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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A recent study indicated that in order for the USA to reach its goals for reducing obesity rates by 2020, children need to eliminate an average of 64 excess calories per day. This average varies according to ethnicity and socioeconomic class, and you can read a more complete summary here.

I'm not proposing that we put kids on strict diets, or that we need to stress over obesity rates. Continually talking about being "fat" or "skinny" probably does more harm than good to a child's psyche.

Instead, I want to point out how just small changes can help an individual (and a family, and a society) increase its health and well-being. Reducing 64 calories can mean an extra 30 minutes a day of outdoor play, or eliminating 1 chocolate chip cookie. You can get closer to that goal by taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or by regularly choosing water over your preferred iced tea or soda. And kids get more active when there is a variety of toy choices.

Again, the goal is not to stress over body weight itself, but to promote a lifestyle of health.

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image courtesy of richardsweet via rgbstock.com

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