The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 brought nutrition and healthy food choices into the forefront of the national dialog, but it is hardly a new concern. A look at the division of space in any supermarket reveals the scarcity of fresh whole foods we are eating as compared with processed food (which is full of empty calories, preservatives and added “flavors”, colors, and “nutrients”). And that’s just what we eat at home.
A recent study by LivingSocial showed that Americans eat out, on average, nearly 5 times a week. From 2007 to 2010, adults consumed, on average, 11.3% of their total daily calories from fast food. Where we eat out, and what we eat when we do, can have drastically different outcomes for our health.
What is the result of these choices? We have seen increases in obesity rates, as well as food-related illness, such as heart disease and diabetes – and it isn’t only affecting adults. According to the CDC, almost 1 in 4 adolescents have blood sugar levels that qualify as pre-diabetic (an indicator of developing type 2 diabetes). And in 2010, more than 33% of children and adolescents were classified as overweight or obese. This is a trend that needs to be reversed.