Curtailing obesity has to start with our kids

Curtailing obesity has to start with our kids

The Institute of Medicine has issued a report making recommendations on how to end the obesity epidemic.

A new report by the Institute of Medicine indicates that it will require more than one approach to curb the rising incidence of obesity in America.  The report focused mainly on how to end obesity in our young people, presumably because habits formed in youth stick with us for the rest of our lives.  It also talked about how the obesity epidemic is causing rises in other medical problems, such as heart disease and -- drum roll, folks -- type 2 diabetes.

One of the main points of the report is that schools need to be a major part of the push to reduce obesity in our country.  They need to ensure that kids are active for at least an hour every day, and they need to provide kids with nutrition education (and presumably more nutritious lunches in the cafeteria).  There is already some of that going on in schools, but not enough, obviously.

Other recommendations deal with other parts of life.  For instance, the report calls for fast-food restaurants to willingly provide nutritious, reasonably-priced kids meals so that families that eat a lot of fast food have some healthier, more appealing options for the kids.  If you thought rather cynically, "Yeah, like that will ever happen," I did too -- I don't think fast-food restaurants will ever make these changes (at least not any significant changes) without a ton of pressure and/or government regulations, and as long as people are still eating unhealthy foods, there won't be enough pressure to make them change.

Essentially, the report is calling for a major overhaul of all the various facets of our society.  The idea is to foster healthy ways of thinking about food and exercise in all parts of society.  It won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight, but I would say -- for this report to even happen -- that the process has already begun.  Many people nationwide are becoming more interested in eating better, and are avoiding unhealthy foods and restaurants in favor of more wholesome, organic choices.  I think the movement has a long ways to go before it produces the changes in our society that this report is calling for, but I actually believe that if our society has the presence of mind to call for these changes, then we are already on our way to making them!