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Curb childhood obesity with good habits


Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too? I’m up to the challenge to show you that you can. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The percentage of children just ages 6-11 who are obese has risen from 7 percent in 1980 to 20 percent in 2008. Some schools have already taken an initiative to tackle the obesity issue by banning sugary snacks and drinks. But according to a recent study, weight gain in children has nothing to do with junk food consumption, but was in fact because of poor eating habits developed at a young age. Most of these children make bad food choices because they are used to eating these fatty, high-calorie foods at home. Parents enable bad eating habits in their children without even knowing it.

Obesity in children can lead to many risk factors, from cardiovascular disease to Type 2 diabetes, but there are steps children can take to reduce the risk. Eating healthier and becoming more active are options, but children are still going to have cravings for unhealthy sweet treats. So instead of denying a child cupcakes and pastries, why not transform the fatty, high-calorie cupcake into a healthy cupcake filled with nutritious ingredients? In my “Ethics in Science” Colloquium, taught by School of Arts and Sciences associate research professor Julie Fagan, my partner and I assumed the challenge of coming up with healthy cupcake recipes appealing to children. Our new recipes would not only be delicious but they would have hidden fruits, vegetables and whole grain to add nutritional value. Parents will not feel guilty feeding these treats to their children. We believe we can transform children’s eating habits, and our goal is to have bakeries, schools and supermarkets start selling our cupcakes.

Childhood obesity is a crisis in the United States, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help stop the cycle. We are doing this service project because we want the 25 percent of childhood dreams that fall to obesity to become a reality. We will be conducting a taste test for our cupcakes, and we would love for anyone that is going to be in the area to stop by and tell us what you think. The taste test will take place April 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the F1 Lecture Hall of the Alexander Library on the College Avenue campus. Students’ videos and project presentations will also take place at the taste test, as well as a student author book signing. Help children make the right decisions about food and take a stand against childhood obesity.

Stephanie Adjei-Twum is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior majoring in public health with a minor in biological sciences.

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