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Posted on 09-06-2011

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, published a shocking report this week concluding that over half of Americans will be clinically obese by the year 2030.  The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as a person having a BMI, or body mass index, of 30 or higher.  A person's BMI is correlated with their amount of body fat. 

The report stated that not only will there be huge health consequences, but also worsen the burden of health care on our economy.  Obesity has been clinically proven to have direct associations between many life-threatening conditions including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, cancer, and stroke.  The current cost of obesity alone in the United States is $270 billion a year. 

Most importantly, being obese and battling diseases for the rest of your life can steal you and your family of the most amazing quality of life that you deserve. 

Most schools offer two options for lunch: a lunch the school provides or one that you provide.  Nearly 32 million children participate in a school lunch program every day.  This year the USDA is beginning to implement better nutrition in school lunch programs, but it is going to take years before schools are ready to begin serving healthy options that you want your children to eat.  The change follows the coat tails of a recent study that proved 25 million children are obese or overweight!  Statistics show that children consume anywhere from 30 - 50% of their calories while at school and the healthy options that many children have access to in their home refrigerators are not available to them at school.1  By them time these standards are in place your child will most likely no longer be in school!

While the United States government is starting to be more proactive in providing our children with more nutrients, it is clear that the healthier option involves packing a lunch from home.  Most school lunches are prepackaged, full of preservatives and artificial flavorings, and are heavy on carbohydrates and sugars.  The CDC states that one in three children are considered overweight or obese.2 Over 80% of obese children will be obese as an adult, which increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The best way to control your child's food consumption at school is to send them with fun, nutritious lunches that they won't want to trade with their friends for the pre-packaged hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries.  Below are some ideas of foods that are easy to pack, hold well until lunch, and are fun for the children:

  • Any fruit or vegetable dehydrated into chips
  • Raw vegetable sticks with homemade ranch dressing from Maximized Living Nutrition Plan's book
  • Raw almond butter or valencia peanut butter with granny smith apple slices or celery sticks
  • Organic cheese sticks
  • Lettuce wraps with nitrate free deli meat and cheese
  • Whole grain, sprouted bread sandwiches cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters
  • Any type of raw nuts or seeds
  • Kale chips
  • Granola
  • Unsweetened apple sauce

You can even make your own lunch packs, where kids can assemble their own food.  Gluten free seed crackers go well with nitrate free deli meat and raw cheese.  Kids can make their own pizzas by pre-making the flax seed pizza crust in the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book.  Pack the crust, some homemade sugar-free pizza sauce, raw shredded cheese, and vegetable toppings in separate containers so they can assemble it there. 

A pre-made smoothie frozen over night is just the right consistency around lunch time. Smoothies are excellent because you can disguise nutrients with berries and other fruits.  Try throwing in a handful of spinach next time, and they won't even know the difference!  

Fun desserts include fresh made fruit salad, dark chocolate, avocado chocolate pudding, black bean brownies, almond cookies, and homemade sugar-free coconut macaroons.  Check out the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book and http://MaximizedLiving.com for more easy and delicious recipes.

Just as important as what our children eat is the amount of physical activity they engage in during the day.  Do not count on gym class in your school district as a form of physical activity because gym class is not what it used to be.  Over the past ten years the amount of high school students in gym enrolled in daily gym classes has decreased from 42 to 29%!  As many as 50% of all students and 75% of all high school students are not enrolled in any gym classes at all!3  With these statistics as high as they are your child is just not getting the physical activity at school that you did when you were in school.  Exercise is an essential of health and if the school system is not going to ensure that your child is going to get the proper amount of physical activity, you must.  Start your family's day off with a work out, go for a family bike ride or run, swim at your local Y, join Crossfit (crossfitredding.com), or enroll your children in extracurricular activities, such as sports.

Make sure your child's health does not get left behind this year.  Bring them in this month for a complimentary evaluation to be sure they are as healthy as they can be.  Call WellnessOne at 243-9464 today!

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[1] USDA calls for dramatic change in school lunches.  Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY. 
    http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/food/diet-nutrition/2011-01-12-schoollunch13_ST_N.htm
[2] http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html
[3] Decline of Physical Activity.  Ted Villaire.  National PTA.
    http://www.pta.org/topic_decline_of_physical_activity.asp

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