Harassing Kids Isn’t The Answer

      107 Comments on Harassing Kids Isn’t The Answer

Since I’m in the middle of writing a book for kids, articles about kids and health that land in my inbox receive special attention. Two recent articles illustrate what’s wrong with the prevailing advice on how to reduce rates of childhood obesity.

That advice, of course, is to cajole, harass, or possibly shame kids into eating less and exercising more. (Strangely, there were few fat kids in my grade school despite a lack of cajoling and harassing.) The USDA-approved lunches are lower in fat and calories than in previous years, and we’ve got federal campaigns like Let’s Move! to promote exercise.

Again, nobody had to cajole kids into moving when I was growing up. Playing outside with friends is what we lived for. If anything, our moms had to yell out the back door and demand we stop playing and come inside for dinner. I’m pretty sure once kids reach the point where they don’t naturally want to move, cajoling won’t make much of a difference.

A recent study supports that point. Here are some quotes from a Science Daily article titled Guilting teens into exercise won’t increase activity:

Just like attempts at influencing hairstyles or clothing can backfire, adults who try to guilt middle-schoolers into exercising won’t get them to be any more active, according to a new study by University of Georgia researchers.

The study, which appears in the September issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, found students who don’t feel in control of their exercise choices or who feel pressured by adults to be more active typically aren’t. Middle-schoolers who feel they can make their own decisions about exercising are more likely to see themselves as a person who exercises, which in turn makes them more likely to exercise.

Hmmm … it would be easy to read that and conclude that if you put pressure on kids, they don’t want to exercise, but if you don’t put pressure on them, they do want to exercise.  Defiant little tykes, eh?

I think the more likely explanation is that kids who don’t enjoy being active end up being pressured to exercise (because people think they’re lazy), while kids who naturally want to move aren’t pressured.  So the associations show up as pressured = less active, not pressured = active.

This age is a critical juncture in a child’s life, as kids typically decrease their activity levels by 50 percent between fifth and sixth grades, said Rod Dishman, the study’s lead author and a professor of kinesiology in the UGA College of Education.

“Our results confirm that the beliefs these kids hold are related to physical activity levels,” Dishman said. “But can we put these children in situations where they come to value and enjoy the act of being physically active?”

Dishman and colleagues at the University of South Carolina are now looking at ways to help kids identify with exercise at a younger age, so that by the time they reach middle school they are more likely to identify as someone who exercises.

I seriously doubt kids exercise because they identify themselves as someone who exercises. I think it’s likely the other way around: they identify themselves as someone who exercises because they enjoy being active.  I identify myself as a disc golfer because I enjoy the game, so I play it.  I didn’t take up disc golf because I identified myself as a disc golfer.

What parents and teachers don’t want to create, Dishman cautioned, is a sense of guilt for not exercising. The research overwhelmingly found that students who felt obligated to be more active were less likely to embrace activity overall.

“The best thing is to do it because it’s fun,” Dishman said. “It’s the kids who say they are intrinsically motivated who are more active than the kids who aren’t.”

BINGO. The kids who are intrinsically motivated are feeling what Gary Taubes calls the compulsion to move. Their bodies would rather burn calories than store them, so they feel full of energy. They want to be active.

The kids whose bodies are in calorie-storage mode, on the other hand, don’t feel like moving. They don’t have the energy. Exercise feels like a chore. The research is clear on the chicken-or-the-egg question: kids don’t get fat because they stop moving. They start getting fat first, then stop moving.

That means the problem is diet, which brings us to the other interesting article to land in my inbox. Here are some quotes from an article published by the University of Missouri School of Medicine:

Although health experts recommend breakfast as a strategy to reduce an individual’s chance of obesity, little research has examined if the actual type of breakfast consumed plays a significant role in one’s health and weight management.

Of course the type of breakfast plays a significant role. Does anyone think Pop-Tarts and eggs produce the same hormonal effects?

University of Missouri researchers compared the benefits of consuming a normal-protein breakfast to a high-protein breakfast and found the high-protein breakfast — which contained 35 grams of protein — prevented gains of body fat, reduced daily food intake and feelings of hunger, and stabilized glucose levels among overweight teens who would normally skip breakfast.

Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study, said the key to eating 35 grams of protein is to consume a combination of high-quality proteins including milk, eggs, lean meats and Greek yogurt.

I don’t think the meat necessarily has to be lean, but a big YES on the protein. Protein intake has a strong effect on appetite.

Leidy and her colleagues fed two groups of overweight teens ,who reported skipping breakfast between five and seven times a week, either normal-protein breakfast meals or high-protein breakfast meals. A third group of teens continued to skip breakfast for 12 weeks.

“The group of teens who ate high-protein breakfasts reduced their daily food intake by 400 calories and lost body fat mass, while the groups who ate normal-protein breakfast or continued to skip breakfast gained additional body fat,” Leidy said. “These results show that when individuals eat a high-protein breakfast, they voluntarily consume less food the rest of the day. In addition, teens who ate high-protein breakfast had more stable glucose levels than the other groups.”

Give kids more protein, and they spontaneously eat less. No cajoling or harassing required. They eat less because they’re not as hungry, period. Same goes for adults, by the way. That shows up in the research over and over.

So let’s take a look at what the geniuses behind the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (championed by The First Lady, as the USDA site informs us right at the top) require for federally-approved school breakfasts.

A cup of fruit per day is required. Grains are required. A cup of milk is required, but of course that would be skim milk – although it can be “flavored,” according to a different document.  That means chocolate or strawberry milk with sugar.  There’s no meat or even a meat alternative required – although in the footnotes, you can find this gem:

Beginning July 1, 2013 (SY 2013-2014), schools may substitute 1 oz. eq. of meat/meat alternate for 1 oz. eq. of grains after the minimum daily grains requirement is met.

Well, that is just damned generous of the feds to allow schools to swap an ounce of meat for an ounce of grains … after the minimum daily grains requirement is met.  Kids just can’t be healthy without those grains, ya know.

So according to the USDA, this is the breakfast that will give us healthy, hunger-free kids: fruit, grains, and fat-free milk with sugar. No meat or eggs required.

And that’s why people think kids need to be pressured into eating less and moving more: they’re put on diets that make them want to eat more and move less. Then people blame the kids.

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107 thoughts on “Harassing Kids Isn’t The Answer

  1. Wayne Gage

    When I see a Gerber’s baby food commercial I wonder why there is only vegetables and fruit. Are they thinking the baby is a vegan.

    Reply
  2. j

    Had a few questions so I went ahead and looked up Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act online. Found many articles and guidelines. Creates so much red tape for schools and food preparers, just to force the establishment of some misguided nutritional utopia. These beaurecrats are so stupid..

    Tom Vilsack (U.S. secretary of agriculture) says the USDA is spending $5.6 million to pay for projects that inspire children to embrace eating their fruits and veggies — like naming vegetables “x-ray carrots.”
    Vilsack

    Yes, let’s trick kids into eating those veggies..

    Oh thought this was priceless..
    Article on PBS.org:

    “[The act] is causing a lot of districts nationwide to struggle to meet their financial requirements and also to serve meals that the students are finding palatable. Specifically, we’re having issues with whole grains, with the sodium targets, and also with the potential rulings on smart snacks that’s coming down,” said Jon Dickl, director of school nutrition for the Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    But the first lady is fighting back. “The last thing that we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health…”

    food politics

    Translation-

    Schools: Listen lady, we have legitimate problems trying to do this

    First Lady: You must hate children

    So I read the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act aims to reduce sugar, fat, and salt in kids’ meals. Im no culinary genius, but doesnt that take away all the aspects that make food taste good?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It sure does. The Anointed have convinced themselves that after removing all flavor from school lunches, they’ll convince kids to eat the food by giving it cute names. And when that doesn’t work, they’ll conclude that they need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply
      1. Arturo Silva

        And “cute” is just a matter of opinion… I see “x-ray carrots” and wonder if I’ll die from radiation poisoning if I eat them.

        On a similar note, I recall in my high school they permitted a third party bagel vendor to sell a special kind of monster bagel called a “Heartstopper”… a bagel of your choice slathered with about 1/3 of a block of low-fat cream cheese, topped with about 1/3 of a stick of margarine. I doubt this would exist today solely for the alleged fat content, but in hindsight it’s funny how prophetic the name ended up being given what we know now.

        Reply
  3. Scooze

    At least it will confirm my belief that these kids today have no character. And if they don’t want to walk to school, maybe they’ll stay off my lawn!

    Preserving the status quo makes me feel cozy and safe.

    It might be funnier if it weren’t tragic for today’s kids.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      As a parent, I see the tragedy unfolding before my very eyes when I attend school functions.

      Reply
  4. Wayne Gage

    When I see a Gerber’s baby food commercial I wonder why there is only vegetables and fruit. Are they thinking the baby is a vegan.

    Reply
      1. Elenor

        Ever taste them? When I got “poisoned” by some “probiotics” (lost 17 pounds in 7 days… NOT a good 7 days, alas! Apparently, every bit of gut flora and fauna exited the building at a “run”! {eye roll} Sorry, TMI…), my husband got my a bunch of meat “baby food” jars to try to ease my system back into eating…

        HORRIFIC! Absolutely the worst tasting food ever! Not just bland — but … horrid! Now, I used to entice my Siamese cats with Gerber’s baby lamb — but they also licked body-parts I wished they wouldn’t, so they’re not taste arbiters! I would NEVER feed a child commercial baby food — even discounting their version of ‘nutrition’!

        Reply
        1. Marion

          Eleanor, could you please tell me which probiotic gave you such.. dire results?

          I’ve done several rounds of antibiotics in the past decade and only recently found out that if you ever have to do an antibiotic round, you’d better do some probiotic after it (since antibiotics kill the good bacteria in your gut as well as the bad). So I’m checking out different brands and I’m not seeing the forest for the trees…
          There is, apparantly, a lot of hullaballoo in the paleo community about ‘soil based organisms’, while others are screaming about how dangerous these are.. So I’m looking around for negative tales about probiotics (positive tales – white swans – are easy to find, but it’s the ‘black swans’, the negative stories, that will teach me more about the subject)

          So, please, could you tell me more?

          Reply
  5. j

    Had a few questions so I went ahead and looked up Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act online. Found many articles and guidelines. Creates so much red tape for schools and food preparers, just to force the establishment of some misguided nutritional utopia. These beaurecrats are so stupid..

    Tom Vilsack (U.S. secretary of agriculture) says the USDA is spending $5.6 million to pay for projects that inspire children to embrace eating their fruits and veggies — like naming vegetables “x-ray carrots.”
    Vilsack

    Yes, let’s trick kids into eating those veggies..

    Oh thought this was priceless..
    Article on PBS.org:

    “[The act] is causing a lot of districts nationwide to struggle to meet their financial requirements and also to serve meals that the students are finding palatable. Specifically, we’re having issues with whole grains, with the sodium targets, and also with the potential rulings on smart snacks that’s coming down,” said Jon Dickl, director of school nutrition for the Knox County Schools in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    But the first lady is fighting back. “The last thing that we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids’ health…”

    food politics

    Translation-

    Schools: Listen lady, we have legitimate problems trying to do this

    First Lady: You must hate children

    So I read the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act aims to reduce sugar, fat, and salt in kids’ meals. Im no culinary genius, but doesnt that take away all the aspects that make food taste good?

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It sure does. The Anointed have convinced themselves that after removing all flavor from school lunches, they’ll convince kids to eat the food by giving it cute names. And when that doesn’t work, they’ll conclude that they need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply
      1. Arturo Silva

        And “cute” is just a matter of opinion… I see “x-ray carrots” and wonder if I’ll die from radiation poisoning if I eat them.

        On a similar note, I recall in my high school they permitted a third party bagel vendor to sell a special kind of monster bagel called a “Heartstopper”… a bagel of your choice slathered with about 1/3 of a block of low-fat cream cheese, topped with about 1/3 of a stick of margarine. I doubt this would exist today solely for the alleged fat content, but in hindsight it’s funny how prophetic the name ended up being given what we know now.

        Reply
        1. Barbara

          Yes it is funny how prophetic the name was but ironically they thought is was the butter and the cream cheese that caused the problem.

          Reply
  6. Rae Ford

    “…as kids typically decrease their activity levels by 50 percent between fifth and sixth grades, said Rod Dishman…”

    This caught my attention because I know that the difference between those two grades when I was in school, was that we had recess in 5th grade and did not in 6th. I don’t know how things are now25 years later, but I seem to recall people wanting to cut it out altogether from elementary school. Which I think is a bad idea, I think unstructured play promotes imagination which helps with learning. But what do I know? I’m not one of the anointed government types.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I guess they figure when kids enter middle school, they don’t need recess anymore. I’m pretty sure we still went outside for a playground break everyday when I was middle school, though.

      Reply
  7. AndreaLynnette

    Speaking as a product of the current government method, I just want to beg parents not to take this approach. Feed your kids the cleanest, most natural protein and fat you can. Let your kids eat the food their bodies are biologically programmed for, and you won’t have to worry about their activity levels. They’ll be active, healthy, and strong like they’re supposed to be. It’s more expensive, but they’re worth it, right?

    Feed your kids calorie-restricted, low-fat, carbohydrate-laden “food products” and they might get to grow up to be just like me: metabolically broken, fat, and with bone and joint damage from which they may never recover. They might eventually find the truth for themselves like I did, but you can’t undo thirty-plus years of damage in a few weeks or even months. It takes years. It may never go away completely.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      That’s the message I keep trying to get across to parents and kids: it’s far easier to avoid the damage than to undo the damage later in life.

      Reply
  8. Firebird

    All my participation in sports…LL, Football, even the Friday morning floor hockey league my Middle School Gym teacher ran for the 8th grade boys…were my decisions. I wanted to play. Same thing with my interest in weightlifting. There were little hints…the Saturday afternoon Steve Reeves Hercules movie; admiring the powerlifters like Ken Patera who ventured into wrestling; the gym a mile away whose doors were always open when our car stopped at the red light. The only forced activity that came from my mom was, “Go outside and get the stink blown off you before I give you something to do!” (Read:CHORES)

    Speaking of breakfast, I tweaked Chareva’s almond butter bread recipe. I swapped peanut butter (saved $5) and it works just as well. Thought I’d pass that along to everyone.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I wanted to play too, even though I wasn’t much of an athlete. That was when I was a skinny, weak kid. When I became a fat, weak kid, playing was far less appealing.

      Reply
  9. Bob Niland

    So if one is unfortunate enough to have kids currently inmates at a government school, what defensive steps might be available?

    Feed them an ample breakfast high in healthy fats so that they have reduced appetite for the toxins foisted on them by the dumpy dogmatic dietitian. This presumes that the home diet is very low carb, so that the kids are at least part-time fat metabolizers (full keto is not required).

    Send along what healthy foods you can get past the border guards, such as salad loaded with cheese and high-healthy-fat dressing, sandwiches made with LCHF bread, and similarly formulated cookies, brownies and cheesecake.

    Order up a Cyrex Array 3 test at a minimum, 4 & 5 if you can manage it. Use the resulting reports as a talisman to ward off the chubby dietitian and grain-addled administrators and indoctrinators.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Our kids are in government schools, and that’s what we do. They eat breakfast at home, and Chareva makes their lunches.

      Reply
  10. Scooze

    At least it will confirm my belief that these kids today have no character. And if they don’t want to walk to school, maybe they’ll stay off my lawn!

    Preserving the status quo makes me feel cozy and safe.

    It might be funnier if it weren’t tragic for today’s kids.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      As a parent, I see the tragedy unfolding before my very eyes when I attend school functions.

      Reply
  11. Desmond

    On a similar vein, a couple days ago I came across this (sadly) humorous autopsy of the Presidential Fitness Test: http://www.sbnation.com/2015/7/31/9038201/the-sad-sad-stories-of-the-presidential-fitness-test

    My favorite story was from the kid who figured out how to cheat on the test, and later became a lawyer. Now that is a government education!

    The only thing I remember about that test from back in the 1970s is that my two brothers got the award every year, and I never came close. Interesting when you consider that we all ate the same food, played the same games outside together, and had the same gym teacher. My only failure was getting more genes from the other parent than they did.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I have dim memories of the Presidential Fitness Test. They’re probably dim because I didn’t do well.

      Reply
      1. Joe

        I remember it very well. I remember that I didn’t succeed very much except at the mile run. I never had any explosiveness or flexibility which is what most of test looks at. During the mile run however, I would beat everybody, including the athletes. One year, I finished my last lap (the fourth) and the P.E instructor looked at me and said ” stopping on the third lap huh?” I don’t think he could believe that I smoked all of this athletes. Looking back, I wish I would have ran track. In college, with no training I started to pick up running and actually timed myself. Within one year, I ran a 4:38 mile. I’ve always wondered how fast I would have been had I been trained…oh well.

        Reply
  12. Mike

    Tom,
    Great post! Our family has been eating a Paleo/Primal diet for a few years now, including my 4 kids [8,5,3,1]. I don’t think its coincidence that with my kids eating good nutrition, they are begging me to go outside and play with them the moment I get home from work. If I ask them something about their day, it’s usually “it was good. can we go outside and do ?” I have colleagues at work who have kids of similar age. We often talk about our kids and there interests, challenges, etc. One of the challenges they have is the opposite situation – they are trying to get their kids outside with them and the kids are dragging their feet. They don’t want to go and it ends up being a fight or epic meltdown. This makes me wonder what their kids eat…

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Yup, I think a good diet makes a huge difference. When weekends roll around, I feel an urge to get out do some farm work, or play some disc golf, or do something physical. That wasn’t the case back in the day.

      Reply
  13. Janknitz

    My daughter has a BMI of 18%. She has a mild physical disability that mostly affects her endurance. Despite that she takes regular high school PE and on the school “block schedule” that means 2 hours of PE two days a week, plus 1 hour 1 day. She also walks home half a mile every day.

    So every time we go to her pediatrician who is a part of a big, self contained HMO, they ask her if she does “at least one hour a day of vigorous physical activity outside of PE”. She’s a bookish sort, not into sports, and dead tired after those PE days. When she answers no, she gets a “tsk, tsk” sound from the tech who shakes her head sadly as she inputs my daughter’s negative response into the computer.

    Clearly she doesn’t need the harassing. But it’s a one size fits nobody world.

    Reply
  14. Rae Ford

    “…as kids typically decrease their activity levels by 50 percent between fifth and sixth grades, said Rod Dishman…”

    This caught my attention because I know that the difference between those two grades when I was in school, was that we had recess in 5th grade and did not in 6th. I don’t know how things are now25 years later, but I seem to recall people wanting to cut it out altogether from elementary school. Which I think is a bad idea, I think unstructured play promotes imagination which helps with learning. But what do I know? I’m not one of the anointed government types.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I guess they figure when kids enter middle school, they don’t need recess anymore. I’m pretty sure we still went outside for a playground break everyday when I was middle school, though.

      Reply
  15. AndreaLynnette

    Speaking as a product of the current government method, I just want to beg parents not to take this approach. Feed your kids the cleanest, most natural protein and fat you can. Let your kids eat the food their bodies are biologically programmed for, and you won’t have to worry about their activity levels. They’ll be active, healthy, and strong like they’re supposed to be. It’s more expensive, but they’re worth it, right?

    Feed your kids calorie-restricted, low-fat, carbohydrate-laden “food products” and they might get to grow up to be just like me: metabolically broken, fat, and with bone and joint damage from which they may never recover. They might eventually find the truth for themselves like I did, but you can’t undo thirty-plus years of damage in a few weeks or even months. It takes years. It may never go away completely.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      That’s the message I keep trying to get across to parents and kids: it’s far easier to avoid the damage than to undo the damage later in life.

      Reply
  16. Firebird

    All my participation in sports…LL, Football, even the Friday morning floor hockey league my Middle School Gym teacher ran for the 8th grade boys…were my decisions. I wanted to play. Same thing with my interest in weightlifting. There were little hints…the Saturday afternoon Steve Reeves Hercules movie; admiring the powerlifters like Ken Patera who ventured into wrestling; the gym a mile away whose doors were always open when our car stopped at the red light. The only forced activity that came from my mom was, “Go outside and get the stink blown off you before I give you something to do!” (Read:CHORES)

    Speaking of breakfast, I tweaked Chareva’s almond butter bread recipe. I swapped peanut butter (saved $5) and it works just as well. Thought I’d pass that along to everyone.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I wanted to play too, even though I wasn’t much of an athlete. That was when I was a skinny, weak kid. When I became a fat, weak kid, playing was far less appealing.

      Reply
  17. Bob Niland

    So if one is unfortunate enough to have kids currently inmates at a government school, what defensive steps might be available?

    Feed them an ample breakfast high in healthy fats so that they have reduced appetite for the toxins foisted on them by the dumpy dogmatic dietitian. This presumes that the home diet is very low carb, so that the kids are at least part-time fat metabolizers (full keto is not required).

    Send along what healthy foods you can get past the border guards, such as salad loaded with cheese and high-healthy-fat dressing, sandwiches made with LCHF bread, and similarly formulated cookies, brownies and cheesecake.

    Order up a Cyrex Array 3 test at a minimum, 4 & 5 if you can manage it. Use the resulting reports as a talisman to ward off the chubby dietitian and grain-addled administrators and indoctrinators.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Our kids are in government schools, and that’s what we do. They eat breakfast at home, and Chareva makes their lunches.

      Reply
  18. Desmond

    On a similar vein, a couple days ago I came across this (sadly) humorous autopsy of the Presidential Fitness Test: http://www.sbnation.com/2015/7/31/9038201/the-sad-sad-stories-of-the-presidential-fitness-test

    My favorite story was from the kid who figured out how to cheat on the test, and later became a lawyer. Now that is a government education!

    The only thing I remember about that test from back in the 1970s is that my two brothers got the award every year, and I never came close. Interesting when you consider that we all ate the same food, played the same games outside together, and had the same gym teacher. My only failure was getting more genes from the other parent than they did.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I have dim memories of the Presidential Fitness Test. They’re probably dim because I didn’t do well.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        I think those tests shot me up into a life of fitness as well. I always wanted to out perform the other boys in class.

        Reply
      2. Joe

        I remember it very well. I remember that I didn’t succeed very much except at the mile run. I never had any explosiveness or flexibility which is what most of test looks at. During the mile run however, I would beat everybody, including the athletes. One year, I finished my last lap (the fourth) and the P.E instructor looked at me and said ” stopping on the third lap huh?” I don’t think he could believe that I smoked all of this athletes. Looking back, I wish I would have ran track. In college, with no training I started to pick up running and actually timed myself. Within one year, I ran a 4:38 mile. I’ve always wondered how fast I would have been had I been trained…oh well.

        Reply
  19. Linda

    I suppose I’m too old for the President’s Fitness Test, which sounds like a horror designed to rob self esteem and do no good whatsoever! However I do remember being (ahem) chubby in 7th grade and being terrified of my gym teacher. She loved the athletic ones and shamed those of us who weren’t in front of everybody she could find! I remember one time we were all supposed to line up and do somersaults one by one. There was no way I could do it and I did a pitiful roll sideways, and the rest of seventh grade was ruined by the gym teacher and the other kids who could do a stupid somersault! I still see no point in the activity.

    Having done extensive post-graduate study in psychological nursing before switching gears to intensive care nursing, I do remember the one thing that was pounded into us: haranguing, harassing or cajoling people who are overweight and not inclined to do exercise will do not one whit of good! It has always been true that physical exercise has been good for the mental outlook, but being forced into it never does any good.

    I raised my granddaughter from the age of six months, and she just was never exposed to a lot of junk food. There were always carrot sticks, apples, cheese, boiled eggs, etc. around and she learned she was welcome to get as much as she wanted. I made my own venison jerky (had a hunter next door who supplied) and she ate that for snacks from a little age. To this day, she will grab cheese or some protein like a boiled egg rather than chips or such at the age of 23. My point is she takes in a lot of fat and protein daily and is more active than almost anyone I know. She has never had to be encouraged to be active! I believe she has been active all her life because she’s had the right diet from childhood. I didn’t know too much about LCHF back then, but I knew I didn’t want her loading up with sodas, chips and cookies and becoming a couch potato as a result! I’m very thankful I don’t have to do battle with the current crap of school lunches. I sent every one my daughter ate from home. I supposed they would be sent back nowadays!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Fortunately, our school district isn’t one of those that forbids lunches from home. So Chareva makes their lunch. Once in awhile we let them buy lunch at school, but they don’t exactly beg for the stuff. They don’t even like a lot of it.

      Reply
    2. Bonnie

      Linda – I think we were in the same class! Except that we were expected to do somersaults over a row of students huddled on the floor. I could barely do one normally, so, knowing that I would splat myself on top of those girls, I chose to do a running broad jump. I barely made it, but was laughed at by all. Except maybe the teacher. She was nice, but expected everyone to be equally athletic. That kind of experience put me off almost all physical activity in public for years. College PE was fun tho – I managed to get by with swimming, bowling and folk dance. 🙂

      Reply
    3. Walter Bushell

      yes, I was victimized by several of those sadist football coaches. But probably they didn’t know what they were doing.

      “I can do it, therefore anyone can do it.” This assitude is frequent among ve*gans.

      Reply
  20. Mike

    Tom,
    Great post! Our family has been eating a Paleo/Primal diet for a few years now, including my 4 kids [8,5,3,1]. I don’t think its coincidence that with my kids eating good nutrition, they are begging me to go outside and play with them the moment I get home from work. If I ask them something about their day, it’s usually “it was good. can we go outside and do ?” I have colleagues at work who have kids of similar age. We often talk about our kids and there interests, challenges, etc. One of the challenges they have is the opposite situation – they are trying to get their kids outside with them and the kids are dragging their feet. They don’t want to go and it ends up being a fight or epic meltdown. This makes me wonder what their kids eat…

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Yup, I think a good diet makes a huge difference. When weekends roll around, I feel an urge to get out do some farm work, or play some disc golf, or do something physical. That wasn’t the case back in the day.

      Reply
  21. Janknitz

    My daughter has a BMI of 18%. She has a mild physical disability that mostly affects her endurance. Despite that she takes regular high school PE and on the school “block schedule” that means 2 hours of PE two days a week, plus 1 hour 1 day. She also walks home half a mile every day.

    So every time we go to her pediatrician who is a part of a big, self contained HMO, they ask her if she does “at least one hour a day of vigorous physical activity outside of PE”. She’s a bookish sort, not into sports, and dead tired after those PE days. When she answers no, she gets a “tsk, tsk” sound from the tech who shakes her head sadly as she inputs my daughter’s negative response into the computer.

    Clearly she doesn’t need the harassing. But it’s a one size fits nobody world.

    Reply
  22. Linda

    I suppose I’m too old for the President’s Fitness Test, which sounds like a horror designed to rob self esteem and do no good whatsoever! However I do remember being (ahem) chubby in 7th grade and being terrified of my gym teacher. She loved the athletic ones and shamed those of us who weren’t in front of everybody she could find! I remember one time we were all supposed to line up and do somersaults one by one. There was no way I could do it and I did a pitiful roll sideways, and the rest of seventh grade was ruined by the gym teacher and the other kids who could do a stupid somersault! I still see no point in the activity.

    Having done extensive post-graduate study in psychological nursing before switching gears to intensive care nursing, I do remember the one thing that was pounded into us: haranguing, harassing or cajoling people who are overweight and not inclined to do exercise will do not one whit of good! It has always been true that physical exercise has been good for the mental outlook, but being forced into it never does any good.

    I raised my granddaughter from the age of six months, and she just was never exposed to a lot of junk food. There were always carrot sticks, apples, cheese, boiled eggs, etc. around and she learned she was welcome to get as much as she wanted. I made my own venison jerky (had a hunter next door who supplied) and she ate that for snacks from a little age. To this day, she will grab cheese or some protein like a boiled egg rather than chips or such at the age of 23. My point is she takes in a lot of fat and protein daily and is more active than almost anyone I know. She has never had to be encouraged to be active! I believe she has been active all her life because she’s had the right diet from childhood. I didn’t know too much about LCHF back then, but I knew I didn’t want her loading up with sodas, chips and cookies and becoming a couch potato as a result! I’m very thankful I don’t have to do battle with the current crap of school lunches. I sent every one my daughter ate from home. I supposed they would be sent back nowadays!

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Fortunately, our school district isn’t one of those that forbids lunches from home. So Chareva makes their lunch. Once in awhile we let them buy lunch at school, but they don’t exactly beg for the stuff. They don’t even like a lot of it.

      Reply
    2. Bonnie

      Linda – I think we were in the same class! Except that we were expected to do somersaults over a row of students huddled on the floor. I could barely do one normally, so, knowing that I would splat myself on top of those girls, I chose to do a running broad jump. I barely made it, but was laughed at by all. Except maybe the teacher. She was nice, but expected everyone to be equally athletic. That kind of experience put me off almost all physical activity in public for years. College PE was fun tho – I managed to get by with swimming, bowling and folk dance. 🙂

      Reply
    3. Walter Bushell

      yes, I was victimized by several of those sadist football coaches. But probably they didn’t know what they were doing.

      “I can do it, therefore anyone can do it.” This assitude is frequent among ve*gans.

      Reply
  23. Thomas E.

    The school were my kids go participates in the WatchDog program. And today was my first day there. It was really cool to see my kids learn, and to get a bit of insight into the personalities of their teachers and to get to know the office staff a bit more. I am very happy with the “public” education my kids are getting, we are VERY lucky. But I digress.

    The scary part was helping out in the lunch room. ug. There were a few kids there with packed lunches that were completely composed of manufactured (pre-packaged), food including, you guessed it, low fat 100 calorie packs, all the way down to fruit snacks.

    The amount of chocolate milk and fruit juice packs was simply astonishing.

    The cafiteria meal was actually not that bag, fresh steamed veggies, brown stuff (that I could not identify), and decent looking chicken finger, and some decent fruit options. Maybe a pasta main course option as well. But most of the kids got the chicken fingers.

    Reply
  24. Thomas E.

    The school were my kids go participates in the WatchDog program. And today was my first day there. It was really cool to see my kids learn, and to get a bit of insight into the personalities of their teachers and to get to know the office staff a bit more. I am very happy with the “public” education my kids are getting, we are VERY lucky. But I digress.

    The scary part was helping out in the lunch room. ug. There were a few kids there with packed lunches that were completely composed of manufactured (pre-packaged), food including, you guessed it, low fat 100 calorie packs, all the way down to fruit snacks.

    The amount of chocolate milk and fruit juice packs was simply astonishing.

    The cafiteria meal was actually not that bag, fresh steamed veggies, brown stuff (that I could not identify), and decent looking chicken finger, and some decent fruit options. Maybe a pasta main course option as well. But most of the kids got the chicken fingers.

    Reply
  25. Walter Bushell

    At least they don’t give the kids much food. And sometime in one of those last two groups, the kiddies go through puberty or is it overlapping?

    In “Death by Food Pyramid” Miss Minger states the difference in high amylase producers and low. IIRC the low amylase produces have a much harder time with high carb diets. Even if it’s vice versa, advocating a high starch diet for *everyone* is genocide.

    (Come on Water tell them how you *really* think!

    And yes, Mrs. Obama, I’m including you.

    Reply
  26. Walter Bushell

    At least they don’t give the kids much food. And sometime in one of those last two groups, the kiddies go through puberty or is it overlapping?

    In “Death by Food Pyramid” Miss Minger states the difference in high amylase producers and low. IIRC the low amylase produces have a much harder time with high carb diets. Even if it’s vice versa, advocating a high starch diet for *everyone* is genocide.

    (Come on Water tell them how you *really* think!

    And yes, Mrs. Obama, I’m including you.

    Reply
  27. tony

    I was in age-group swimming since I was 5. We did not have a decrease in activity between fifth and sixth grades. On the contrary, intensity and volume increased.

    I don’t recall any of my teammates complaining.

    In addition, we did not identify ourselves as anything specific. Certainly, not as fish.

    Reply
  28. tony

    I was in age-group swimming since I was 5. We did not have a decrease in activity between fifth and sixth grades. On the contrary, intensity and volume increased.

    I don’t recall any of my teammates complaining.

    In addition, we did not identify ourselves as anything specific. Certainly, not as fish.

    Reply
  29. Lisa

    When I was in school, 1968-1981, we had recess for around 30 minutes every day, weather permitting, til 6th grade. AND we walked to and from school, from kindergarten on up. Your older sibling or neighbor kid was expected to take the responsibility of getting you there and back.

    And we walked home for lunch! Every day. Even in winter.

    The difference was that our district was large but not centralized. All elementary schools and Jr. High were neighborhood schools. We even had two local high schools. We had lots of kids bussed in at the high school level from surrounding areas, but they were set free at lunch!

    Starting in 7th grade, you could walk to a local commercial street and buy a cheap lunch. Or not. You had an entire hour. We basically spent the hour getting fresh air and exercise till we had to walk back to be inside for the afternoon bell.

    Kids walked to the sports practices, club meetings, home games, and the stadium (a 20-30 minute walk from our schools.).

    You walked with your friends after school to the playground, the store, their houses or yours. Your parents expected you home for dinner. Then you went back out.

    And you were expected to be accountable. You got back in time for the bell, or you were in trouble! No infantilizing kids like today, where you take all their decision making away from them, including what to eat for lunch.

    Reply
  30. Elenor

    (Wee bit of OCD here but…) When I was in 5th grade (and I’ll be 60 in Jan…), I realized I had never ‘bought’ a school lunch. Mom always made my lunch — and it was always a peanut butter sandwich (yes on white bread.. it was the 60s!). But I decided (OCD….) that since i had never bought a school lunch, I’d carry that on till I left elementary school at the end of 6th grade.

    Well, about half-way through 6th grade, some teacher noticed I had not remembered my lunch (not that uncommon, and I just skipped lunch when I forgot… I had a RECORD to set, dammnit!) and he bought a school lunch and FORCED me to eat it (stood over me while I choked some of it down!)…. Blew my ‘record’ — I was SO angry! (And, as you can tell, some ~50 years later, I still am!)(Well, not angry — but … it has never felt any better and is probably part of what makes me a far-right reactionary: govt get OUT of my biz!)

    Reply
  31. Lisa

    When I was in school, 1968-1981, we had recess for around 30 minutes every day, weather permitting, til 6th grade. AND we walked to and from school, from kindergarten on up. Your older sibling or neighbor kid was expected to take the responsibility of getting you there and back.

    And we walked home for lunch! Every day. Even in winter.

    The difference was that our district was large but not centralized. All elementary schools and Jr. High were neighborhood schools. We even had two local high schools. We had lots of kids bussed in at the high school level from surrounding areas, but they were set free at lunch!

    Starting in 7th grade, you could walk to a local commercial street and buy a cheap lunch. Or not. You had an entire hour. We basically spent the hour getting fresh air and exercise till we had to walk back to be inside for the afternoon bell.

    Kids walked to the sports practices, club meetings, home games, and the stadium (a 20-30 minute walk from our schools.).

    You walked with your friends after school to the playground, the store, their houses or yours. Your parents expected you home for dinner. Then you went back out.

    And you were expected to be accountable. You got back in time for the bell, or you were in trouble! No infantilizing kids like today, where you take all their decision making away from them, including what to eat for lunch.

    Reply
  32. Elenor

    (Wee bit of OCD here but…) When I was in 5th grade (and I’ll be 60 in Jan…), I realized I had never ‘bought’ a school lunch. Mom always made my lunch — and it was always a peanut butter sandwich (yes on white bread.. it was the 60s!). But I decided (OCD….) that since i had never bought a school lunch, I’d carry that on till I left elementary school at the end of 6th grade.

    Well, about half-way through 6th grade, some teacher noticed I had not remembered my lunch (not that uncommon, and I just skipped lunch when I forgot… I had a RECORD to set, dammnit!) and he bought a school lunch and FORCED me to eat it (stood over me while I choked some of it down!)…. Blew my ‘record’ — I was SO angry! (And, as you can tell, some ~50 years later, I still am!)(Well, not angry — but … it has never felt any better and is probably part of what makes me a far-right reactionary: govt get OUT of my biz!)

    Reply
  33. Cameron Hidalgo

    Last year for part of my Master’s program in Elementary Education, I was required to design a means of recording the amount of exercise performed by students in a 6th grade classroom. In this particular county 6th grade is part of elementary school. Long story short. Kids don’t know how much they exercise, and it is really hard for them to understand the concept of intensity. at least half my responses were fabrications.

    My recommendations based upon the data were that we should not focus on the exercise, instead we should focus on diet. All the benefits of exercise from an educator’s perspective come from it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. I say stop pumping up the blood sugar levels in the first place. For the average elementary school student, it takes about 90 minutes of exercise to eliminate the amount of sugar consumed in 1 chocolate milk. Some of these kids will buy an extra milk at lunch. That works out to adding 15 hours of exercise over the course of a week.

    Reply
  34. Cameron Hidalgo

    Last year for part of my Master’s program in Elementary Education, I was required to design a means of recording the amount of exercise performed by students in a 6th grade classroom. In this particular county 6th grade is part of elementary school. Long story short. Kids don’t know how much they exercise, and it is really hard for them to understand the concept of intensity. at least half my responses were fabrications.

    My recommendations based upon the data were that we should not focus on the exercise, instead we should focus on diet. All the benefits of exercise from an educator’s perspective come from it’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. I say stop pumping up the blood sugar levels in the first place. For the average elementary school student, it takes about 90 minutes of exercise to eliminate the amount of sugar consumed in 1 chocolate milk. Some of these kids will buy an extra milk at lunch. That works out to adding 15 hours of exercise over the course of a week.

    Reply
      1. Galina L.

        I am an exercise enthusiast. Exercising never caused a weight loss for me. A sudden change in a life-style (a good example is when somebody gets involved into a house renovation) may be causing some decrease in fat reserves, but if such change is permanent (somebody started to work in a department store), the lost weight would slowly return

        Reply
      1. Cameron Hidalgo

        total sugar. So about 50% added sucrose or hfcs, and about 50% natural occurring milk sugars, mostly lactose.

        Reply
  35. Razwell

    Hi Tom,

    Energy is not a thing. It is not anything material. There is no caloric energy being turned into matter in a human whatsoever. It is not possible for a human to convert or turn energy in matter. The caloric hypothesis people have it allllll wrong.

    Reply
  36. Razwell

    Hi Tom,

    Energy is not a thing. It is not anything material. There is no caloric energy being turned into matter in a human whatsoever. It is not possible for a human to convert or turn energy in matter. The caloric hypothesis people have it allllll wrong.

    Reply
  37. DebbieC.

    I was one of those kids who was always skinny as a rail, *until* I hit puberty, and then began to gain weight. All through middle school and high school I was “fat” by the standards of the day (and maybe by standards of today too, though today I’d probably have more company among the other kids). And yet I was always active! I took blue ribbons in the summer “kids’ Olympic” competitions held in our town by a town member who was a former Olympic gold medalist. I was one of those kids who was always able to do all the things the gym teacher required of us – including climbing up to the very high ceiling of the gym on a rope with nothing below but a gym floor to land on if I should lose my grip and fall 30 feet(probably too big a liability issue these days). I played various sports. owned first base at softball, play center at basketball, chosen for the volleyball all-stars. When we had to take the President’s Physical Fitness tests I always scored in about the 95th percentile range.

    But I was still *fat* (5’7″ and about 160 pounds in HS). Boys used to mock me and call me “horse” and “cow”. But boy was I active, and actually was GOOD at sports. But none of that took off any weight. Clearly there was more going on than just lying around on the couch eating Ring Dings.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      I’m all for kids being active, but the idea that we’ll turn fat kids into skinny kids by telling them “Let’s Move!” is clearly ridiculous.

      Reply
  38. DebbieC.

    I was one of those kids who was always skinny as a rail, *until* I hit puberty, and then began to gain weight. All through middle school and high school I was “fat” by the standards of the day (and maybe by standards of today too, though today I’d probably have more company among the other kids). And yet I was always active! I took blue ribbons in the summer “kids’ Olympic” competitions held in our town by a town member who was a former Olympic gold medalist. I was one of those kids who was always able to do all the things the gym teacher required of us – including climbing up to the very high ceiling of the gym on a rope with nothing below but a gym floor to land on if I should lose my grip and fall 30 feet(probably too big a liability issue these days). I played various sports. owned first base at softball, play center at basketball, chosen for the volleyball all-stars. When we had to take the President’s Physical Fitness tests I always scored in about the 95th percentile range.

    But I was still *fat* (5’7″ and about 160 pounds in HS). Boys used to mock me and call me “horse” and “cow”. But boy was I active, and actually was GOOD at sports. But none of that took off any weight. Clearly there was more going on than just lying around on the couch eating Ring Dings.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I’m all for kids being active, but the idea that we’ll turn fat kids into skinny kids by telling them “Let’s Move!” is clearly ridiculous.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Naw, no First Lady plot. It’s simply WHO — as a child of the anti-meat U.N. — trying to scare people way from meat by cherry-picking some lousy observational studies. The evidence from observational studies is all over the place, which it wouldn’t be if meat actually caused cancer.

      http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2015/04/02/studies-conclude-that-meat-will-kill-you-and-save-your-life/

      If anything, eating a lot of processed meat is probably a marker for eating a lot of processed food in general. But if you wacky vegans want to believe bacon causes cancer, please do. I’ll happily take your share.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Naw, no First Lady plot. It’s simply WHO — as a child of the anti-meat U.N. — trying to scare people way from meat by cherry-picking some lousy observational studies. The evidence from observational studies is all over the place, which it wouldn’t be if meat actually caused cancer.

      http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2015/04/02/studies-conclude-that-meat-will-kill-you-and-save-your-life/

      If anything, eating a lot of processed meat is probably a marker for eating a lot of processed food in general. But if you wacky vegans want to believe bacon causes cancer, please do. I’ll happily take your share.

      Reply
  39. toomanyspiders

    Tom, I am glad to see someone addressing the joke that is the school lunch/ “let’s move” program. When I first heard that changes were to be made, I assumed they’d include more fat and protein in the lunches, but in fact they did the opposite! Not only that, but they tried to do it via foods kids just don’t like. So not only do they refuse to eat the food, but what little they do eat is not going to be filling. This will impact schools performance and make them more likely to overeat once they’re home at the end of the day.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      When a Grand Plan proposed by The Anointed fails, the response is always to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply
  40. toomanyspiders

    Tom, I am glad to see someone addressing the joke that is the school lunch/ “let’s move” program. When I first heard that changes were to be made, I assumed they’d include more fat and protein in the lunches, but in fact they did the opposite! Not only that, but they tried to do it via foods kids just don’t like. So not only do they refuse to eat the food, but what little they do eat is not going to be filling. This will impact schools performance and make them more likely to overeat once they’re home at the end of the day.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      When a Grand Plan proposed by The Anointed fails, the response is always to do the same thing again, only bigger.

      Reply

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