Hectic lifestyles and the wonders of computer technology are here to
stay. Fitting a decent meal into our schedule may seem impossible, so
can making room for fresh air and exercise. Such trends can spell big
trouble especially for the very young.
An era of fast food and video games has spawned a new generation of
overweight kids, whose play and eating habits are altogether different
than the youngsters of bygone days.
“It used to be that kids maybe had one soda every week or every two
weeks and now they’re having up to two sodas a day, and it’s just too
much.” Doctor Chris Madson is with the weight clinic at UCSF Medical
Center, and points out that 15% of kids today are considered overweight
or obese. But it jumps to 30% among poor families who can’t afford fresh
produce or can’t get to a large supermarket that offers it.
Much of the weight problem can be explained by simple inactivity.
“They’re not necessarily walking to school, they don’t have Physical
Education to the extent that they used to, and they’re watching more
TV not only keeps kids on the couch, it can lead to a bad diet. “The
problem is that what kids see on television is almost all junk food, in
fact there’s almost no nutritional food that’s advertised on TV.”
She says kids often spend a great deal of time in the care of a
grandparent or other relative. “And of course they want to feed our
grandchildren and our nieces and our nephews. You’re putting these
children at increased risk for medical illnesses that are significant
like diabetes and high blood pressure.”