Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is Fast Food Ban Good for Kids?

news you may not know

Changes May Take Some Getting Used to...

Sure, kids need a little prodding and poking sometimes. OK, so that may be a bit of a simplification. As most parents know, the task of raising children is a steady stream of prods, pokes, shoves, and nudges. But, when they look at you with those puppy dog eyes and plant a slobbery kiss on your cheek - well, it all seems well worth the effort.

But, how far is too far - especially when it comes to basic freedoms. And, of course, what is more deeply ingrained in the American culture than the right to watch telvision - and, of course, the rights of advertisers to entice you with their wares as you watch?

Well, this is where it gets a bit sticky. Think sticky bun sticky.

New research indicates banning fast food commercials on television would reduce childhood obesity by as much as 18 percent. That's a big number and, despite the concerns over heavy-handed restrictions, something that can't be easily dismissed. Several countries, including Sweden and Norway, have already instituted just such bans.

Is it really that serious? Well, the statistics are rather startling. Kids watch an average of 40,000 television commercials each year. That's 40,000 missed opportunirties to be doing something physical. And, of course, obesity in America continues to explode. Almost 14 percent of children between 2 and 5 are overweight, and the numbers simply rise as they grow older.

So, let the debates begin. Or, if you're not the kind who enjoys the daily fights, take the alternate route - grab your kids, pack a lunch and head to the park. It won't help settle the debate, but you won't care - your kids will be having a great time working up a healthy appetite and you, well... You'll be waiting for that next slobbery puppy dog kiss to land.

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To learn more about healthy exercise habits for kids, see this from


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