Is anyone surprised I’m fascinated with this HBO Documentary?
I know it has aired for a few weeks now, but I requested a screening kit from HBO and began watching the DVDs last night. The three DVD set also came with a discussion guide I can’t wait to tear through. You can watch the entire series and learn more at theweightofthenation.hbo.com or just borrow my screening kit.
I know my views on childhood obesity and the obesity epidemic in general are polarizing. I’ve had several debates with friends via social media, been groaned at when I scrunch my nose at Taco Bell or suggest taking the stairs, and have been called a health nazi by my own husband.
I. Don’t. Care.
There is a very real overweight and obesity problem in America. Over two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including 36% who are considered obese. This number has skyrocketed over the past 30 years, increasing the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease – a cause of liver transplants that simply didn’t exist 30 years ago – IN CHILDREN. Yes, obviously, it is scary when adults have to deal with these health issues but when our children are suffering because of the choices we make? UNACCEPTABLE.
The Bogalusa Heart Study spotlighted in this documentary shows cardiovascular disease begins in childhood. That means people such as myself, who are genetically predisposed to heart disease, are further exacerbating the issue by early lifestyle choices. I know I’ve done my fair share of damage over the years. As a kid I loved to eat and hated exercise. But not anymore. Okay, I still love to eat, but now I make educated food choices. Most importantly, I’ve learned how important it is to be a role model for my daughter. How could I expect her to eat well if I didn’t do the same? So far I haven’t had to worry about her getting enough exercise; I dare you to get her to sit still for more than three seconds. Point being, as a parent I am fully responsible for the food that goes in my child’s mouth and the activities we do as a family. I don’t want my daughter to wait 30 years to learn the same lessons I have. I am doing what it takes to educate her now and set her on the right path from the start.
Madeleine has never eaten at a fast food restaurant and will not for as long as I’m able to influence her decisions. You may think that is a humble brag but it isn’t. It’s a simple fact. Madeleine has never eaten cereal with a cartoon character on the box – she actually recognizes these are unhealthy and points it out in the grocery store on a regular basis. Madeleine doesn’t eat candy except for a few pieces on holidays. Madeleine eats fruit, vegetables and whole grains with gusto because that is what she has been given since she was able to eat real food.
It hurts my heart when I look at kids’ menus at restaurants and see all the food listed is beige. Chicken strips, pizza, grilled cheese, french fries. Applesauce with high fructose corn syrup. Fruit cups with high fructose corn syrup. My brother once argued with me that not all kids like fruit and vegetables. I disagree. If those are the only options you present to them, kids like fruit and vegetables. I’m not naive enough to believe restaurants will change their menus, but I cling to the belief I can help influence people’s decisions.
I’m not going to shut up about this. In fact, I’m more motivated than ever to do more. I’ll continue to lead by example by eating clean, exercising regularly and educating others about reading labels and making good food choices. I’m not perfect, far from it. But I’ve been sedentary, gluttonous and depressed and now I’m active, well-fueled and happy with the numbers to prove it. Please, take the time to watch this important documentary and join me on the path to better health.