Family Life: Are We There Yet? |

Family Life: Are We There Yet?

Well, it’s official. Kids in America are fat.

I was sitting in the drive-thru at Wendy’s the other day when I heard the news. Researchers have scoured the globe studying the size and girth of children from all walks of life and American kids came up the clear winners. Yep, we may not have the smartest kids on the planet, but they are the fattest.

Now, I don’t want to point fingers but I recently saw a mom feeding her 18-month old daughter Dr. Pepper in a baby bottle. Throw in a Happy Meal for lunch, some Oreos for snack, top it all off with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for dinner and you’ve pretty much obliterated the four food groups (albeit, put a smile on the faces of American children everywhere).

Yes, while other countries are starting their kids off with a breakfast of scrambled tofu and rice, ours are starting their day sucking pop from a baby bottle.

I listened intently to the new research as I nibbled my fries and thought about how things have changed. When I was in school, no food was allowed in the classroom (unless it was birthday cupcakes). Today, kids are encouraged to bring in a healthy snack to help them make it between meals.

And I can certainly see the benefit because now in schools across the country kids are nibbling on Doritos, Fruit Roll-Ups, chocolate-covered chewy bars and other healthy stuff. Oh, sure, there are a few kids whose moms do yoga and pack them real fruit, but they just don’t look healthy.

My own kindergartner announced to me the other day that she couldn’t wait to get to high school because in high school you get to drink Coke every day. Apparently we’re depriving her of life’s little luxuries.

What my daughter doesn’t realize yet is that across this fat nation high schools contract with Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut to provide lunch for its students. Yep, teenagers can now eat their way through the fast-food aisle of high school.

Time magazine even did a recent cover story on the surge in cases of Type 2 Diabetes in children. Most of the kids featured consumed plenty of sugar and carbohydrates and were (surprise!) overweight. There were a few thin exceptions to the rule, but they probably just had a freakishly high metabolism that burned off the excess amount of high fructose corn syrup they consumed on a daily basis.

So, here’s the part I don’t get: I know lots of “pleasantly plump” kids who get plenty of exercise. I’ve witnessed myself the physical exertion it takes to unload and reload a game cube, for example, or how they contort their bodies on the couch while fighting off medieval X-Box enemies. After that it’s off to watch “Survivor” or “The Bachelor” or some other educational documentary on TV. It’s exhausting!

But, there’s no arguing with research – like it or not, our kids are fat. I think I’ll just Biggee-size my Coke and contemplate the possibility that they all have a thyroid problem.

Charla Belinski is giving up French fries, Coke and TV for the summer break. She hopes her kids do, too. Charla’s column appears every other week in the Post Independent. E-mail her at Belinski is giving up French fries, Coke and TV for the summer break. She hopes her kids do, too. Charla’s column appears every other week in the Post Independent. E-mail her at

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