More than half of the nation’s children with Autism are overweight.
In the past few years we have seen a big push for the lowering of adult and childhood obesity rates. With the launch of several national campaigns focusing on the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity, one might assume that these programs are having a great affect on the rates of obesity in this country. A recent New York Times article states that this is in fact not the case.
The rate of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years has more than tripled over the past three decades, and the rate among children aged 6 to 11 years has more than doubled. Unfortunately, the rates of obesity are even worse among children and adolescents with disabilities. Reversing the U.S. obesity epidemic requires a comprehensive approach that uses policy and environmental change to transform communities into places that promote healthy lifestyle choices for all.
During my Master’s program, I served as a part-time Adapted Physical Education teacher in the Charlottesville, VA area. And while I did my very best to educate my students as to why physical activity and healthy eating were important, there were not many outside sources helping to push the same agenda. Most of my students had limited access to inside and outside school physical activity opportunities as well as opportunities for health education.
It is well documented that one third of American children and more than one half of adults remain overweight or obese. It seems certain that technology will continue to give all of us more opportunities to stay connected and enjoy many conveniences of the computer age.
When I first read about the results of a research study from American University in Washington, Cornell University and the University of Chicago where it reported that working mothers were more likely to have obese children, my first inclination was to be alarmed. I am a working mother! Then I took offense to it. Then I wondered if it even applies to me since I work part time and I didn’t know if the researchers took that into account in the study. Then I started theorizing on how I could sort of see how it may be a contributing factor, based on personal experience anyway. Maybe I am more likely to be worn out from work at the end of the day and choose the McDonald’s drive thru and an episode of iCarly as our evening meal/activity instead of a healthier or more active option. And I can also see how the guilt of being gone so much can sometimes lead us to try to put a smile on our kids’ faces, so if they ask for a doughnut and SpongeBob, well then . . . . . . But on the other hand, when I am mentally and physically exhausted from work, I tend to like to go home and throw myself into something other than work, like cooking for example, or taking the kids to the park and playing a ridiculous game of Silly-Face Freeze-Tag (I’ll admit, if the park is crowded, I tend to wimp out on this one).
When it comes to weight loss, nothing fits. I’m not talking about my old clothes, though it’s true enough that they hang in my closet like silent jurors, pronouncing me guilty of being overweight by their mere presence. I’m talking about all the resources that are available now to help people who struggle with obesity.
As I walked down the isle of Target today, I noticed the ridiculous number of special treat items that seem to magically appear only during this time of the year. The yard of red licorice (which I bought for a family member) was by far the healthiest option in comparison to it’s neighbors; the super size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup (almost 1140 calories per cup) and the Peeps milk chocolate trees, which just sound disgusting.