Childhood obesity has been exploding all across the world in recent decades. Either kids everywhere suddenly decided to stop moving for no good reason or, perhaps, it has something to do with the simultaneous spread of junk food.
Just look at this awful chart:
The only thing that didn’t look terrible was the apparent decrease in obesity in US kids in the last few years. But that fleeting hope did not last long.
A new study shows that childhood obesity rates are still rising in the US too – with a new record in the last few years.
- TIME: Childhood Obesity Rates Are Still Rising
- LA Times: Child obesity has grown unabated since 1999, study finds
- Obesity: Prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in US children, 1999-2014
Here’s what’s really interesting. Despite a massive focus on the childhood obesity problem, despite obsessing over calories, despite a first-lady-endorsed “Let’s Move” campaign, despite all this the problem is still getting worse.
So why is what we’re doing not working? To me the only reasonable answer is that we’re focusing on the wrong things. Obesity has never been caused by forgetting to count calories.
In the history of humankind kids have never counted calories… until we had an obesity epidemic. And kids never had to be told to exercise to keep thin, they always just played.
So how come kids used to be thin without any of these failed programs of today?
The answer is probably quite simple. This is not about the quantity of food available at meals. And it’s not about forced exercise. It never was. It’s about the quality of our food.