified as obese, while a shocking 21.9% of the state’s children are also obese. With over 12 million children and teenagers classified as obese in America, this is literally a growing problem.
So what exactly does the term ‘Obese’ mean? Plainly put, obesity is the accumulation of body fat that has a detrimental effect on a person’s physical wellbeing. It leads to reduced life expectancy and increased health problems. Obesity is ‘measured’ by a calculation known as Body Mass Index (BMI) - dividing your weight by the square of your height. If your BMI score is over 30.0 you are considered to be obese.
18.6 - 24.9 Normal Weight
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - 34.9 Class I Obesity
35.0 - 39.9 Class II Obesity
>40.0 Class III Obesity
Children should be aware that eating fruit and vegetables is better than opting for a cheeseburger, fries and cola but has the message really got through to them? After all, it isn’t our children that do the weekly grocery shopping and they aren’t responsible for what is served up for them to eat. So who really is at fault here?
Despite growing media attention on our ever expanding waistlines, it seems that there are plenty of adults who still don’t understand the consequences of what and how much they eat.
- Did you know that if you simply change your plate size, from a 12" plate to a 10" one, you automatically reduce the amount you eat and it could result in eating 22% less food overall?
- Did you know that eating 2 apples a day counts as 120 calories while one bar of chocolate contains over 300 calories?
- By eating protein found in lean meat, fish, eggs & beans you will feel fuller for longer. It has been proved that a protein rich diet can help you 'switch off' your urge to eat, which helps you to manage your daily calorie intake.
- If you eat a low fat, high calcium diet (including milk, yogurt, cheese) you will help your body excrete fat rather than store it
- And, you continue to burn fat after you exercise, helping you lose weight while you sleep!
We seem to be unable to resist the lure of fast food or the addiction to over-eating. Perhaps we do need someone to take our toys away to make us sit up and pay attention. What do you think?