Face it, parents. You’re part of the problem.
Some of you have set a bad example for your kids, reaching for a bag of chips or grabbing cookies when you could have bought some apples, salad or baby carrots to satisfy your cravings.
When it comes to the problem of Americans’ growing waistlines, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Food manufacturers, restaurants, advertisers and schools have been hit with criticism, but health experts at Arizona State University and The Discovery Institute for Women’s Health in Phoenix believe it’s time to address the widespread weight problem by starting with the home.
Thursday, ASU Research Park in Tempe is hosting a women’s forum on obesity, hoping to inspire health professionals to target mothers with messages of good nutrition.
"We feel that women are really the gateway to the obesity issue," said institute director Marsh Kolich. "It’s mom that makes the decision to stop at McDonald’s or stop somewhere else. It’s women generally who have decisionmaking control over many family members."
The Arizona Department of Health Services, Scottsdale Healthcare and Northern Arizona University are partners involved with the conference.
Kolich expects that the audience will include health care professionals and experts that she hopes will learn some strategies for tackling the obesity problem in their communities.
Health experts are focused on reducing obesity because it is linked to a variety of other illnesses, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
Almost a quarter of Arizona’s low-income children ages 2 to 5 are overweight, and a quarter of Arizona high school students are either already overweight or showing signs that they could become overweight.
The conference, which costs $35 to register, will be at the research park’s Edward Jones Training Center, 8333 S. River Parkway. Call (602) 569-2888.
In Arizona, obesity and overweight affect:
• 56 percent of adults
• 27 percent of Hispanic adults
• 24 percent of low-income children ages 2 to 5
• 24 percent of high school students
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention