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Michelle Obama is right on time with her mission to eradicate childhood obesity by the next generation. Unfortunately though, childhood obesity isn't a new problem. Childhood obesity has been on the rise for many years and I can vividly remember a marker in this epidemic.
I was an up and coming executive in a large health care organization in the mid-90s. During one of my meetings with a group of pediatricians the group was particularly concerned about an increased number of children being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. They asked me, "Valerie, what are we going to do about this situation." I responded, "We need to help the children, but we can't do it unless the parents are on board." We discussed the issue further but unfortunately, competing priorities sent us in another direction and we secretly hoped the problem would resolve itself.
Fast forward, ten years and now childhood obesity is at an all time high. The statistics are grim: when Michelle Obama announced her "Let's Move" Initiative; nearly one in three children were overweight and obese. In fact, if you look around you, kids are just bigger than they used to be. Of course, food portions are a lot bigger too so it's no wonder that our kids are suffering. Soda is also a major culprit in the childhood obesity epidemic.
So let's stop asking ourselves the question, "How did this happen?" Childhood obesity happened because we stopped sending our kids outside to play; we stopped watching their food intake; we focused more on education and not on physical activity. Of course, we can blame the parents, the schools, and the fast-food restaurants but the reality is that we're all responsible to some extent. So whether you're a mom, grandmother, teacher, or friend of an overweight or obese child, you have to do something. Wherever you are in this journey, I'll help you make a healthy difference in the life of a child.