Expert Commentary...What Makes Kids Fat?

So what makes kids fat? It's the way we live. With Valentine's Day tomorrow, watch the children respond to treats and see what makes fat kids fat.

Children are "experiencers" and when the only thing left to experience is food, they're going to do just that – over and over and over again until the candy box is empty not to mention the chip bag, the donut box and the cereal carton.

At the same time, outdoor play has become dull. Kids don't know what to do outdoors because they are so accustomed to having things done for them. Games are set up in teams that play each other – and that's recreation. At home, five year old children are still taken care of like infants, so the very idea that they would have to actually find something to "do" is a bit daunting.

"Do what?" they ask.

"I don't know," replies the adult. "Run around."

"Around what?

"The yard."


What we forget is that children run with other children, and in today's world, other children are at day care and school and that's where they run – not at home. But home is where the food is, where they sleep, do their homework, watch TV, hang their clothes and get ready for the next marathon day. Home is not where they spend most of their time. Home is like ollie, ollie oxen free and we don't run there.

So why are kids fat? It's the way we live. Let's go into yesteryear for just a moment. Years ago we came home from school, a school that had recess in the morning, at lunch and then in the afternoon. We walked home from school or at least from the bus stop. We had a quick snack of half a peanut butter sandwich or an apple, and then we went out to play until dinner. We worked off dinner before we ate it.

Most children sat down to a table of something mostly home cooked, and there was milk to drink. After dinner, it was homework time, and maybe a half hour of TV and then it was bath and bed. Ten hours later, we woke up to start another day.

Let’s modernize the picture: Schools have fifteen minutes of recess total – maybe. Children sit at least seven hours a day. They are picked up in a car from school or ride the bus where they are either picked up in a car or arrive at their destination. Snack is a bag of  chips and a soda. And today children don’t go out to play, they stay in to play and they sit again eating another bag of chips and unlimited soda.

Dinner time is fast food or something pre-made and unbalanced with a thousand calories. Soda is the usual accompanying drink. Children stay up to adult hours sitting again watching TV and followed by maybe seven hours of sleep until they drag out of bed to start another marathon day.

Well, things have changed and kids are fat. So what do we do about that?

Try this for a month: Eliminate all sweet drinks including fruit juice. A tall glass of orange juice contains the juice of about twelve oranges. Few people eat twelve oranges at a sitting, but few would think anything of drinking a ten ounce glass of juice.

The very nature of drinking is to quickly ingest multiple calories, and children will drink juice like soda or water taking in hundreds of calories simply because it's not water. Try drinking only milk at meals and water between meals for a month. Sweet drinks stimulate a child's palate for other sweets.

Remember – parents buy the food. If you don't buy it; they can't eat it, so watch the amount of empty calorie food bought and brought into the house.

After Valentine's Day and the bean feast, begin to think natural: a whole bag of apples costs less than a big bag of chips. Peanuts are a better snack than chips, and ice cream is better than snack cakes. A sandwich is better than a fast burger.