I have, along with the rest of the country, been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.  After seeing his speech at the TED conference I was really excited to see what he could do with the town of Huntington, West Virginia.

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Eating?
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Jamie’s Food Revolution

What I saw in the schools was frustrating but sadly not a huge surprise. After all it hasn’t been that many years since I was in high school. I remember the salad bar being off limits to students (a practice that finally changed my senior year) and sopping the excess grease off the pizza before we would even attempt to eat it.

What was really surprising to me was the fact that everyone, particularly the parents, seemed so completely shocked by what is being fed to their children. To me that is one of the root causes to the issue of childhood obesity. Parents aren’t as involved in what their children are doing and eating as they should be.

Hold up, you might be saying. Who I am I to judge, after all I don’t have kids. This is true, I don’t. I will, however, be just as dependent on the next generation as the next person. I care very much about those who will be the future leaders, military personnel, firefighters, teachers and doctors. I think as a society we all have the responsibility to care about the health of this generation and generations to come.

So for those who have kids, therefore having more influence over the future citizens than I might, please get involved.  Don’t assume the school system is providing foods that are in the best interest of your children and regular physical activity. Their job is to educate, unfortunately physical education and basic nutrition have fallen out of the curriculum. 

As a parent here is the plan of action I am asking you to put in place:

  • Start by setting a good example at home. Kids actually learn more habits from their parents then you think. If they see you eating fast food all the time they think that is what they should do to. Be active and cook meals at home to be a good example. I can’t stress how important this one is. Take care of yourself and be a healthy adult to inspire your kids to be healthy as well.
  • Talk to your kids about food. Get them involved in the shopping and preparing of those meals you are cooking at home.  Talk to them about what they like and what they are being fed at school. If the school is making an effort, don’t sabatoge it with a brown bag lunch full of processed junk. Support the school!
  • Go see for yourself what they are being served at school. Many schools even need lunch room volunteers to assist younger students. Take the time to at least occasionally have lunch at school with your kids.
  • If you aren’t happy with what your kids are being served, say something. Ask for better choices and limits on things like products from vending machines.  Find out what types of physical education classes are being offered. If they aren’t being offered or are inadequate, say something.

Jamie Oliver is only one man, helping (at least right now) one town. It’s going to take everyone getting involved to turn the tide on the epidemic of childhood obesity. Those efforts have to start at home and be taken to the schoolhouse by parents around the country.

So parents out there, am I asking too much? Tell me what you think.

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