Home Daily Infographic Infographic: “The Childhood Obesity Epidemic”

Infographic: “The Childhood Obesity Epidemic”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

As National School Lunch Week draws to a close, our friends at USC’s Masters in Teaching program would like to offer up the following infographic for discussion:

I think I’ve shared my grievances with the “childhood obesity” talk before, but I’ll say it again. It isn’t only the “fat kids” that need to learn how to eat well. ALL children need to learn. Why? How many of us were skinny children who became overweight adults with no clue how to revert back?

I also think it’s unnecessarily damning to highlight certain kids as being “a problem” or “the problem.” Teach the kids to strive to eat right and be active, and the lessons will carry with them all throughout their lives. Don’t worry about the non-obese children losing weight. Kids who don’t eat processed foods know how to compensate – their bodies demand more energy (be it fat or food) as their activity levels increase, and require less as their activity levels decrease (the same can be said for adults.) All children can eat proper meals – with portion sizes appropriate for their activity levels – and develop adequate weights, be it to gain a few or lose a few.

I just… every time I hear or read about “OMG CHILDHOOD OBESITY” I picture some parent heaping food on the plate of their thinner child, and plopping a rice cake down onto the plate for the larger child. It’s a cringeworthy picture. Trust me.

And before y’all hit me with the “tough love” comments, think about what you’d want someone to say to you or how you’d want someone to treat you in regards to your weight. Think about how much tough love you’ve received thus far, and whether or not that “tough love” has successfully made you lose weight and keep it off… and then think about whether or not treating you like a human being with a brain, thoughts and feelings could work, as well.

“Only 2 states in the union require schools to make fruits and vegetables available whenever food is offered.”

I just… I can’t. And we wonder why “CHILDHOOD OBESITY IS SUCH A BIG DEAL!” Not only are you not teaching the kids, but you’re reinforcing the NON-TEACHING with lack of resources, as evidenced by…

“Only 3 out of 10 high schoolers report eating a vegetable every day.”


“Less than 25% of students take a gym class.”

Your gym teachers (and art teachers, and music teachers…), that is, if your school can still afford them, are too busy teaching your students in preparation for the next standardized test, but I digress…


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1beautifullymade October 14, 2011 - 11:53 AM

I think it’s going to far…damnit I know it is! I feel like adults have negative thoughts and feelings in regards to their own weight issues and now we are feeding those negative perceptions to our kids. It’s the way they are doing it that really hurts me…..Growing up..I was ALWAYS told I was too fat. I didn’t know how to stop being fat, shoot its just within the past four years that I started hearing about HEALTHY eating, emotional and physical health. I remember as early as 6 years old feeling hungry but not eating at the table because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself….than I would wait till everyone was in bed and eat my heart out…People just have no idea what they are doing to children. It was bad enough only hearing from my family that I was FAT, but imagine what these kids are going to go through now..having it hung on billboards..in the schools, and screamed by their favorite entertainers!sheesh…Isn’t there a better way to help our children make healthier choices? I like that Mrs.Obama is doing the pass the plate and get moving campaign, however it is so much bigger than that….Only 3 schools offering veggies and fruits? BIG WTF moment! I live in Georgia and my son’s school has a variety of healthy options. Erika did you ever see the ad that ran with the little girl on it stating “President Obama’s daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don’t I?” Are parents the ones that vote on these things in their individual states? My daughter is 4 and my family constantly makes sly remarks about her weight…It makes me so mad! When does the madness stop!

Eva October 14, 2011 - 12:37 PM

When I was in school and Johnson was president everybody had to do the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Today physical education gets dropped from a lot of schools because of budget cuts, and because a lot of parents claimed their children’s self esteem was damaged due to being chosen last for a sport. So they threw the baby out with the bathwater, no physical education, no recess because God forbid the children hurt themselves. Now it’s a crisis.

I think ALL children should be taught healthy eating, have exercise and stay away from fast and processed foods. There was a time that ice cream and cake was for a special occasion, now kids eat it every day.

tashsukura June 13, 2012 - 10:22 PM

Wow, I’m shocked that all US schools don’t have to serve a veggie or fruit with all meals offered. When I saw my neice and nephew come from school with a veggie snack (celery and carrots) I thought surely all schools must be doing this then b/c our town is not that big. Also, I think PE is just being yanked out of the schools now b/c of funding, but here I go again thinking – b/c childhood obesity is so prevelant nowadays surely all schools are pushing PE really hard. Nope, wrong again, I don’t even think they have it like we use to….music and art either…wow! Yep I blame standardized testing! A whole ‘nother story right there!

Ronni June 14, 2012 - 3:34 PM

You know what pisses me off? WHY the hell are soda companies giving schools to sell their products? That disgusts me. Schools have such a hard time getting funding that I can’t blame them for having the vending machines and adverts. I remember Coke adverts being on the wall in my high school. But I think the soda companies are being sick and underhanded with this crap.

AshBash May 23, 2013 - 4:44 PM

I agree with u that ALL students need 2 learn how to eat healthy! I am a culinary teacher @ a high school out MD and a good 98% of my kids eat carry out, fast food or marie calender as lunch and dinner daily but are always trying to diet off the weight. I’m trying to teach them easy ways to eat clean so it will be easy 4 them to do. Its been working! And that’s my contribution 2 childhood obesity!!!! Ha! PG County non-real food serving behinds! Humph!

Jess M July 24, 2013 - 1:01 PM

I have two young girls (3 and 1) and I feel very strongly about this topic. I feel that the responsibility of teaching them healthy eating habits is 100% on my shoulders. My parents didn’t allow me and my siblings to buy school lunch everyday, and I will not allow my girls. My mom told me it was too expensive…she didn’t talk about how that food was disgusting. What is sad though is that a lot of families rely on free and reduced meals at school. Low-income children don’t deserve healthy meals???

KrysN July 24, 2013 - 1:46 PM

I think the nicknames have to stop, too. I have a cousin who readily admits that her daughter eats all the right things, and she keeps her in physical activities but still calls her “chunk” and “fat-fat.” It eats me up because kids take that stuff to heart and it DOESN’T help it only hurts.

Things that a few of my cousins and aunts said to me when I was younger about being overweight can still bring me to tears if I reminisce on them too long. And it was that negative energy that sent me into emotional eating and thoughts like, “It’s ok, I’m the smart one even if I’m the fat one.” Bottom line: we have to watch what we do to kids and what we’re teaching them and their peers is the right way to act and address each other.

Jessica June 17, 2014 - 10:50 AM

I firmly believe that if a parent demonstrates healthy eating and an active lifestyle and includes the child in that, the child will be fine. And yes, make them bring lunch 3 of 5 days. Make good healthy lunches, hummus with pita bread, veggie quesadillas….make them the same healthy foods you make for yourself. Then tell them they can eat whatever they want for one meal on the weekend. If they ask why they have to eat the way they do (hopefully they will be enjoying the food they are eating and not even ask or think anything of it) then tell them the truth about processed foods and so on. As a parent, you are the king and queen, the super hero, the leader…..whatever you do and teach them from the womb, they will follow. Even if they fall off track, they will know how to get back on because you educated them through words and actions.

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