Saturday, June 25, 2011

Childhood Obesity is still rising, Vegetable Gardens are dying and Media is thriving

I was in line to check out at the hospital cafeteria the other day and I overheard a child, of at least the age of 10, ask his mother "what's zucchini?". I saw the child, overweight, holding a plate full of pizza and wondered "does he know what vegetables are?". The whole thing reminded me of the brief excerpt I saw of this show.

I think there are several areas where we are lacking. To start, I think the home garden is dying. Very few people garden anymore. It's a lost art and even fewer children are being exposed to a vegetable garden. I know that many communities ban vegetable gardens all together. Such a shame. Why not promote it in a designated area with a designated responsible person? If you're worried about the maintenance of it.

Then, of course, there is the home itself. If parents don't know it or practice it themselves then the children won't either.

We are on the heels of a change to the food pyramid, yet again. It seems like it changed only a few years ago. The agriculture of America as a business has a lot of influence on government including nutritional recommendations. So any changes are difficult to occur but slowly and surely they are. Maybe you're even asking, "Is it really necessary? Who cares about the food pyramid?". Well, yes, it really is necessary if children aren't aware of what vegetables are. I think it's going to take alot more than just changing the concept of the food pyramid.

It takes more than just removing soda machines from schools to affect a change in children's eating habits and preventing type 2 diabetes. Many schools are revamping their entire cafeteria menu. I remember lunch in school. In elementary school it was a brown bag and your parents ordered your milk by the semester. You got in line for milk and then sat down to your meal. Then when I went to public high school the cafeteria had pizza and fries and candy/snacks/vending. I saw some vegetables. They were usually overcooked, soggy, limp and soaked in but I don't recall ever seeing a salad except maybe a side salad with iceburg lettuce and carrot slivers.

In this day and age, indoor activities are growing like wildfire and outdoor activities are just the same. It seems like parents must battle the latest gaming system to get their kids out and about. The Media in general, computers, tv, game systems........ are far and away the number 1 activities of children above any physical activities. Here's an article from NPR Pediatricians Recommend a Media Diet for Kids to Fight Obesity.

If I had the place to garden I would and I fully intend on having a vegetable garden when I settle somewhere. Do you garden? Do you know many people who do? Ask a child about vegetables or where some of their favorite foods come from and see what your answers are. Do you know of any schools that have a garden? I know many children don't like vegetables but does that mean we have to promote that among them? There's no reason they can't have the knowledge and exposure.


  1. Good topic Travel Nurse.

    My wife and I were just talking about how kids these days are just not as in shape as in previous decades. The talk started after we watched the 10 year olds on our older son's soccer team tire out after 2 periods. The two kids who we know spend lots of time running and busy with sports (our son included) were still running, but everyone else could not be prodded to more than a walk. It was sad, and I think it relates to too much video gaming instead of physical activity. It is a matter of parental involvement and lifestyle changes.

    I have to admit that our garden has been bad the past few years (since the twins were born). This year we just have tomatoes and pumpkins, but we visited a neighbors and were rewarded with cucumbers and squash.

  2. I love getting fresh veggies from someone's garden. Bravo, to you for having a garden at all.

  3. Boy, that video clip is shocking. My kids would recognize tomatoes, but to be fair, that would probably yell, "YUCK! TOMATOES!" Yes, we garden up here in Alaska. Our summers—and our fresh fruits and veggies—are precious!