We’ve all heard that obesity is a huge crisis in America, but what many of us forget is that it’s our nation’s children who are suffering the brunt of the problem. Childhood obesity has tripled over the past thirty years with nearly one third of children or teens being overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.
According to a report issued by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the number of obese Americans is growing. Nearly 75 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2019, a condition that will have a negative impact on our nation’s economy. Ironically, as our nation weighs in heavier, the New York’s Food Research and Action Center reports another dilemma: families can become obese at the same time they are going hungry.
“The term the scientists used is ‘food-insecure,’” said Erin Baker, founder of Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods, a bakery that combines the appeal of baked goodies with nutritional benefits to help fight obesity. “It describes the condition that hits a huge sector of the population. Low-income people tend to seek out cheaper food which in most cases is fast food, the result is a high calorie diet with poor nutritional value — just a lot of empty calories void of fruits, vegetables and grains.”
Baker’s own journey began when she, at 20 pounds overweight, embarked on a personal mission to look and feel better. Her campaign has inspired her to advocate against childhood obesity by maintaining good habits, such as:
- Eating Your Greens: Baker’s personal experiences have led her to adapt a healthier diet full of fruits, vegetables and grains. Baker recommends that families work to get six to nine servings of fruits, vegetables and grains into their diet each day.
- Prepare Ahead of Time: Americans lead hectic lives and it’s easy to let nutrition take a backseat to that. Baker says we should plan each meal ahead of time with the goal of enriching our bodies – and our families.
- Think of Food as Fuel: Despite a growing interest in food television, books and media, people are often careless when it comes to what they put in their bodies. “I hear all the time about how people just don’t have time to prepare decent meals anymore, and how they’d never have time for lunch if it wasn’t for the drive-though,” Baker said. “What we feed ourselves and our families is killing us, killing our kids and one day soon, it might actually serve to cripple our nation.”