This is more of an appalling rant than a blog post, so bear with me.
We had a chance to visit the Toronto Zoo this weekend with our 9-month old daughter and my parents (who are visiting from Mexico) this past weekend. It was a beautiful, if not a bit on the warmer side of things. The zoo is enormous, there is so much to see and so much walking!! We concentrated our efforts on the Africa Pavilion/Savannah, which proved to be a great experience for the whole family.
We have a habit of not only watching the animals, but we occasionally indulge in a little bit of people watching. And I am appalled at what I saw. I find it very difficult to watch what some parents are choosing to feed their children. A few of the more shocking ones (at least to me): A family with 3 young children, all had orange soda in their glasses, including the baby’s bottle. A very obese mom feeding her very obese 3 year old and baby a large popsicle. Half an hour later, I saw them again, only this time, the baby was screaming and crying – coming down from a sugar high perhaps? And finally, a family walking in with a child in a stroller, and three other children – one carrying a bag of Cheetos and the rest eating powdered donuts.
Yes, I’m judgmental about this. And I often make comments under my breath that if I’m not careful, could be overheard (don’t get me started on when I see parents smoking with a child in the car – which is now illegal btw). Here’s the thing – as adults, go ahead and make all of the awful food choices you like. Drink several litres of pop a day. Don’t bother to exercise – it’s your choice. But the children – they eat what you give them! They don’t have the option of making the right choice if it’s not offered!! Childhood obesity is an EPIDEMIC – not just for our neighbors to the south but in Canada as well. It’s estimate now 1/3 of Canadian children are overweight or obese.
The old excuse that it’s too expensive to buy healthy food – I’m not buying it – especially since it costs about $60-100 for a family to go to the zoo in the first place. And they allow picnics, so it’s even cheaper to pack a healthy lunch and water, rather than buy it! Perhaps it’s a lack of education and understand on the part of the parents? Ok, I might buy that one, but I think it’s pretty hard to avoid the message of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle these days and the importance of getting our kids moving.
So what can I do instead of ranting? Well, continue to spread the word about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for families and take care of my own family too. And encourage all of you to take a look at what Jamie Oliver’s doing with The Food Revolution – I love what he’s trying to do and support him 100%. Check in below, do you agree, disagree or perhaps you can understand why some parents might be making these choices?