Tag Archives: Lose Weight

Childhood Obesity Rates. . . Drop?

We’re getting fatter. Except when we’re not.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Sorry about that, but, sometimes, the facts have a decided nonsensical bias.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement that read, in part:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 21% over the same period.

Obesity, in this case, is defined as having excess body fat. Being overweight means having excess body weight for a particular height.

We’ve been fighting against childhood obesity for years now. And, it seems, we’ve been winning. Partly.

While obesity rates for most Americans haven’t changed significantly over the past decade, among kids ages 2 to 5 the obesity rate dropped from 14% in 2003-2004 to just over 8% in 2011-2012, according to a report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That represents a drop of 43%, CDC said.

“I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans,” First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement. “Healthier habits are beginning to become the new norm.”

Which is, of course, good news. But we shouldn’t be getting cocky about this little, tiny piece of a very large pie.

According to the CDC report, older children made no progress, with nearly Being overweight or obese can be just the start of the problems young dudes and dudettes face when they don't eat healthily when they are younger and just learning how to control their own diets.18% of kids ages 6 to 11 remaining obese, as well as 20.5% of kids ages 12 to 19. In women over age 60, obesity rates climbed from 31% to 35.4% in the same period, the study shows.

Obesity “remains at historic highs,” says David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital, who has warned that today’s kids could be the first generation in history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents. He described the declining obesity rates among youngsters only as an “encouraging preliminary finding.”

Which means we, as parents, have to continue working with our children and ourselves to make sure we eat better, exercise more and stay healthier.

It’s one reason I’ve started losing weight. Not that I object to people telling me how good I look*, but I wanted to show my three young There are a number of different things that we can do to help combat childhood obesity.dudes that it is possible to eat well and be healthy without resorting to some bizarre diet, or giving up and getting fat. Eat less and exercise more and you will lose weight and feel better. And possibly use the word and more.

I’m not suggesting that we parents monitor every single morsel that enters the mouths of our children. That would be silly. Mostly because they will get older and they will make decisions on what to put into their own mouths when they’re not around us. So we need to show them ways to eat fun food and still be healthy. We need to show them how to determine if a food is healthy or not.

And I think we are starting to do that. We just need to keep at it. What do you say, dudes? Wanna get healthy?

Footnotes & Errata

* Because I don’t object to it at all. Please feel free to tell me that any time you see me.

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Procrastination, Or Why We Keep Putting It Off

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, dudes.

I know what you’re asking yourself: Did I really dig up a bunch of information on procrastination just so I could use that joke in the opener. Yes. Yes I did.

However, that doesn’t mean that procrastination isn’t something we can just forget about. It seriously is a problem here in Casa de Dude, especially around me. I tried to adopt the motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. I tried, but I kept waiting to actually do it.

Heck, I think so much about procrastination, I made the character in my latest novel, Until Tomorrow, the godlet of procrastination. And, no I’m not kidding. The character’s name is Tom Sure, which is short for Tomorrow, For Sure. As in, that’s when I’ll get it done.

So, yeah. Procrastination. Let’s dig in.

David McRaney over at You Are Not So Smart put up a comprehensive post on procrastination the other week and I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.

McRaney uses your Netflix queue as a great way into the idea of procrastination. Take a look at your streaming queue. There’s a ton of documentaries and important movies in there, isn’t there? I know it’s the case in my queue. It’s sad how many “great” movies I’ve got lined up to watch and, yet, never get to. Turns out, there’s a scientific reason for that. And it’s not because I’m a bone-headed ig-no-ramus.

Okay, sure, I probably am, but that’s not the reason I don’t watch all these movies.

Many studies over the years have shown you tend to have time-inconsistent preferences. When asked if you would rather have fruit or cake one week from now, you will usually say fruit. A week later when the slice of German chocolate and the apple are offered, you are statistically more likely to go for the cake.

This is why your Netflix queue is full of great films you keep passing over for “Family Guy.” With Netflix, the choice of what to watch right now and what to watch later is like candy bars versus carrot sticks. When you are planning ahead, your better angels point to the nourishing choices, but in the moment you go for what tastes good.

As behavioral economist Katherine Milkman has pointed out, this is why grocery stores put candy right next to the checkout.

This is called present bias, which is the inability to understand that our wants and desires will change over time. It’s why, as a kid, we’re always so shocked that adults, who have the time and the money, don’t really have any of the cool toys.

Present bias is why you’ve made the same resolution for the tenth year in a row, but this time you mean it. You are going to lose weight and forge a six-pack of abs so ripped you could deflect arrows.

One day you have the choice between running around the block or watching a movie, and you choose the movie. Another day you are out with friends and can choose a cheeseburger or a salad. You choose the cheeseburger.

The slips become more frequent, but you keep saying you’ll get around to it. You’ll start again on Monday, which becomes a week from Monday. Your will succumbs to a death by a thousand cuts. By the time winter comes it looks like you already know what your resolution will be the next year.

Yep, that’s procrastination.

And here’s some more. I’m going to put off the end of this post until tomorrow. McRaney just has so much good stuff I want to share, I think I’m going to have to come back for more. Join me, won’t you?

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Eating His Way Through Life

Zippy the College Boy has always been a bit. . . different.

He was the only of my three little dudes who actually broke out from the norm, diet wise, as he was growing up. Sure, he loved mac and cheese and hot dogs and the like, but he also enjoyed salads from an early age. He preferred hot dogs to burgers and absolutely would not go to Chick Fil A, no matter how much the rest of us enjoyed those delicious, delicious waffle fries.

Which made his recent dietetic switch just a little less astonishing than it might have been.

See, his mother recently decided that she needed to drop a few pounds. Personally, I thought she looked pretty much astonishing as she was, but she decided she needed to lose weight. She’s done it. She cut out almost all carbs and has dropped a significant number of pounds.

So Zippy the College Boy has watched his mom’s slimformation and decided he needed to drop a few pounds as well. Not so much as to lose weight as to get, and I quote, “ripped.” Yeah, I think he’s trying to consider what the lovely ladies down at the University of North Carolina Wilmington might be seeing when he takes off his shirt and hangs out in board shorts.

Nothing like a little advertising.

I can say that now, but in college the only thing my shirtless form was advertising was the need for blindfolds and an effective memory scrub. I understand alcohol worked well for that purpose.

Anyway.

Zippy the College Boy followed his mom down the no-to-low-carb path. Which meant he had to significantly change his eating habits. Gone were the late-night Cheeze-It binges. Gone were snarfing down a bag of Goldfish at any hour of the day. Gone were sandwiches, wraps and fries. It was, as you might expect, a major adjustment.

The thing is, though, he took to it like a duck to water. Once he got into the habit of reaching for nuts, maybe, instead of chips, he really settled into the rhythm of the no-carb.

Now, he’ll eat just about anything. He’s always been open to different foods, from salad to fish, but he’s actually eating low-carb dessert made from ricotta cheese, a very little bit of the sweetener called Stevia, vanilla extract and a bit of peanut butter, and loving it.

He’s trying cheeses that don’t come wrapped in plastic and cut into thin slices. He’s actually looking forward to trying out different kids of meats, cooked in ways other than grill or fry.

I’m loving it, which means I don’t have to put up with nearly as much whining when it comes to dinner time. Of course, when I make something differently spiced or from a different meat than normal, I still have to put up with Hyper Lad moaning and complaining, but I’m finding that easier to ignore now that I’ve got the other two people in the house right now on my side.

Growing up is easier to see. A maturing set of taste buds isn’t nearly as easy to see, but it’s definitely more fun.

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