This is the fourth year September has been designated Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. I’m not sure too many people know this though. As for me, I’ve had a hard time getting media attention for this topic. It seems we still have a lot of studies, statistics, and thoughts about childhood obesity but not a lot has changed. We have made progress in awareness of the food labeling, marketing ploys, and food-like substances our children eat but we are very slow to make the actual changes in our lifestyles to include grown, not manufactured foods as a mainstay of our diet. Why is that? What can be faster food than picking up an apple? What can be more thirst quenching than good cold water?
When I read the national statistics they are the same now as they were 4 years ago – about one third of our children are overweight or obese. I can guarantee you these children don’t want to be that way. As a society we have turned to manufactured foods more than grown foods. Our foods have more ingredients and chemicals, processes and formulations than any recipe needs. Their bodies were not meant to consume many of these ingredients. Once they are used to the over-sized portions and fake foods from a window we tell them they need to change the way they eat. The problem with this is what does that mean? What does that look like in their family? The details of how to make those changes are often times missing.
Losing weight and gaining health isn’t about doing without; it’s about making healthy exchanges. Our children still want good tasting, yummy food just like we adults do. We need to help them but that means as adults we need to set the example. Are you setting a good example in the way you eat, the way you move, and the way you approach life? If you are – great! I hope you help someone else do the same. If not, why? Let’s make an effort together this month to say no to fast food, processed and chemical laden foods and reach for fresh simple foods instead. We can do this! Experiment with simple recipes at home and new flavors, spices, and vegetables. Try it for a month and see how your family responds. Did you know it takes nine times of tasting a new food before we really know if we like it? We need to give it more than one taste.
COPE will begin offering LEAN workshops in November. These are fun, interactive nutrition based sessions to get you thinking about becoming more healthy as a family. We have sessions for parents of children, expectant and breastfeeding moms, and Prime-Timers – those of us in the second half of our life. We all have different needs in order to live our healthiest life. Our first class will be LEAN Essentials, a two hour interactive class where you will learn the basics as well as making your own healthy snack. You’ll take home simple curriculum with recipes and this class you can attend by yourself or bring your family. Attend our Open House September 28th from 10 am – Noon at 8511 Ferguson Ave #F in Savannah to find out more about classes and experience some sample classes. A little birdie told me all attendees of the Open House may just receive a free registration to the LEAN Essentials class in November. That’s a $60 value! Come see us Sept 28th and help us combat childhood obesity!