Schools in Xalapa Mexico reported that 60% of children were overweight or obese. This prompted researchers from the state's university to conduct a study with children young enough to be in elementary school.
In their study, they found that 11 and 12 year olds showed early signs of risks associated with metabolic syndrome. The researchers established that as a child's age increases, so do problems related to weight and obesity, meaning that preschoolers have a less overweight rate but this changes when they get to elementary schools and junior high school.
The researchers noticed that bagged lunches may be the explanation. Kindergardeners are more likely to take prepared foods to school while older children are more likely to purchase food at schools. Almost no one takes a lunch to school in junior high school.
Another issue that researchers noticed is that activity decreases as kids age. Older kids tend to play less outside and their games or forms of entertainment are rarely related with exercise. They normally resort to video games.
The researchers suggest that a solution requires help from different sources. The first and key source is the parents. Parents need to know and must control what their kids are eating. They insist that parents prepare lunches at home. In general, kids do not worry about nutrition. This is why they should seldom be given money that will be spent on food items.
When interviewed, children said they purchased potato chips, french fries, pastries, peanuts, and sodas (among other types of junk food). Some parents prepare a lunch but also give their kids money so they can purchase additional items. In one case a child expressed that his mom made him a sandwich every day but that his father gave him money as well. He buys a Coke and a bag of flavored chips. “This is exactly what I eat everyday during recess.”
According to the researchers, these actions have led to the current overweight/obesity problem.
When was the last time you prepared a healthy lunch for your kids? When was the last time you asked (and knew they weren't lying) what your kids ate during lunch?
Link to Article:
[Diario Xalapa]: Llega a niños riesgo a la salud por obesidad