There is only one way to organize a movement, "ask". Will you do something about childhood obesity?
There are many great causes out there and many new ones pop up with the publication of new research, the crisis of a new event, or a population reaching a breaking point. However, causes don't make change. You do. People need to understand/feel the crisis or the problem . We need to understand that there is something we can do to change the problem. We need to understand what to do. The success of the petition on change.org and care2.com are good indicators that those elements are coming together.
Childhood obesity is a problem. It is a crisis. It impacts 23 million children. The data says this generation needs us to do something, if they are going to have a chance to live healthy and long lives. America did not just decide to over eat and stop moving. Food has always been available. We did not give up interest sports, athletics or interest in healthy people. If anything we are more interested in those.
Something else is going on. Something small that is having a huge impact on our kids and our fate as a country. I say it is small because I am not a doctor, city planner or a researcher they know this is a big deal. I say it is small because 150 calories seems like a little thing. The root of the epidemic among children is just 150 calories a day. 150 extra calories every day converts to something like 10 lbs a year on a kid. This converts to obesity at a young age (4th and 5th graders 40 and 50lbs overweight). It seems so simple. Help kids eat just a bitter better and healthier. Help the kids move or play more everyday and we stop this epidemic. Work together, and the pain, the suffering, the early disease and the billions of dollars it will costs all go away.
Everyone is responsible for what they eat. Parents are responsible for getting kids moving and helping them eat healthy. But parents need help. We all have a responsibility to help the next generation thrive. There are too many forces are working against parents rather with than them. Parents that work hard to provide the right foods and then someone brings them cookies. Parents work to get kids to a party for a schoolmate and kids are offered 1000s of calories at a sitting. Parents that can no longer assume the schools will get them moving on a playground or in PE.
The answers are within our grasp. We can help parents. We can help them if we make sure kids are surrounded by healthy affordable foods not junk food. We can help them if we reduce the ridiculous amount of crap food advertising pushing kids to eat more, more, more. We can help them if we help keep kids moving in PE, community fields and safe places to play. We can help them if we put schools where kids can walk. We can help them if we create trails and play spaces kids can use safely and help keep communities safe so they can stay outside.
Kids will play with just about anything. I watched mine play with empty boxes and run around a field playing tag or tumbling around for an hour. They will ride bikes along trails until their legs fall off and say in a pool right thru lunch and dinner if I didn't call them. My 5 siblings used to fight (that was worth at least 150 calories a day). Kids are not different. Our food and environment are.
You walked to school. Your kids don't. You drank milk (ours was powdered milk) or drank out of the hose in the yard. Your kids are offered sugar drinks EVERYWHERE. Food and food marketing is everywhere. Gas stations sold gas. Now kids are begging for treats when you fill up the van. 10% of kids ask parents to go for fast food everyday.
Those are not accidents. Governments cut back on sidewalks while building roads. Food companies have pushed into every nook and cranny of your kids day. Junk ads tell the kids in the middle of every movie, jersey, billboard, book, show and on every carton that junk food is easy and fun. The things that pass for school lunch are heavily influenced by industry. The default kids meals in restaurants don't meet healthy meal standards. We cut budgets for PE. We build over the woods near kids houses. We surround them with dangerous roads and fast cars. We cut budgets for school meals, food preparation, and parks. We don't do anything to bring healthy food into reach while junk food has an industry nudging parents influence out while superloading sugar, fat and salt into things packaged as healthy. We were making some mistakes that are driving this epidemic.
Working with everyone isn't easy. Change is hard. The good thing is there is no doubt we can do this. There is no doubt if we do the right thing we will reap huge benefits. But we have to ask.
Can you join the movement? This is what we asked in our first effort on the petition site. Today, we are building a movement to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity. We need to make that 150 calorie shift. You can play a part. You can lead. You can support those who lead by tuning in and getting engaged and participating in all they do.
Will you join? Others are. It is time.