Fighting Obesity on the Playground

Ebony contributor dream hampton's father and stepfather died of heart attacks that could have been prevented with a better diet. To combat unhealthy eating habits among the next generation, she's tackling the issue with MomsRising.org.

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It's no secret that obesity and childhood obesity is a problem in America, and Ebony contributor dream hampton writes how she and a group of mothers through the organization MomsRising.org are trying to transform America's nutritional future.

In his partly autobiographical documentary, Soul Food Junkies, Byron Hurt investigates African-Americans' attachment to food traditions, and challenges his audience to take a closer look at those relationships. He returns to his own father's death, made premature by what he speculates was overeating brought on by deep depression.

Junkies isn't all blues. Hurt offers a sometimes hilarious look at our affinity to foods like fried chicken, fat-flavored collard greens, and fried pork chops despite the knowledge that these foods increase risks for diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, stokes, heart disease and obesity. 

What's no laughing matter are the alarming statistics that predict that this generation of young people can expect to die sooner than their parents. African-American children suffer from obesity at a greater rate than white children. There are many complex factors that contribute to this epidemic. But one factor, junk foods sold in schools, is being tackled by parents nationwide. The USDA recently issued proposed nutritional guidelines on food sold in vending machines and à la carte lines. And a study by Kids' Safe & Healthful Foods Project, a joint project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that parents nationwide broadly support the creation of strong guidelines.

The organization I work with, MomsRising.orgis committed to food justice for our children and families. We believe in mothers uniting to take back control of our kids' nutrition and of our family health. We believe that together we can break down the structural barriers that are keeping everyone from having access to healthy foods. Mothers voices together can have an incredible impact on everything from making sure healthier foods are served and available in schools, to making sure vending machines have nutritious options, to passing laws to support childhood nutrition, as well as to limiting the junk food marketing that's aimed at our children. 

Read dream hampton's entire piece at Ebony.

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