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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow OUR VIEW: Fairs help battle of the bulge

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OUR VIEW: Fairs help battle of the bulge

The percent of overweight children has doubled since the 1960s.

Only one in five American children consume the recommended five or more fruits and vegetables a day.

With those facts in mind, it’s good the Healthy SNACZ Fairs are taking place in Cove, Elgin, Imbler, North Powder and Union last week and this week. The fairs are for fourth through eight grade students. Yet all children — and adults too for that matter — need to take the information to heart, because it’s their heart that they’re going to save.

Few items are more important than learning to make good nutrition choices. It’s a lifelong skill — with temptations everywhere in all waking hours in this land of plenty — and at least some of the students will take home the information to help their families become more healthy.

We all know, deep down, that good nutrition leads to better health and a happier life. So why is it so hard to stay the course? Most people eat several times a day and perhaps consume a couple of snacks. Each time a meal is prepared, or one eats out at a restaurant or fast food joint or grabs a snack, choices are being made. These choices can slowly, incrementally drag us down or lift us up. 

It’s our choice.

Good nutrition starts with making healthy choices in the grocery store aisle. A smorgasbord of temptations await. Many so-called “food products,” the processed food made to tempt the American palate, are breathtakingly high in sugar, salt and fat. Those three culprits are the triumvirate that has led to the childhood obesity epidemic — and the obesity epidemic in general — as the American population becomes increasingly overweight.

What’s at stake? Our physical health and our financial health. With the skyrocketing cost of health care, and the big bite insurance takes out of pocketbooks, it’s important that Americans get their health under control. Eating healthy foods, however, won’t prevent all sickness. Even people who exercise relentlessly and eat healthy can get struck down with the occasional illness. There are no guarantees.

Still, making healthy choices improves the odds that we will stay sharp, clear and vibrant more of the time and have less chance of succumbing to the big killers — cancer, heart disease and diabetes. We can have a better quality of life through getting in the habit of making good choices.

If the students learn to make better choices, more of the time, and pass this information on to their families, the Healthy SNACZ Fairs will have made a difference.

The tide of fast food and products laced with extraordinary amounts of sugar, fat and salt is strong. Every victory counts. A little information can make a big difference in reversing that tide and living healthier lives.

The sooner we start in life on making good choices, the better off we will be.

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