Fries on the side?

The issue of obesity is not going away any time soon.

Left unchecked, the generation of youngsters now enrolled in public school are at risk of dying at a younger age than their parents and grandparents.

There are many reasons for that change in health. The old cliché about a hard day’s work not hurting anyone might be an axiom well worth putting into effect again.

Of course the labours of a typical family are vastly different than the ones of our own youth. Rugs are no longer beaten, few barns are still forked out by hand, few people cut their lawn with a reel mower and fewer yet walk to where they need to go.

Sports are organized to the point of people taking more time to get to the event than actually playing. Many families have such a tight rein on their kids that the play times of old, where adventure and spending the day outside, are only a memory.

Today children are served pre-cooked, processed food laden with sugars, salts and  preservatives, as well as many other chemicals, because mom and dad are in a rush. Often restaurant meals or fast-food are purchased to make the best use of time in busy schedules. For some, the cheap price today is alluring compared to a well balanced meal when all those costs are added up.

The issue of safety in neighbourhoods has also had a negative impact on rambunctious youngsters burning up calories just by having fun. Video games of every size and sort babysit kids indoors, free from the perils of strangers, but they are missing fresh air and exercise. It is odd to think that keeping kids safely inside might be doing them more harm than good.

There is also the very real issue of parents themselves failing to lead by example. The incorporation of fruits and vegetables into a healthy meal is difficult to push on youngsters when dad, for example, sticks to a big steak and a big baked potato rather than incorporating some vegetables in his dinner mix. The sweets too, those great desserts and candies, have a way of sneaking up on kids who acquire the taste for them at a young age.

It is up to all of us to demonstrate moderation in order to have a healthy, happy and lengthy life. In fact, we wonder if part of the answer includes a return to home economics classes – where health and nutrition were given a more practical face for students.