No matter what your political stance, there is no denying the obesity issue in the United States.
For all of the organic and locally sourced options, we have today, there will always be a trans-fat laden and heavily processed counterpart.
A recent article brought attention to how obesity is becoming an issue of national security. It also highlights how it is something that can be prevented if the right habits are taught to children early on.
A couple of facts that I found to be downright absurd:
- Nearly one in three young adults, ages 17 to 24, is too heavy to serve in the military
- There has been a 61 percent increase in obesity among active-duty service members since 2002
- There is more than $1.5 billion spent annually to treat obesity-related health issues and replace those discharged for no longer being fit to serve
There will never be a simple solution to obesity, but school cafeterias might just be the place to start as children consume up to half of their daily calories at school. Studies have shown that when children have more nutritious options offered to them, they are more likely to make a wiser decision.
Because of this, hundreds of retired admirals and generals came together and joined Mission: Readiness, a group that strongly supports the 2010 Child Nutrition Act. The idea behind both causes is to improve the meals and snacks offered in schools by increasing access to more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Let’s Move! started by Michelle Obama, kicked off the nation’s focus on kid’s nutrition. Combined with making healthy lunches in schools more affordable, it also aims to put children on the right path during their formative years, and help them become more physically active.
Public reception to these causes is overwhelmingly positive. The Department of Agriculture reports that 90 percent of America’s schools have decided to serve healthier options—pleasing both students and parents.
Few argue that it is the guardian’s responsibility to provide children with the knowledge necessary to live a healthy life, but there are still plenty of things that our elected officials, schools, community-based organizations, and us as individuals, can do to help instill the importance of healthy habits in America’s youth.