Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Why are our Children Fat?



A recent study examined whether our current problem with with overweight and obese children is a result of genetics or lifestyle.  Researchers at the U. of Michigan  surveyed 1000 obese six-graders.  The study was published in the American Heart Journal.

Here is what they found:

  • 58% of obese children had watched two hours of TV the day before compared with 41% of non-obese children.
  • 45% of obese kids always ate school lunch compared to only 34% of nonobese students.
  • Fewer obese kids exercised regularly, took P.E. classes or participated in sports.

Overall, all the students, both obese and non-obese had unhealthy habits.

  • More than 30% of them had consumed regular soda the day before the survey.
  • Less than one-half reported eating two servings of fruits and vegetables within the past 24 hours.
  • One third of them said they exercised for 30 minutes for 5 days in the previous week.

Bottom Line:  The results suggest that although genetics in some cases is a factor, it appears that lifestyle factors play a significant role in most.  It also could be a combination of the interaction between the two.  In future posts, emphasis will be on the school lunch aspect of this study.  How do our school lunches compare with those found in other countries?


2 thoughts on “Why are our Children Fat?

  1. Ditto: We played outside whenever possible (in a Northern climate). One of my students said her parents “locked them out of the house until it got dark”. Do you ever see kids playing outside anymore? Are parents afraid? Just saying.


  2. I 100% believe it is lifestyle. My diet was a wreck when I was a child too, but I went outside and played much more than the children of today. We didn’t have video games to play and many of the households in the neighborhood had 1-2 televisions, which the adults (or the older siblings) ruled over. The only thing left to do was go outside and play. Running around for hours on end, riding a bike, putting on some skates, etc., got in tons of exercise and helped fight the buldge from Doritos, cake and ice cream, hot dogs and other junk. I had a healthy weight growing up and even became an athelete in high school. Now many schools don’t have sports or must pay to play (which in this economy is bad). I didn’t get fat until I became and adult. We need to get the children out there playing, running around and burning off those calories.


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