Childhood Obesity: A Growing Problem (cont.)
PE is being cut more and more every year, and my kids are not competitive and not skilled enough to play on a team (teams around here are very competitive and really select; if you aren't good, you sit on the bench which does no one any good).
What can we do to encourage our kids to be more physically active? We already restrict television viewing to one program a day. Can you suggest specific activities?
Do it together and you will enjoy a bonding you never dreamed possible."
MEMBER QUESTION: I'm not a good eater. I don't eat fruits and veggies. What can I do?
Just don't give the fruits to the child one, two, or three times; give them 15 times. Don't give up; don't let them be picky. Eat the fruits and veggies yourselves so, again, the children can follow your example.
Keep trying until you find something you like; there is such variety, there is bound to be something you'll enjoy.
There's a whole controversy of the school lunch program and vending machines. Some people feel that the vending machines in schools and the school lunch programs are the cause of American children obesity. I can safely say you could take all the vending machines in schools and drop them to the bottom of the ocean and it would not have one impact or effect on the obesity problem. What we need to do is put better products into the machines, and educate and motivate the children to select the products. That's the only way we'll resolve the problem.
You might say the kids won't select these foods. A study published recently in Great Britain took 12 schools and took all the candy, snacks, and soft drinks out of the vending machines and replaced them with 100% juices, milk, flavored milk drinks, and water. They followed the children for six months. Only two schools lost money, two schools made the most money they'd ever made, and the others at least broke even or made money. An example occurred in a school in White Fish, MT. The principal was concerned about what the kids were getting in the vending machine. He decided on his own he would eliminate pop and candy and replace it with 100% juices and fruit. For the first couple of weeks the children rebelled to the highest, but now they're selling more than they ever sold. If the children don't have a choice, they can learn, they can adjust, and they'll be better for it.
I'm convinced children are more receptive now for the need to do something in changing their diets, selecting better foods, and increasing their physical activity than they've ever been before. I think that we as professionals have a window of opportunity to fill that need that's not going to remain open very long. That's why, for the last two and a half years, I've been consulting with the fast-food industry, primarily PepsiCo and their subsidiaries of Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Gatorade, Aquafina, and primarily Frito-Lay products. I'm happy to say we've now established a new standard.
For example, the new Baked Lay's potato chips have been improved to the extent that per 1-ounce serving, the calories have dropped from 150 down to 110; fat has been taken from 10 grams to 1.5 grams. The saturated fat has been taken from 3 down to none. All trans fats have been reduced completely, and the sodium from 180 milligrams down to 160 milligrams. A total of nine different products have been modified, but all of the trans fats, which without question is the worst fat anyone can consume, have now been eliminated from all Frito-Lay products. They're the first company to do that. As a result, 55 million pounds of trans fats will be removed from the American diet over the next 12 months. It cost Frito-Lay $37 million to retool and take out the trans fats. They did that without increasing the price of the product.
Other companies are beginning to follow the example of Frito-Lay, because the American people are demanding it. My hope is the American children will be leading the way.
Dr. Cooper, we are almost out of time. Do you have any final words for us?
I want to thank the members of the audience who give me an opportunity to convey information to them that is so important. We will never resolve the obesity problem in America, which could bankrupt us in the not-too-distant future, by relying on physicians, the government, or our teachers. We must accept the fact this is a personal responsibility.
I challenge Americans to take an inventory: Are you overweight? Do you know your body mass index? I gave you guidelines earlier: Body weight multiplied by 703 divided by your height by inches squared. Does its meet the criteria for children 2 to 20, or what about adults? If it's over 25, you're overweight; above 30, you're obese. If you are overweight according to those standards, lose weight. Here's how: