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Poll: One in Three Martinez Kids Are Fat. What Should We Do?

What do we do about the fact that 33 percent of our 5th, 7th and 9th graders are overweight or obese. What should families do? What should government do?

Just about one out of three kids in Martinez are overweight or obese according to a study by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Researchers found that 33 percent of 5th, 7th and 9th graders in Martinez are overweight or obese. 

The lowest obesity rate in Contra Costa County was found in Danville at 16.5 percent. The countywide average was 33.9 percent.

The statewide average obesity rate of the more than 250 cities studied was 38 percent.

Rates ranged from as low as 11 percent in affluent Manhattan Beach to 53 percent for Huntington Park, a factory town. Both are in Los Angeles County. 

Study calls for government action 

The study's authors detailed their methods and the ramifications of their findings, principally that overweight kids tend to grow into overweight adults with all the health problems associated therewith.

The findings are accompanied by nine policy recommendations, including:

  • eliminating the sale of fatty foods and high calorie drinks on public facilties;
  • establishing taxes on sugary drinks at the state and local levels to pay for the harmful effects of those products and remediate their effects;
  • eliminating advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and youth.

Where do you stand?

Do you consider youth obesity primarily a family problem or a community problem? 

Would you put the primary responsibility on parents to cut back on junk foods and video games and promote healthier foods and exercise?

Or should the community play the leading role, all the way from promoting good food and exercise to imposing taxes and advertising restrictions?

Or do you favor a mixture of the above?

Leave a comment below and vote in our Poll.

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Kriss Kastl June 14, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Parents need to restrict children's foods to healthy only. Parents need to get kids involved in some sort of exercise. The schools need to start P.E. for all grades levels every day.
Jroberts June 14, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I feel in some cases, you are right is it is expensive to eat healthy, but frozen fruits and vegetables are very affordable and have just as many nutrients. I think a lot of it comes down to parents laziness in cooking a healthy meal. Full time working parents are tired and sometimes it's just easier for them to feed their kids fast food and things like pizza then it is to cook. But i find a meal of grilled chicken, corn on the cob and some grilled potatoes takes about 5 minutes to prep, 15 to cook and is tasty and healthy. Education for the parents is key to help them to learn how to cook well for their kids. That and turn off the TV.
Cindy June 14, 2012 at 06:45 PM
First it IS expensive to eat health. It can be done if you have a reasonable budget to work with. A low income household will find it very difficult to eat healthy. Try to feed a family on less then $10.00 per day using fresh ingredients. Its tough. Our first priority should be to look at new ways to grow & distribute our food. I just read on a Dylan Ratigan blog that there is a farming technique I believe he referred to it as Hydrophonic organic farming. You get twice as much high qualify food using 90% less soil and water. We have to make health food available and also easy to access for everyone...not just the lucky ones who have solid income. Somewhere we have gotten the idea that we need to be running in 10 different directions in order to have a full life. That type of lifestyle leaves very little time for meal planning, food preparation and energy to cook. If we make dining a priority just possible we will slow down a bit and learn to realize that cooking and eating a home cooked meal is really an enjoyable activity. The bonus is you get to know your kids and relax.
Sarah Lauer June 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I think it is important not to make overweight and obese children feel bad because of their body size. Recent studies have shown that overweight people can be healthy if they practice healthy eating habits and get regular exercise (see Health at Any Size by Linda Bacon). If you educate children about healthy eating and exercise and provide the opportunity to eat healthy foods and exercise, whatever weight that is supposed to come off will come off. If not, the kids will still be healthier.
George March September 02, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Put real equipment back in playgrounds! Where are the big swings? Where are the slides of varying heights? Where are the teeter-totters? Where are the rings? Where are the monkey bars? Where are the spinning merry-go-rounds (or whatever they're called)? All of those playground kinds of equipment foster(ed) true physical activity and balance. What do we see in parks today? Plastic (everything) platforms that rise in 1 or 2 step increments and short, flat-angle slides and not a whole lot else. So kids these days see climbing a couple of steps as physical activity because that's what the law says is 'safe'. How will kids ever learn their physical capabilities or limits if they are constantly coddled? It is a travesty that lawsuits, and lawyers, are such a driving force in society. Bring back the real, good 'ol solid metal playground equipment.

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