Junk Foods

Black, Hispanic Kids Targeted by Ads for Junk Foods

Black, Hispanic Kids Targeted by Ads for Junk Foods

Education, awareness (and exercise) are needed from all sides to address poor eating habits and improve children's health especially in low income communities: parents, kids, schools. Media isn't to blame but highly influential.

Education and awareness obviously starts at home. Sedentary habits like watching more television, playing with phones, video games and paired with poor eating habits and less exercise all contribute to rising rates of childhood obesity. Parents' diets and habits highly influence their children. Find exercise activities to do together. Go for a hike, visit a local park. Take a family cooking class that includes healthy snacks and meals. Shop the local farmers market and eat fresh vegetables and whole foods over processed foods, when possible and available.

Eating healthier doesn't have to break the budget, be time-consuming or require gourmet culinary skills. There's nothing wrong with frozen vegetables as an alternative. Frozen is more nutritious and usually lower in sodium than canned and often more eco-friendly than conventional "fresh" produce, picked prematurely, delayed in storage facilities, then shipped over thousands of food miles. Canned or instant soups can be made healthier by adding water, chopped vegetables, beans, rice or whole-grain noodles which boost nutrition and fiber and lowers original sodium content than eating the soup by itself.

I love snacking, too! Mix in fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers, nuts, natural cheese. Limit servings by putting them in mini-bowls or only a "handful" rather than eating them directly from the bag or box.

Get more involved with schools and your local community. Some school districts have even cut back or eliminated physical education time. Find out what your district policies are and what corporate partners may have supplier or marketing contracts that increase in-school exposure to soda and junk food machines or have favored product placement or procurement in cafeterias. Support or lobby for Farm to School programs and volunteer or donate to community gardens.



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