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Educating kids on healthy eating

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Obesity is not a joke, regardless of what TV sitcoms and movie comedies sometimes portray.

For starters, think of TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” “More to Love and “Insatiable” and movies “Shallow Hal,”  “Drive Angry” and ““Papadopoulos & Sons.” The shows make it seem OK to make fun of people who are not at a healthy weight.

But that’s wrong.

For those who suffer from this disease, carrying extra pounds is anything but a laughing matter. The American Medical Association didn’t even officially call it a disease until August 2013, eventually going against a recommendation from its Public Health and Science Committee.

But that decision made five years ago brings a much needed awareness on obesity impacts, treatment options, and better yet, prevention tools to avoid struggling daily with a weight problem.

Being overweight increases the risk for many serious conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease,  strokes, cancer, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease and kidney disease.

According to National Institutes of Health data in 2014,

*         More than one in three adults are overweight

*         More than two in three adults are overweight or have obesity

*         More than one in three adults have obesity

*         About one in 13 adults have extreme obesity

*         About one in six children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 have obesity.

In California, 18 million California adults and adolescents are considered overweight or obese and about 7.4 million of them are obese, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in 2015.

We want residents to be healthy and cutting down on obesity is crucial.

One way to help individuals avoid weight problems is to give them smarter food choices.

If we show children which foods offer the best nutrients, they will become proactive all their lives in keeping a healthy weight by eating right.

Plus eating properly will help children have the optimal energy they need during the school day and aid in their bone and muscle development.

So we appreciate efforts by University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program Placer/Nevada counties for its work in area schools. The CalFresh educators are teaching students about the best possible food choices and showing why it’s important to eat from the five food groups.

It’s never too early or too late to start eating better. All of us need to occasionally remember to eat more nutritionally so that we maintain our ideal weight and hopefully prevent diseases. It’s a reminder that benefits us every day of the year.