Kathy Whelan

Posted on July 09, 2017

If you’re interested in children’s health, you need to read this article at www.theconversation.com. It’s written by Alyssa Moran, Sc. D. candidate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Christina Roberto, Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania. They sound like women who know what they’re talking about.

The article matters to me for a couple of reasons. First, our country has a serious children’s health problem: one in six kids is obese. We need to do something about that. Second, and more personally, I have young grandchildren, and I care about their health.

When we eat out together, my grandchildren and I go to nice restaurants that have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in their kitchens. And yet the kids’ menus offer only the likes of macaroni and cheese, breaded and fried chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries - which means loads of calories, fat and sodium.

Children aren’t born with a taste for these foods, as evidenced by healthier eating patterns in other cultures. Even if kids, like my grandchildren, don’t eat out every day and aren’t presently at risk for health problems, why train them to think of these foods as treats? Wouldn’t it be better if they didn’t develop a taste for them at all? 

Many sweeping changes will need to take place to bring our national problem under control. It seems daunting, but we can each do our part. If you want to be part of the solution, read this article to inform yourself, then ask your favorite restaurant to include healthier options for children. If the message comes from their patrons, restaurants might respond better than they have so far. 

Children aren’t able to make this decision themselves. Let’s prioritize their health and make the decision for them. 

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