With childhood obesity on the rise, it’s important to consider all of the possible contributing factors. And, research is showing that kids who consistently eat school lunches instead of bringing food from home are more likely to be obese. In one study of 1,000 sixth graders in Michigan, they found that those who ate school lunches had a obesity risk that was 30% higher than the brown baggers.
If your child is taking part in an adolescent weight loss program, packing a lunch at home that is full of low-fat, healthy foods is one thing that you can do to help him reach is weight loss goal. Make sure that you include fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Investing in an insulated lunch box to keep food cool and appetizing even in the Phoenix, Arizona heat can help your child enjoy home prepared lunches.
Among the other factors that increased obesity risk:
- Lack of regular exercise. Kids who did not get at least 20 minutes of exercise per day had an obesity risk that was 11 percent higher than those who did.
- Not getting enough dairy. Those who drank milk daily were less likely to be obese than those who did not.
- Consuming soda and other sugared drinks. Kids who were daily soda drinkers had a 40 percent chance of being obese, versus 30 percent for the non-soda-imbibing population.
There are nationwide efforts taking place to reduce the levels of childhood obesity. One such program, Project Healthy Schools, has launched a multi-part campaign to help improve obesity levels. Their efforts include improving the make-up of school lunches, replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with bottled water and educating students and parents about healthy food choices.