All that we’re saying, is give peas a chance

April 24, 2009

I recently was in the audience of a Professional Writing presentation on childhood obesity.  As an obese (30lbs or more overweight) person I found the presentation fascinating.  I have probably been overweight (20lbs or less more than you “should” weigh) my whole life, but only recently discovered that I am officially obese. I discovered this because of video-games.  The Wii Fit system which measures you, weighs you, calculates your body mass index or BMI, and then tells you if you are overweight, underweight, obese, etc.  I was alarmed when my dashing Mii (sporting a green shirt, green hat, and beard – so you know it’s me) ballooned to the size of the fattest available character.  I wasn’t alarmed enough to continue using Wii Fit or alarmed enough to actually start exercising, but I was alarmed.

The presentation mentioned that Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) are used in school gym classes as motivation to get kids involved and active.  Video-games are no longer to blame for our children’s obesity.  Call me cynical, but I think that is just a marketing campaign – and those schools that use it fell hook, line, and sinker.  You don’t actually become encouraged to run after playing Wii or to go dancing after playing DDR, in fact, you really only want to play those games more.  So are kids becoming more fit?  Are they excited about exercise, thinking that it may now be fun?  No, they’re running home begging mommy and daddy for a new Wii or Playstation etc, etc, etc.  Best part of all is that they can use its health benefits as a justification for them to get it.  Of course, the health benefits of Wii Fit or DDR are lost when the kids pick up Star Wars Battlefront or Raving Rabbits or whatever else of the millions of non-active, not exercising promoting games that are available.

I’m not going to say that it is the parent’s fault their kids are obese.  It certainly was not my parents’ fault.  My parents fed me family dinners, we rarely went out, and I wasn’t allowed sugary cereal.  My problem was laziness and late night eating.  I’d run around the neighborhood but more often we’d sit on the curb and tell jokes.  I’d eat “healthy” food like cheerios but more often at midnight (a very unhealthy habit).  Making healthy choices when eating is important.  Having a more active life style is important.  These things have to be done as part of life’s balance.  Not all salad, all the time.  Not no chocolate ever, no sugar ever, no nothing ever.  Balance!  The best presentation, at the end, demonstrated that eating healthy is simply recognizing what we already eat that is part of a healthy well-balanced diet.  The example was a cheeseburger and watermelon.  No one is gonna say a cheeseburger is healthy, right?  Wrong.  Sure, McDonalds isn’t ever likely going to be a diet option but a homemade piece of hamburg with lettuce, tomato, on a whole-wheat bun with watermelon for dessert is not only well-balanced, but a delicious enticing way to show kids that it isn’t what you don’t eat that makes your diet but what you do eat.

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3 Responses to “All that we’re saying, is give peas a chance”

  1. Notelrac said

    For many people, 2500 calories a day is a sufficient intake. Here’s what you can get as a “supersized” meal at McDonalds, according to http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com

    Double Quarter Pounder® with Cheese 740
    Large French Fries 500
    Vanilla Triple Thick® Shake (32 fl oz) 1110

    Total, 2350 calories. One meal, a whole day’s worth of calories…

    • thebeerphilosopher said

      Now if only they could dehydrate all of those things, grind it into powder, and put it in a gel cap. There’s my dinner in pill form.

      Like Tang, only greasier.

  2. theundefeatedrookiesensation said

    “Video-games are no longer to blame for our children’s obesity.”

    I would say that vidja games were never to blame for childhood obesity. No more than television or reading. Late night snacking is certainly what did me in. That and I played vidja games and watched TV and read books while I was eating cold spaghetti at midnight instead of exercising.

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