I think I am pretty special sometimes because I live in New York City. It is always on TV and movies, a center for culture and excitement, and a great vacation destination for my friends and family. Let's just say not as many people are clamoring for the dream vacation in Oklahoma City (which is very lovely) that I have tried to offer.
I was surprised to see that out of every 10 kids in NY 4 of them are overweight. WHAT? With all the walking and parks and farmer's markets, you'd think that NY kids would be thin as rails. Apparently the overweight epidemic isn't just for the Midwest. It is truly nationwide and it is ridiculous for us (mostly me) to assume that we would be healthy just because we walk everywhere. In fact, NY kids are actually a little fatter.
After I read this report on Medical News Today and this one on CBS New York, I started to look at the little kids in my neighborhood. I saw some chubby bellies, and it wasn't baby fat. I saw a huge line at my neighborhood McDonald's with plenty of kids inside. It made me sad.
I know that parents are struggling financially and that unhealthy foods are cheaper and fill their kid's tummies just as well as more expensive fair. I hate to say it, but the results of the studies were broken into socioeconomic categories: Poorer families have heavier kids. Families living in Corona Park, Queens (a large Latin community) had the heaviest kids, as well as Harlem and Washington Heights (another Latin community).
These families work longer hours for less pay. Their kids don't get to run around and play as much because the neighborhoods are not as safe. I wanted you to know that I am not making a sweeping generalization about these NY neighborhoods-- I checked out this crime map to see what kind of environment these children are growing up in. The richest neighborhoods have the most burglars and robbers and the poorer neighborhoods have the most shootings and assaults. Why go out and play when there is so much danger outside and video games inside?
Hopefully this means that schools will invest in more play and exercise programs. While we are waiting for that to happen, if ever, if you live around a Whole Foods Market they are sponsoring salad bars to be put into schools that are around their locations. If you shop there you can donate $1 or $5 when you check out until the end of September. Another brick in the wall of the Food Revolution! I hope Jamie Oliver would be proud.
Do you have any ideas on keeping kids fit and improving health education? Write 'em down below.