Most American children and teens are consuming fast food multiple times daily.
Working parents stock their pantries with pre-processed foods that are quick and easy enough for their kids to make.
Many of today's children are microwaving their own meals by age eight.
Several bags of microwave popcorn, with extra butter or seasoning, are perceived to be meals by many "latch key" kids.
To minimize toddlers whining in the stores, many parents succumb to buying "kid popular" products laden with sugar and fats.
Children will usually choose products that come with cool prizes or ones with their favorite characters on the packaging. Certainly, if they have eaten it at their friend's house, parents will hear very loud whines if that junk food is not put in the shopping cart. Nutritional value is not the top priority at that moment, getting the kids out of the store is.
Breakfast often consists of cookie-flavored cereals or pop tarts washed down with artificially flavored milk or food colored drink.
Hot breakfast may be three or four packets of artificially flavored, pre-sweetened oatmeal in a bowl. (Notice the lack of portion control).
Let's not mention the cold pizza and soda leftover from last night's dinner.
Parents provide their children snack money to buy treats at school in vending machines and after school on the way home with their friends.
Has your child ever asked for snack money to buy carrots to eat at the ballgame?
Many children come home from school to no adult supervision. Parents work later. Free, supervised after-school activities are not always available.
Even if Mom leaves a dinner plan, some children will only follow it if it's something they like, ie, hot dogs, or if Mom is coming up the walkway.
What if the parent is a stay-at-home parent? Kids become beneficiaries of homemade treats and snacks in between meal times.
Lower income families tend to eat a lot of whatever they can afford. They eat a lot of heavy foods like potatoes, beans, breads, and pastas.
Portion control is usually based on the feast or famine scenario in these homes. Of course, if Grandma is visiting from the old world or if there is a family function, then massive overeating will likely take place.
Let's focus on some solutions.
Wisdom, moderation, and portion control are the keys to keeping the young ones from ingesting too much fatty foods.
Growing children requires daily vitamin supplements.
Most parents have no clue if their kids' bowels are regular, so this should be carefully watched. Bowel regularity will eliminate some of the other issues.
Exercise in the fresh air and sunshine is required to be physically healthy. Encourage walking with pets or friends and bicycling as older kids' main method of transportation whenever possible. Dancing, sports, or martial arts classes are great exercise, too.
Spend family fun time at the park, as well.
We can end the epidemic of childhood obesity by following all of the above.