SPRINGFIELD – With today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s no wonder that more families are turning to fast food, takeout and convenience foods. Between school, meetings, soccer practice and music rehearsals, many parents find themselves zipping through a drive-thru for dinner more often than not.
According to the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, childhood obesity is now one of the top health concerns of parents, topping smoking. Today, nearly one in three children is considered overweight or obese, triple that of 1963.
Research shows a dramatic increase in children suffering from diseases usually reserved until adulthood including Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Obesity also serves as a major risk factor for developing heart disease and stroke, our nation’s leading causes of death.
It’s important for parents to set a good example when making food choices on the go. Children like to follow their actions, so parents should make sure the food on your plate is just as healthy as the food on theirs.
In today’s world, schedules are hectic and we sometimes turn to take out or restaurants for meals. Making better choices can make all the difference in overall health.
The American Stroke Association offers the additional advice when eating out:
• Avoid excess meat or cheese,
• Drink water instead of soda or sports drinks,
• Choose grilled options instead of fried,
• Try eating a sandwich open-faced style, therefore eliminating half a bun,
• Hold the mayo or high-calorie sauces; and
• Avoid bacon on sandwiches. Instead order pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup instead to add flavor without fat.
One in three Americans will die from heart disease and on average, every 40 seconds, someone has a stroke. For more information about healthy family eating, heart health or stroke awareness, visit www.heart.org