Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Childhood obesity

There was a quick piece on the rise of childhood obesity on the news this evening. In the piece, the news organization said childhood obesity had been on the rise since 1963.

I blame convenience food. I've been blaming convenience food for quite a while. I remember being a teenager, and how easily I could have eaten a can of Chef Boyardee spagetti for every meal, without fail, if given the opportunity. It wasn't because I loved the food. It's because it was sweet and tart and easy.


"Easy" in those days meant washing a pot afterward. And a bowl and a spoon. Nowadays, "easy" means throwing out the paper napkin you used as plate and napkin both, for your corn dog that came individually-wrapped in plastic. Where I used a stove (a gas stove, I might add), these days' kids use the microwave. Put the pre-wrapped item in the oven, press a button, wait 60 seconds, and then put the item on a napkin. When you're done, the waste goes in the trash. No preparation. No clean-up. Just eat.

Just eat.

I think it's significant. I live with a kid that is remarkably conservative about how much he consumes, and he's additionally willing to walk home each day from school (to the point that I worry that he won't take the bus when he needs to do so, but that's a different story). I'm pretty happy with where he's going with his health, except that when he's on his own, if not taunted by my comments, he'll eat... canned pasta and frozen corn dogs.

Canned pasta and frozen corn dogs aren't good for you. And kids who start their lives eating this stuff are in a real bind.

I know some parents. It is clearly not easy to get kids to eat stuff that's good for them. Then if you're busy, to get kids to MAKE stuff that's good for them? It's practically hopeless. "Honey, I'm going to be busy studying for my doctorate tonight, so I'm going to need you to make you're own dinner. Can you chop up some fresh vegetables for a salad instead of eating two of those frozen corn dogs from the freezer?" COME ON.

It's ridiculous.

Anyway, they said "1963."

When did the microwave become affordable in the average household?

Early 1960s.

When did TV dinners become common? When they started including desserts.

In the 1960s.

I don't think I'm crazy. Convenience is killing our kids.

Thank goodness I don't have one of my own, eh? Be drivin' me nuts.

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