As a pediatrician and as a result of my recent service on the Committee on
Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I have become very concerned
about the rising obesity epidemic among children and adolescents
in the United States. In the last several decades, declining physical activity
both at home and in school, and the mass marketing of foodstuffs to the
pediatric age group, has led to the alarming statistic that almost 35 percent of American
children are now considered to be clinically obese or at risk for becoming clinically obese.
We can’t ascribe this obesity epidemic to any single factor such as vending machines
in our schools, the large quantities of food eaten outside of the home in fast-food restaurants,
or the increasing time spent in front of the television screen. In any event, certainly
a significant factor in the etiology of this epidemic is the large amount of
calorie-dense but nutrient-poor food eaten by our children, both in and out of the home.
Surveys show that the average family sits down at the table together for a meal only a
few times a week, and even these dinners are often accompanied by tune-ins to the
mass media. To overcome the many factors associated with this obesity epidemic, many
small, incremental steps have to be taken by both individuals and families toward
changing a lifestyle. Real Food for Healthy Kids will allow parents to take control of the
kinds of foods their children eat.
This cookbook is a guide to healthier, more wholesome eating for the entire family;
it will enable parents to instill in their children an appetite and an appreciation for quality
homemade, nutritious food. By preparing meals from this book, families will look
forward to sitting down together at the table, particularly if parents empower their kids
by making the food together. If parents and children follow just a few of the recommendations
in this cookbook, they will be well on their way to preventing obesity and its related
disorders, including diabetes and heart disease, in their own families.