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“DEAR PARENT, YOUR CHILD IS FAT”

By Jane Thomson Above is the gist of a message that would have been sent home a couple of years ago in a harebrained plan to combat childhood obesity. Now, Michelle Obama is on the problem, and at least, she will do no harm. I was a fat child; it was not fun; and guess what ”“ my parents had noticed without being informed. When I was ten years old, after years of nagging, my mother gave me, as part of my Christmas present, a pocket-sized calorie reference book with a dial on the front to count my daily calories. The timing must have been right, as instead of hurting my feelings, the book intrigued me. I ate a lot of cantaloupe that summer, and Junket (comparable to today”'s instant sugar-free pudding mix made with skim milk). When I went back to school the following fall, I was no longer fat and clumsy, but thin and clumsy. What causes childhood obesity? I will add to the condemnation of junk food and soda advertising - cigarette companies are hardly alone in trying to get at their market as early in the kid”'s lives as possible. In my case, living in an inner-city apartment with little access to physical activity was part of the problem. Domestic turmoil surfacing at meals can lead to nervous eating. A pleasantly casual family meal would be the ideal. Parents can set an example another way: Don”'t just lock up the candy, cake, donuts, sugared soda, etc. Don”'t have them around except for special occasions. What to have around for snacks and meals? Tasty, attractive, filling foods. These can be expensive; but don”'t have to be (I will try never to have recipes in this column that call for hard-to-find or expensive ingredients.) The following recipes are adjustable ”“ unlike in baking, these ingredients do not have to be in exact proportions. (more…)

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