Ironically, Thanksgiving—the holiday when we gobble down the biggest meal of the year—may serve as “a turning point in winning the war on childhood obesity and improving family health,” according to a new campaign from KidsPeace, a national charity that assists children who are dealing with trauma, depression, eating disorders and the daily stresses of life.
“Join the Fight, Help Kids Eat Right” has two key goals:
- Attack obesity’s physical and nutritional aspects by encouraging families to eat adult-supervised, healthful home-cooked meals—beginning with Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner.
- Attack obesity’s underlying emotional precursors by encouraging families to use the dinner hour to problem-solve with kids.
Children who regularly eat dinner with their families face fewer health and behavioral risks, according to major studies. Unfortunately, a recent national study by KidsPeace and Boys & Girls Clubs of America revealed that 51% of U.S. parents say their children don’t eat enough nutritious foods—and roughly 40% eat home-cooked meals with their kids less than once a day.
“It’s not always just what our kids are eating,” says KidsPeace President and CEO C.T. O’Donnell. “Sometimes, it’s what’s eating our kids. America has more diets and more diet advice than any nation on earth, but our kids keep getting bigger and bigger. We will never win this battle until we help kids eat right and solve the emotional roots of overeating. Research shows that sitting families down at the dinner table works to improve physical and behavioral health. Perhaps the archetypal American meal embodied by the Pilgrims’ famous dinner is the model and paradigm upon which we can rebuild healthy families in this modern age. If we’re to win this battle, we have to fight it over the dining room table, as well as on the battlefields of our children’s day-to-day lives. Now’s as good a time as any to start.”