Among U.S. adults, obesity continues to get worse. Data released this week show 75 percent of men and 66 percent of women over age 25 are overweight or obese. This dangerous trend started decades ago, and reversing it will require a national movement. I agree with the experts who say we need to be focusing on our kids and making healthy choices a lot easier than they are today.
Like all parents, I want my kids to grow up healthy and happy, to thrive and succeed. I do my best to teach them about good choices and instill healthy habits that will serve them well outside of our home. This is challenging and exhausting. We shop often for fresh foods, pay more for healthy foods and spend time preparing healthy meals. Screen time is limited in favor of time for the park, our bikes, playing soccer or running in the yard.
Imagine the challenge for the millions of parents who live without access to healthy, affordable foods or in neighborhoods where it’s not safe for their kids to play outside. Consider that U.S. food and beverage companies spend nearly $2 billion each year targeting kids with ads, apps and websites promoting junk foods, sugary drinks and other unhealthy fare.
How do we turn the tide? Support healthy changes in schools, daycare centers and afterschool settings. Support brands and restaurants that market and sell healthy options for kids and families. Let policymakers know that access to healthy foods and safe places for play is critical.
Earlier this year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) committed another $500 million to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. In total, RWJF has dedicated more than $1 billion to the cause. Learn more about their work, and join the movement!