A Lesson from Overweight Kids and Two Dead Fitness Icons

Having overweight kids is often the result of working mother’s not having the time to prepare home prepared meals. The need for proper nutrition is underscored by the deaths of two fitness icons.

overweight kidsEat at Home – Save Your Life

THE HIGHLY acclaimed Dr. Mark Hyman pulls no punches in his article about How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life.  He starts off like this:

“The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties.”

And then continues on with gut-punching statistics to underscore his contention, such as:

  • In 1900, two percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s.
  • Children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana.
  • Kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.

After describing the problem, Dr. Hyman then details some tips people, particularly parents, can follow that “will help you take back the family dinner in your home starting today”.

overweight kidsWorking Mom’s = Overweight Kids

Continuing on with family dynamics, here’s an article from Health.com that will set your hair on fire if you have kids: Childhood Obesity: The Longer Mom Works, the More Overweight the Kids.

The first sentence sets the stage for the unhappy drama to unfold:

“Over the past 35 years, the percentage of U.S. mothers who hold down a job while raising kids has soared, from less than 50 percent to more than 70 percent. The childhood obesity rate — which is now close to 17 percent — has more than tripled during the same time frame.”

The analytical among you might discern that there can be a looming difference between causal and coincidental effects: “causal” meaning that one thing causes the other; whereas “coincidental” meaning that, yes, both things happened but they’re unrelated.

Taryn Morrissey, Ph.D., an assistant professor of public administration and policy at American University in Washington, D.C., takes a stab at connecting the dots via a study she authored, wherein she states: “It is not the mother’s employment, but the environment… There needs to be improved access to healthy foods.”

For more conclusions of Morriseey’s study, go read the article.

Lessons from the Death of Fitness Icons

Another insightful article to read is one authored by the famous food and health guru, John Robinson, entitled:  What Should We Learn From The Deaths Of Fitness Icons?

Here, Mr. Robinson, pivots off the recent death of fitness icon Jack LaLanne to emphasize that BOTH life long exercise AND healthy eating are the keys to a long, vital and healthy life.

His comparative examples are Jack LaLanne and Jim Fixx.  Jack LaLanne exemplified the life of one committed to both exercise and diet.  Jim Fixx believed only exercise – running – was necessary for a healthy life.

You runners over 40 might remember Jim Fixx.  He is often cited as one of the biggest influencers of the running craze that began in the 70’s.  Seemingly, the paragon of health, he dropped dead from a heart attack at age 43 while running.

LaLanne lived to be 96.

Robinson retells a conversation that nutritionist Nathan Pritikin had with Mr. Fixx that summarizes the point of this story and perhaps will encourage you to read more about it:

Jim Fixx phoned me and criticized the chapter “Run and Die on the American Diet” in my book The Pritikin Promise. In that chapter, I said that many runners on the average American diet have died and will continue to drop dead during or shortly after long-distance events or training sessions. Jim thought the chapter was hysterical in tone and would frighten a lot of runners. I told him that was my intention. I hoped it would frighten them into changing their diets. I explained that I think it is better to be hysterical before someone dies than after. Too many men, I told Jim, had already died because they believed that anyone who could run a marathon in under four hours and who was a nonsmoker had absolute immunity from having a heart attack.

Your Takeaway

Remember these three things:

  1. The displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties.
  2. The ever-increasing rate of working moms has diminished the amount of quality nutrition consumed by their children, which has contributed to a spike in childhood obesity.
  3. Just as for an adult, to be healthy, a child needs consistent exercise and high quality food that is nutritious.


Last Updated on February 20, 2021 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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