Adolescent Obesity Levels Off

May 28, 2008

According to a recent study or, rather, survey, over the past decade adolescent obesity has leveled off. This is good news (if in fact the news is for real).

The sad part is that for the past 20 years or so, kids have been allowed to become so fat. It's our fault - the parents, the government and especially the food companies.

In an LA Times article, Dr. Riza Lavizzo-Mourey, President of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation is quoted as having said:

"These findings may signal that this national epidemic is not an unstoppable force."

You don't need to see the results of the survey to know that this 'epidemic' is entirely stoppable. In fact, the answer is quite simple. Why so many organizations act as if the reason or cause is insurmountable and unfathomable is beyond me.

Kids today are overfat because they eat too much sugar specifically refined carbohydrates (and yes, to a certain extent, calories in general). In my new book Strong Kids Healthy Kids this will be discussed in more detail.

Additionally, it's got not a thing to do with inactivity. Research indicates that overfat kids are just as active as their leaner counterparts. There are plenty of obese and active kids and plenty of lean inactive kids. Money spent on getting kids more active is money wasted. Of course kids should have gym class. Of course kids should be encouraged to participate in sports. But not for reasons of fat loss.

The idea that inactivity is a factor in obesity is without merit. Several studies have looked at activity/aerobic programs in children and found no change in body composition. Two being a 3 year study by Cohen, 1995 Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66: A29 and a 10 week study by Ignico and Mahon, 1995 (same issue pgs. 85-90) both showed no change in body composition.

It's the gobbling of sugar, not the refrain from frolic that makes kids fat.

And who feeds kids the wrong stuff? Family, friends, schools and institutions.

Q: How do we stop war? Cease killing people.

Q: How do we stop adolescent obesity? Cease feeding kids that which makes them fat. And we know EXACTLY what these foods are. They are foods that never walked, crawled, swam, flew or grew. There is no such thing as a pasta bush, a bagel tree or a pizza-fish. I never met a cookie-cow in my life.

I don't care that it's hard. I don't care that the kids will complain. I don't care that you have to get up earlier to cook and prepare. I don't care that you have to eat the same way too.

The answers to life's problems are sometimes hard. Really hard. But let's not pretend that the answers don't exist because this is so.

"Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness."

A complimentary autographed copy of my book The Slow Burn Revolution goes to the first person who can tell me who said this. HINT: It was a man.