President Obama and Good Intentions

Written by Litsa Bolontzakis on. Posted in My thoughts

litsa-bolontzakis

President Obama has designated September 2011 as the first “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.”Childhood obesity has become a national issue for Americans, and with good reason: Obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Statistics show that one in five children between the ages of 6 and 11 are now considered obese.

Why are our children obese?

Our lifestyles have changed, family responsibilities have changed, and mothers have joined the work force to add to the family income. But taking care of a family and providing nutritious meals is a project in itself – planning, shopping, and cooking require time and energy. A working mother is understandably tired.By entering the work force, mothers have less time to plan and cook meals. The solution appears simple: fast food. Fast food is very often the easiest and, at the same time, the most affordable way to feed a family, especially when hunger strikes – that’s when we eat first and consider the consequences later.

The fact is that fast food is full of sugar, trans fats, and rancid Omega 6 fats that clog our cell walls and our arteries, not allowing the proper removal of toxins from our bodies. Not to mention that most fast foods contain chemicals that should be avoided by all means…but that’s a subject for another day.Families eat outside the home 50% of the time. The fast food industry is very well aware of that fact – that’s why they spend tens of billions of dollars annually on their advertising campaigns. They never stop running their ads. Why? Because they work.What are the chances we and the Obamas have against the billions of dollars the fast food industry spends to reach the hearts of our children? How can a tired mother win?

Also, consider the “super sizing” of portions: The whole world makes fun of American portions. They are so big it’s no wonder we have obese children and obese adults, but no one is complaining about portion size. We’d rather throw away good food than complain.Inactivity and big cities add to the problem.

Children don’t walk to school any more, because fear and distance make that impossible, and that contributes to obesity.What is the solution?

Like I say, time and again, we can’t change the world, but we can consistently make little changes every day for our families. It is time, for the better health of our children, to leave our comfort zones, try one new thing a week, and start building on it. Plan ahead for weekly meals, have your list ready, and always cook a little extra, keeping in mind healthy lunches for the kids. Cook with fresh and seasonal ingredients, which have so much more flavor and are more reasonably priced.Take advantage of the four seasons and enjoy nature. Take long walks with the children; get them away from all the digital toys and let your spirits go! Pay attention to the natural gifts that are all around us; take deep breaths, fill your lungs with oxygen, and teach your children to do the same. Spend time with your kids now, because if you think you can put that off and do it later, think again – time goes by quickly, and before you realize it, they are teenagers and on their way

The President and Mrs. Obama mean well and try their best, especially because they are parents, but we have to do our best for our children, too, to win against the crisis named obesity.

Litsa With Love!

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Litsa Bolontzakis

Litsa Bolontzakis

Children's book and cookbook author Litsa Bolontzakis is an expert on Greek cooking and that culture's easy, simple way of life. Her desire is to help other families learn from her culture how to appreciate the simple things in life and grow to enjoy the seasons and the gifts they bring.

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