Too many children are growing fatter -- so let's help prevent it

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The sound of bullets flying, the loud voices of a boy shouting extremities to another child and hateful words screaming off the pages of social media sites are literally taking the lives, mentally and physically, of young people all over the world.

But there is another epidemic taking our kids that many wouldn’t even consider – that is, until they see the statistics.

It’s childhood obesity.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “One in three children in the U.S. is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

SO HOW IS CHILDHOOD obesity measured? By body mass index, calculated in a formula using a person’s height and weight. “A child’s weight status is determined using an age- and sex-specific percentile for BMI rather than the BMI categories used for adults because children’s body composition varies as they age and varies between boys and girls,” according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

I can include statistics about this chronic problem that will make your head spin, but I prefer to share ways we can tackle this problem. These are the same people who will prayerfully become adults one day and be our community and business leaders – educators, doctors, lawyers, nurses, artists, sports players, entrepreneurs, white- and blue-collar workers and so forth. I think we can all agree that we want our children to become healthy adults. It is important, however, that we adults do a better job in serving as positive role models for those following behind us.

I began my healthy lifestyle journey 16 months ago and shortly thereafter read an article in this newspaper that frankly knocked me off my feet. Georgia ranks No. 2 in childhood obesity. Wow!

As an advocate for youth and leadership, it just made sense to incorporate health and fitness with our Youth Leadership program. From America’s first lady to local fitness trainers providing opportunities for people to get fit, there definitely is a movement toward developing and living a healthy lifestyle. And I’m pretty excited about it.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and there will be activities and events all over the country to bring awareness to this growing problem. Here in Augusta, I’m pleased to share that we are planning a 5K Walk/Run at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Kroc Center. The event will be a family fun day designed to bring healthy information and education to everyone who attends. The day will include, in addition to the 5K walk/run, healthy fitness sessions; karate; Zumba; healthy cooking demonstrations; inflatables; a fire truck and firefighters; sheriff’s deputies; vendors; and so much more. Visit www.helenblockeradams.com for more information and a 5K walk/run registration form. I hope to see you there.

THE SUBJECT OF weight loss is one that we hear about daily. If you visit most bookstores, the No. 1 genre of literary work is diet and weight loss. Watch most cable television stations and there are new pills and potions, exercise videos and weight loss programs – all designed to make you spend money with the hopes of losing weight and developing a healthy lifestyle.

So what is the problem? Why are we still struggling with our weight? There probably is not enough ink to state all the reasons here, but if we reflect on it ourselves, we can identify our own personal reasons.

Experts have long told parents, and anyone who cares for a child, that healthy food and daily physical activity are key in preventing childhood obesity. The right food gives the right nutrition. Regular exercise shapes a healthier body. And adults should encourage this behavior so it can continue when the children become adults themselves.

CNBC featured a show called One Nation Overweight, and reported in 2012 that “there is an obesity plague in America that costs the nation as much as $147 billion – and an untold number of lives – every year. Nearly two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is triple what it was a generation ago. Together, they add up to a public health crisis that feeds a $60 billion industry of products, services, diets and foods designed to help people lose weight.”

In 21st-century America, excess weight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions. These conditions have bypassed smoking as the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the nation. This epidemic ties directly into chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

WE HAVE A serious but preventable problem. We all can work together to reduce this problem.

And it’s already starting. America received wonderful news Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new report on obesity rates in most U.S. states found that 18 states, including Georgia, showed lower obesity rates among low-income preschoolers. The drops were small, but their significance is huge.

I’ve heard that one can develop a habit if one does something 30 days straight. I would like to challenge you to use the month of September as a launching pad in developing a healthier lifestyle. Not only will you feel better, but you will serve as a positive role model for our youth.

(The writer is an entrepreneur, author, youth advocate and mental health advocate in Augusta.)

Comments (24) Add comment
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soldout
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soldout 08/11/13 - 05:35 am
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good words

Good letter. The how to do it is pretty easy. Drop the corn syrup sweeter and use real sugar, eat organic, drop the fast food, drop the soft drinks. Always choose maximum nutrition. Overweight people are just starving to death because their body keeps saying "eat more" because there is no nutrition in what you just ate.

Many also don't absorb certain vitamin and minerals. This can be fixed in minutes using naet. There is no other method that fixes this so find a place that does naet or another form of energy medicine that addresses this problem. This has to be fixed in the electrical system of the body that runs your immune system. EFT is also effective for weight loss and takes 5 minutes to learn and two minutes to do and is another form of energy medicine. Energy medicine will take the hard part out of losing weight. God wants us healthy and you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it. Good food is cheap. Compare eating 12 dollars worth of pizza with eating 12 dollars of brown rice. See which goes further.

Bulldog
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Bulldog 08/11/13 - 07:47 am
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Excellent letter Helen!

This area is so huge that making any kind of a dent in it is going to be challenging, but we need to start somewhere. And we are! Well meaning people everywhere are catching on and want to help. Thanks for taking a leadership position. There is high hope that the new school breakfast and lunch program in RC will provide not only a greatly improved level of general nutrition for students , but also teach them something about proper eating.

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 08/11/13 - 08:23 am
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I will give $100 to the first presidential candidate

to look Iowa voters in the eye and firmly declare that corn subsidies must end permanently, even if it leads to the loss of peanut subsidies for Georgia farmers.

soldout
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soldout 08/11/13 - 09:29 am
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one more help

Another tool to control weight is to eliminate breakfast. It is best to only eat between 12 noon and 8 pm. It's called intermittent fasting and it is great for your health and will prevent and help some diseases. Breakfast wasn't a normal meal for centuries and really slows you down and reduces energy. Once you drop it you will never do it again.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:35 am
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Lunch menu: pizza. chicken fingers, hot dogs, tacos, FF, etc.
Unpublished

Lunch menu: pizza. chicken fingers, hot dogs, tacos, FF, etc.

soapy_725
43965
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:36 am
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Look my friend to the government reservation. Weaken with sugar
Unpublished

Look my friend to the government reservation. Weaken with sugar

soapy_725
43965
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:39 am
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Look my friend to the government reservation. Weaken w/ sloth
Unpublished

Look my friend to the government reservation. Weaken w/ sloth

soapy_725
43965
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:40 am
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Government reservation always = weakened overweight slaves.
Unpublished

Government reservation always = weakened overweight slaves.

soapy_725
43965
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:41 am
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Fat is enemy. Replace with much sugars & salts. Our friends.
Unpublished

Fat is enemy. Replace with much sugars & salts. Our friends.

soapy_725
43965
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soapy_725 08/11/13 - 09:42 am
0
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One 64 oz diet soda. Four Bi Macs. Two jumbo fries. LOL LOL
Unpublished

One 64 oz diet soda. Four Bi Macs. Two jumbo fries. LOL LOL

allhans
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allhans 08/11/13 - 11:27 am
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We hear the cries..and

We hear the cries..and then...crickets.

lovingthesouth72
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lovingthesouth72 08/11/13 - 11:58 am
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easy peasy

The good thing is that we do not need a government program to combat obesity. Just a few adjustments to lifestyle should suffice:
- Stop drinking sodas and canned drinks. stick to water instead
- eat at home, skip the restaurants and buffets
- limit tv, computer, video games
- hang around healthy people
- get outside and exercise, even if just a 20 minutes evening brisk walk
- ditch the junk food and fast foods
(notice that these will help you loose weight AND save money)!!!!!!

Red Headed Step Child
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Red Headed Step Child 08/11/13 - 12:12 pm
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@soldout

interesting theory on eliminating breakfast. Can't help but dispute it - at least as it related to me.

For years - practically all my life - I would skip breakfast and would eat my first meal around 11:30 - noon. Then dinner before 8:00. Keep in mind, my diet was relatively nutritious with the occasional not so good for you food thrown in. As I got older, my weight started creeping up.

Low and behold, I found myself listening to all those that said "breakfast is an important part of the day". So I began to eat a nutritious breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up followed by lunch around noon, and dinner before 8. Voila! weight started to come down. My level of physical activty stayed the same - I was just eating the right kinds of foods at the right times of day. Added to that is PORTION CONTROL. Eating small meals several times a day keeps the metabolism stoked.

Like I said, I can only speak for myself, but eating breakfast DID make all the difference in the world.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 08/11/13 - 12:25 pm
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Soldout

Can you point to some research to support the claim of no breakfast? I can easily skip it, but all of the nutritional info I've ever see says you are setting yourself up to eat more at lunch on a body whose metabolism is slowed due to no breakfast.

soldout
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soldout 08/11/13 - 01:00 pm
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breakfast

I first learned about the no breakfast in the book "fit for life". It teaches you body cycles. The waste elimination cycle from 4am to 12noon (that's why so many go to the bathroom at 4 am) and find exercising easier in the morning. The eating cycle from 12noon to 8pm. The absorption cycle from 8pm to four am. I have never seen anyone following fit for life to have a weight problem but I am sure there are exceptions as mentioned above. It also teaches food combinations and avoiding strong protein and carbs in the same meal like meat and potato. It teaches the problems with dairy etc. Just a great book. It is written by Harvey and Marlyn Diamond. People who get hunger headaches if they miss breakfast usually have low blood sugar and that can be fixed by following the fit for life approach. Digesting food is the body's highest priority and the most tiring thing it does ( worst than ironing) so it needs a diet and eating schedule that makes that as easy as possible and your energy level will go out the roof.

soldout
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soldout 08/11/13 - 01:03 pm
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Loving the south

Lovingthesouth; you have it all figured out. The low TV eliminates sitting so much which is terrible for your heart and lungs. People lose brain function in only 14 minutes of TV watching because it is one way communication. Take a talker, put them in a nursing home in front of a tv and their conversation level drops like a rock.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 08/11/13 - 02:23 pm
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Its all about "personal"

Its all about "personal" responsibility and parents being good parents. Once again this is not something Government can do for us.

soldout
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soldout 08/11/13 - 03:39 pm
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thumbs down tell a lot

You can tell this is a town focused on sickness and not health. If people don't see it on a TV commercial or their doctor doesn't say it how could it be true? There is no money made by someone if you are learning to be healthy. They are many depending on people to be sick and stay sick for them to make a living. Pretty sad, but the truth is the truth no matter who says it and you don't have to prove something for it to be a fact. It is sad to see people carry around a bag full of pills with many of them just trying to offset the damage caused by one of the others. You don't have to live that way and God didn't intend for you to either. The only mention of witchcraft in the Bible is in relationship to drugs.

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 04:15 pm
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I am with you R H S C

The entire time I was growing up I ate a hearty breakfast everyday. I was 5'5 and weighed 99 pounds when I got married, 110 when I was 30. A lot is genetics. No one in my family is over weight. None of the people who married into the family either. I do have one cat that could stand to lose a pound or so.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/11/13 - 04:19 pm
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soldout, I'm sure your

soldout, I'm sure your dietary regiment works for you and possibly for some others but I find your statement "You can tell this is a town focused on sickness and not health. If people don't see it on a TV commercial or their doctor doesn't say it how could it be true?" troubling. Are you saying that we should automatically believe you and not a licensed physician, just because you say going without breakfast is better for you.

I agree God's original intent was for his children not to be sick and die but mankind choose this path and no matter what God's intent for us was, our bodies will get sick and we will die whether we eat breakfast or not.

I also find it curious that you dismiss the importance of breakfast when God must have thought it was necessary when he supplied the manna from heaven each morning for their morning bread and the quail at night for their evening meal. If anything it seems that the noontime meal is not even mentioned.

Exodus 16: 11 "The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

So the Lord provided their morning and their evening meal. What are your thoughts concerning this? I've always been told that your morning meal is the most important to kick-start your metabolism and give you energy to be productive throughout the day. Seems to me portion control and healthy food would be more important for sustaining the body instead of fasting from 8pm until noon the next day.

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 04:24 pm
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ICL

Exactly.

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 04:33 pm
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My second son would come home

My second son would come home from football practice and while I was preparing supper he would eat a can of tuna fish, a ginormous salad and a bowl of ice cream. He alone ate about a gallon of ice cream a week. Neither boys had much body fat.

Red Headed Step Child
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Red Headed Step Child 08/11/13 - 04:48 pm
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I don't blame childhood

I don't blame childhood obesity totally on the food. These kids just don't get out and exercise or even PLAY like we did when I was a kid. Playing back then was getting a group of kids together to play football, etc. "Playing" these days consists of sitting in front of a Playstation or Xbox.

As parents we have to ensure that we take the time to actually cook nutritious meals - it absolutely floors me that my kids' friends hardly ever sit down to a home cooked meal. Eating out was a treat when I was growing up - as in a two to three times a YEAR treat. Nothing widens that backside like eating out all the time!!!

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 05:07 pm
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There were a lot of nights

There were a lot of nights when sports practices lasted so long that fastfood was the fare.We had a cat who loved to play with straws. He would pull them out of empty milkshake cups and bat them around until he diappeared them under the sofa. I had the carpet cleaned. I found about 80 straws on my kitchen table they had found under the couch. I cannot imagine what they thought.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 08/11/13 - 05:39 pm
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1
Too many bureaucrats are

Too many bureaucrats are middle-aged overweight women with an attitude – so let's help prevent it!!!

I don't really care if they think Obama gives them license to be even less helpful (if that's possible), I would just like people that understand what public servant means!!!!

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 05:50 pm
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Poor fat people, a true

Poor fat people, a true oxymoron.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 08/11/13 - 05:53 pm
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RedHead

has it right. Breakfast is a needed meal. It's not real hard to make it tasty, fun, and healthy (well for me "fun" means anything in my tummy, 'cause I'm hungry!).

As far as video games and TV - it's simply a matter of placing limitations. My kids/grand kids must give me two hours of constructive playtime and/or physical activity for every one in front of the TV/video. They all mumble, get mad, whine, and carry on; but they also can't wait to come to Pa-Pars house to play!!!

Another thing about video versus TV. To me personally, I'd much rather a child spend time on a video game versus zombieing in front of a TV set. Video games at least provide decision making and interaction skills whereas TV is just jelling.

KSL
140584
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KSL 08/11/13 - 05:59 pm
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If you are fat and buying

If you are fat and buying food gratis the government, ie taxpayers, we have a problem. You are buying, eating too much of the wrong stuff. And we taxpayers are paying both your food bills and the resulting medical bills.

KSL
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KSL 08/11/13 - 06:03 pm
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Agree

R H S D.

soldout
1280
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soldout 08/13/13 - 02:18 am
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reply to In Christ Love

Not sure about when they ate the manna but probably after the dew was gone but guess it was later than early morning since it had to be gathered. Sounds like there were two meals a day. I want argue about that and I respect your views. From my talking to doctors and having them as friends most know little about nutrition and I have taught some more in 30 minutes than than learned in all of medical school. The body cycles are real and can be used in things like taking oral chemo. If taken between 4am and 12 noon (the waste elimination cycle) there is much less sickness than taken in the absorption cycle from 8pm to 4am and I have watched that first hand.

Listen; I expect lots of thumbs down but probably none studied the history of breakfast and how new it is as a meal. People have made doctors their directors instead of advisers. That's fine if they want to make that choice but I see the results of those doing alternative things and it is superior. Alternative medicine fixes things and regular medicine treats things. It pretty much is all about money. The more money thrown at breast cancer the worst it gets because there is too much money made to say anything negative about alcohol and the breast cancer it adds. When TV is supported over 60% by medical ads can you expect to hear all the truth or would drugs always be the first choice. When you raise the percent of elderly taking flu shots from 15% to 70% over the years and the numbers of cases doesn't go down do you hear that reported or would doing that risk advertising income? I have been attacked for many years but time is on my side and it will be about breakfast, skin cancer, breast cancer, vaccinations, energy medicine etc I believe. So far I haven't had to retract anything and I am willing to be wrong and stay teachable but I don't go along with the majority which is usually wrong and influenced by money and not truth. I see things done in energy medicine like proxy healing which Jesus did that no one would believe without seeing it. I see people attack alternative methods only to be treated by them later. God made being well very easy and man has made it complex and expensive. I have lots of fun with helping people to at least check things out. Most that attack me have a dog in the fight and I have none as I have never made a dime with anything I have ever done to help folks. People don't even know God wants them well. I am blessed to take no medications and give God the credit for He said He would lead us into all truth and the curse without a cause does not come. That tells me there is always a reason, such as high blood pressure which isn't a disease but an indicator of a root cause. A lot is due to mental stress; as we think so are we. You and I know the Bible is the best science and history book ever written but men would rather take the easy and dangerous way of taking a pill and honor another "little god" ; the medical profession.

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