The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently published this graphic that illustrates a fundamental cause of disease and obesity in America.
Did you catch that the average US Restaurant meal has increased four times in size?
The report that came out with it revealed that 96% of the meals served in our chain restaurants exceed the USDA’s recommended limit for calories, fat and sodium.
With these facts alone, it shouldn’t be surprising that US adults today are 26 pounds heavier. The study didn’t look at children’s weight but it’s no secret that our food system has had an impact on the health of our youth as well.
Perhaps what is most upsetting to me is that 42% of us are expected to be obese in 20 years. That’s almost half of the population. Look around you. Between you and one friend, one of you will be obese. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like knowing that my child’s generation is going to face some pretty big problems – whether it’s their own health, or supporting the health of a diseased population.
How do we solve these problems?
It’s easy to simply say: eat real food, exercise.
But let’s get real. The very best of us slip up from time to time, and some of us more than others. We face challenges that get in our way. We get into bad routines and habits that are difficult to reverse. We don’t have all of the necessary resources, knowledge or skills. Or willpower.
And we go grocery shopping which can be a frustrating experience for many. There are so many competing messages from food manufactures, and the healthy foods (those fresh foods around the perimeter of the store) don’t have big corporate budgets to promote themselves. Fruits and vegetables rarely come with instructions and take time to prepare.
What is the answer? I don’t know. I have some ideas. This isn’t an easy problem to solve.
Here’s what I believe:
We need to take responsibility for ourselves and the little people we chose to bring into this world.
We need to provide healthy, real food and teach our children how to make good choices.
Even as I write this I realize that this sounds over-simplistic and potentially naive. I don’t see the world through a rosy lens but we have to drill down to get to the root of the issues. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.
I also believe that we have much more influence that we realize when it comes to changing our food system. Each and every day we tell grocery stores and food manufacturers what we want to buy when we shop and buy their goods. Maybe we need to take a look in our pantry to see what we’re voting for.
The health of America is alarming, and it’s only going to get worse if we sit on our couch and do nothing. I started this site to hopefully encourage and inspire a few parents who want to raise healthy kids. If we all take some action, even if it’s just with our own children, we can make change happen.
I promise. If I didn’t believe in us, I wouldn’t have started this journey.