Disclaimer: Nutrition happens to be a “soapbox” of mine…what was intended to be a short post about baby sizes is now…um…this:
Anja is tall. In fact, she’s in the 95th percentile for her age.
The other day I bought her the cutest little jeans at Target for less than $2.00. I washed them and went to put them on her today, only to find that they’re way too huge in the waist. They even have an elastic waist, but they slide right off of her. This is a trend that started when she was born. At 3 mo. old, she is long enough for 6 mo. pants, but in the waist she’s a 0-3 mo. In other words, she’s ready for a flood at all times. You can see from the picture below that she’s not what you’d call a skinny baby. So my question is: Has our culture of obesity now made way for obese babies?
Overall, I’ve noticed a dramatic change in sizes since I was a kid. Children are much fatter. It makes me really sad when I go to the store and see a kid that can’t be much older than three who has got major weight issues. But…let’s take a look at what we’re feeding them…
Babies: The average kid starts out on either breast milk or formula. Basic nutrition. Babies need it. But…a lot of moms feed on demand. When a child has a breast thrust in their face every time they make a peep, how do we not expect them to push problems away by eating when they get older? Then, they graduate to cereal and baby foods. Do you know what they make in baby food form these days? Macaroni & Cheese. Peach cobbler. Lasagna. Who wants to develop their little palates to crave these horrible-for-them items before they even taste the real thing? Ugh. Marketing toward children makes me sick. What makes me sicker is marketing toward stupid, gullible parents. Because it works. Because they’re stupid and gullible. Okay, got derailed there for a second…back on track. They move on from these disgusting excuses for baby food to finger foods. What are they given? Carbohydrates in cute shapes fortified with vitamins. Wouldn’t want to give them fruit or vegetables, would we? Those things might actually HELP their bodies fight off infection and disease. Better to give them some synthetic (read: man-made) vitamins stirred into a slurry of “enriched” floury paste held together by high fructose corn syrup (it’s in everything, people) that is baked into fun little shapes. Then they can start hardening their arteries and growing cancer cells at a nice young age. Oh, and don’t forget to wash it down with some “100% Fruit Juice.” Of course it’s good for you! Never mind that they took out all the fiber that helps you process the gargantuan amount of sugar in the fruit. Next time try a 100% piece of real fruit.
Toddlers: Once they’ve grown a few more teeth, they get to start dining out with mom and dad. What’s on the menu? Chicken fingers (fried) with French fries (fried), hamburgers (fried), spaghetti (at least the tomato sauce is somewhat redeemable), french toast sticks (dense white bread, dipped in fat, deep fried and covered in a sugary syrup). Is it any wonder kids are being diagnosed with ADD more and more? The fuel we’re giving them isn’t sufficient for their bodies to run on! And unfortunately, this isn’t much different from the menu offered in most homes. “What? Little Bobby won’t eat anything but cheezy puffs and root beer? Aww…better that than let him starve.” Maybe not better. Maybe not.
School-agers: “Billy, will you trade me your fruit snacks for my granola bar?” That pretty much says it all. Come home to mom (or the sitter) after school and grab an Oreo or some chips.
Teenagers: They’ve got wheels (or at least friends with wheels), some cash, and fast food galore. How often do you see gangs of teenagers hanging out at the local vegetarian bistro? Or scouring the aisles of Whole Foods? Nope. They’re at 7-11 (do they still have those or am I just old?) grabbing a Big Gulp and one of those awesomely nutritious pre-packaged sugar cookies with thick pink frosting and sprinkles. Or they’re at McDonald’s scoring an equally nutritious piece of deep fried chicken wrapped in a white flour tortilla with iceberg lettuce and shredded cheese. “Mom, I’m supposed to do a report on organic produce for my ethics class…what’s ‘produce’?”
Adults: NOW they have tons of excuses for their crappy lifestyle of eating. I’m busy, so I’ll grab something out of the vending machine or pick up KFC on the way home. And so it continues in a downward spiral. Nary an apple or an asparagus spear in sight. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes…these diseases (and others) are often preventable through excellent dietary and lifestyle habits. Many adults have made choices and will continue making choices that bring on these diseases. And then they teach their children to make the same horrible choices. And the beat goes on…