The equation for a healthy weight is quite simple: calories consumed balanced with calories burned. Striking that balance can be trickier as human nature and modern convenience comes into play. (And, of course, genetics are a different story.)
For too long in this country, activists and critics have worked to demonize foods: create bad foods and good foods. Well, nearly all foods have calories. And if you consume too many calories - no matter where they come from - and you burn too few calories off with physical activity, then your weight is going to be out of balance.
Finally, we're getting some balance into the public policy debate. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and a group of congressmen introduced the FIT Kids Act on Thursday - legislation that calls for more physical activity and education in schools, as well as more education about nutrition and how to balance diets.
Kids don't get enough activity today - period. They don't play as much. They get little to zero meaningful physical education as school. Recess is being cut. And they have too many distractions that keep them inside and on the couch. These factors have as much as anything to do with children being overweight or obese.
As Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said yesterday, it's tough to get even our own kids active but we must be dedicated to doing it.
"Nowadays, kids aren't out playing in the streets and hanging out and having a good time," Hall said at a Capitol Hill news conference, according to the Associated Press. "They're sitting in front of video games, they're eating a lot of fast food. Even my kids - I'm trying to get them away from that too."
Kudos to Sen. Harkin and bipartisan members of Congress, including Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Jay Inslee of Washington, for bringing much needed and overdue attention to the "calories burned" side of the energy balance equation. We applaud the many physical activity associations for their unwavering dedication to drawing attention to this issue as well.
And again, our thanks to the National Football League for its dedicated efforts to get kids moving with its Play 60 program. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and a dozen NFL players joined the Redskins' Hall at the kickoff event for the FIT Kids Act.
Frankly, we need more legislative activity on the activity front. It’s about time for a FIT Kids Act.
Let's get up and get moving. We'll be doing our children a great favor.