Why Our Kids Are Overweight

T. L.
November 2004
Sports Illustrated;
The article discusses reasons why children in the United States are heavier than ever before, as of 2004. Geography. In the latter half of the 20th century Americans increasingly moved from city neighborhoods to suburbs. Kids stopped walking and riding their bicycles and got into cars. Routine forms of exercise were lost. Fear. Children who were inclined to leave their homes to play were discouraged by parents who were fearful of abduction. Hardworking Parents. The increase in the number of two-income households has left kids stranded in after-school and extended day-care programs. Before, children were outdoors burning calories. The Soccer Myth. Organized youth teams have exploded--particularly in soccer--but youngsters who join them play only a couple of days a week and get a fraction of the exercise they need, often standing around awaiting their turns in static drills. Emphasis on Test Scores. Cash strapped schools, frightened by No Child Left Behind mandates, have shifted resources and class time from phys ed to prepping students for standardized tests. Fast Food. Mom's baked potato has been replaced by a supersized order of fries cooked in beef fat. Soft-drink machines have been lodged in high school hallways. Technology. First came television, followed by cable and digital and hi-def. Video games evolved from Pong to Tomb Raider. Finally came the Internet and the IM monster. Children sit and click. A Family Trait. The children of overweight people are often overweight themselves, and more than 64% of U.S. adults are overweight.


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