Throughout the years, I have been lucky enough to do a lot of “different” things in this field. One of them was teaching. Yes, I was a teacher of high school and college sports medicine classes for years. I did this in conjunction with the training and coaching.
Recently, there has been a lot on the news about obesity and some very disturbing stories have made the news about kids, as young as 7 years old, being trapped inside of a 200-400 pound bodies. http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3715231http://www.flicklife.com/view_video.php?viewkey=02887dfbe55ebb2b64ba
Most people are shocked when they see stories like this and to be honest, I am a little, but not much. You see, when I taught my sports medicine classes, I always did a unit on nutrition. Part of the unit involved each member of the class writing down everything they eat and drink in a seven-day period, leaving nothing out. I called this their diet log. The intent was for them to actually see, on paper how unbalanced their diet really was.
The first year that I did this project, I was truly shocked. Each year after, I became desensitized to these diet logs. Equally as bad, or even worse each year, the diets did not shock me much anymore and that is why I was not overly shocked when I saw some of the stories about obese children anymore. If my classes were any indication of the nation wide trend of diets, it’s a wonder to me how more kids are not morbidly obese.
I kept some of those diets and recently dug around for them. Here is a one day sample of the typical teenage diet from just last year. Mind you, in my 9 years of teaching, diets like the one below are the norm that I see, not the exception.
7:00 am– Mountain Dew – 16 oz.
8:00am – Mountain Dew – 16 oz. , French toast bites with butter and syrup 10:00 – Pepsi, chips from the vending machine, bag of skittles
12:00 – 2 mountain dews, 2 slices of pizza with pepperoni, 3 small things of ranch dressing (pizza dipped into), 2 boxes of French fries, 2 Kit Kat bars
1:30 pm – Pepsi- 16 oz.,
2:30 pm – mountain dew, bag of skittles, 6:00 pm – 3 hot dogs with ketchup and bun, French fries, 2 glasses of lemonade, handful of M –n- M’s
9:00 pm – bowl of chocolate ice cream, handful of M –n- M’s,
The rest of the week was just as bad or worse. The sheer amount of sugar in one day is mind-boggling, not to mention the fat intake in that 24-hour period. You can analyze the day yourself and come up with eight more things that need to change. What I found in my years of doing this is that most kids eat what is around them. If there is a vending machine that sells soda, that is what they will drink.
Before my departure from the school system last year, I was happy to find out that most schools have implemented a major change in their vending machines and cafeteria foods. Schools can no longer sell soda on campus. Schools can no longer sell “junk food” on campus. School cafeterias must sell “healthier” foods. French fries are out, only to be replaced by baked potato wedges. Although not perfect and still major room for improvement, I think it is a huge step in the right direction.
If my student above only had no way of getting Mountain Dew’s and Pepsi’s all day and had no more ranch dressing, or fried food at lunch, his daily intake of that crap would be lessened significantly. Sure, kids can bring whatever they want to school and eat it, but most do not. Make it convenient and they will eat it. Make it inconvenient, and they will not eat it most times.
This article http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=66872 shows that
Britain might make it illegal for TV to market junk food towards children. Looks like things are finally getting serious in the battle of obese children and I for one think it is about time. It looks like even Shaq is getting involved in the fight. http://www.playfuls.com/news_0000008571_Shaq_Attacks_Childhood_Obesity.html