Gray: Give children fuel to run the world

Yes, obesity is linked to aches and pains, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disorders, diabetes, heart disease and even depression. But people are not scared straight by the threat of health problems down the road. We are accustomed to living in the here and now. And if it is not holding you back this instant, you might not be interested in changing.

But what if you knew that your eating habits affect the daily happiness and success of the children in your life – kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and other young ones in our community. Obesity affects 17 percent of kids in our country. That is three times the rate from just a generation ago. We are not just weighing our kids down with pounds; we are weighing them down with stress, fatigue and even self-doubt. Our eating habits are hurting our kids. Adults are the problem. We are also the solution.

Maybe the children in your life are not overweight. Maybe you think they are “thin as a rail” or they “can’t keep meat on their bones.” I hear that from parents a lot. The reality is, junk is still junk. Even if your children are not overweight, feeding them soda, Slurpees, chips, candy, fast food and processed food still adds up to excess fat, sodium and empty calories that deprive their brains of the energy they need to grow and thrive.

Feeding kids junk is also setting them up for future struggle. I recently heard a sad story from a female friend in our community. She is on a weight loss journey, but also a journey to find the best version of herself as a strong, confident and fit woman. She did not learn any healthy eating habits growing up and she first recalls being called “fat” by a relative when she was just five years old at her own birthday party. As a professional woman, she’s fought her way to healthy eating habits and regular exercise. This did not come naturally because she never experienced it in her household. She has had to create a new normal as an adult. She is succeeding and is proud of her new path. But why do we want our children to grow up fighting and blazing a new trail?

Let’s pave a better path for our kids. It’s OK to eliminate soda from your household and your own daily diet. This one change will lead to weight loss, better dental care, less sugar, less chemicals, less junk in your body and the bodies of our kids. It’s OK to eliminate or cut back on fast food. Just create new habits. Make fruit, veggies, yogurt, whole grains, lean meats, healthy wraps, salads and soups a part of your family’s daily plan. Hot dogs, corn dogs, French fries and frozen pizzas are not “kid food,” they are just “junk food” that should be used sparingly.

To bring this message to life, a group of young children in our community recently helped produce a public service message on healthy eating. It is message from kids to parents. It can be viewed at and is airing on WBKB-TV this fall. When adults eat healthy, kids eat healthy. They are our future. Give them fuel to run the world.

Message from Kids

If you eat healthy… I will too.

I will put real food in my body … and not just junk … and not just candy.

If you eat healthy… I will not beg for fast food or ask for pop.

I will eat fruit and veggies and drink water and milk and food that helps me grow big and strong.

If you eat health y… I will do better in school I will be more focused.

If you eat healthy … I will not grow up overweight I will not get bullied for my size I will not hide my body.

If you eat healthy … I will have the energy to run, play and be a kid.

I will grow into a healthy adult I will get a better job I will live a longer life.

If you eat healthy…I will be happy. I will love me for me.

Trina Gray is the owner of Bay Athletic Club, a mother of two, a national presenter on fitness and wellness and a change agent in the community. Her wellness column appears monthly.