Child obesity

Kids, Eat Your Veggies

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February 12  |  Community  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . “Kids, eat your veggies.”

How many times did each of us hear that admonishment as a child? In my house, it was often met with groans and grumbles.

Yet it worked. By making fruits and vegetables attractive and accessible, my parents engrained in me a love for healthy foods.

This should take place in every child’s house, as well as every “school house” – and through our “Salad Bars for Schools” campaign with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Health Trust and title sponsor Lam Research, our Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation is doing just that.

Our ambitious 3-year goal is to place salad bars in 100 Silicon Valley K-8 schools. The research is clear and compelling: If kids have healthy choices, they actually eat them. Imagine that.

In year one of our 3-year goal, we are able to fund salad bars in 35 local schools through our inaugural Lam Research “Heart & Soles 5K” run. On February 8, on a soggy Saturday morning at San Jose’s Hellyer Park, nearly 900 hearty soles registered for our run. Along with the generous support of 20 Silicon Valley Leadership Group companies, thousands of school kids will eat better every school day.

Fruits and veggies. Salad bars in schools. Now that’s an effort that’s easy to swallow.

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Childhood Obesity Rates Are Down – More Work to be Done

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August 21  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of low-income obese children ages 2 to 4 dipped in California from 17.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Childhood obesity rates went down in 19 states, up in three states and stayed the same in 20 states.

For the math majors who noted the new study only accounts for 42 of the 50 states, the CDC reports that eight states were not included in the study.

Setting aside how troubled I am that any child could be obese – let alone more than 17 percent of the Golden State’s 2-to-4-year-olds – let’s talk about how progress is being made:

  • First, more health care institutions offer weight-management programs, including increased exercise and portion control.
  • Second, better food choices are being offered in schools.

It’s the second area – food choices in schools – where we can all play a role at the local and statewide level. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is increasing its focus here. In-depth discussions continue with California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction about how we can ensure that Silicon Valley kids can choose something other than “deep fried fat” in the school cafeteria, and that healthy foods and snacks are presented in a desirable way to capture the attention of our kids. You should speak to your local school and school board about this, too.

Bluntly, our kids deserve a better start – because where you start often determines where you end up. Children are five times more likely to be obese as adults if they were obese as a child. Now that’s a reality we need to digest.

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