A powerful public awareness video campaign created by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta shows an obese 30-something-year-old man being rushed to an emergency room after having a heart attack. The video flashes back through the past 30 years showing the man eating fast food and candy and sitting on the couch playing video games. The video flashes forward to the ER again, and the tagline on the screen reads: “Your child’s future doesn’t have to look like this.”
The Doctors say the “Rewind the Future” video might seem harsh to some, but parents need to understand its strong message: Unhealthy food choices that start as children can have deadly consequences.
“This is reality. This is what I see every day in my office,” pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "Every time I go shopping, I see the shopping carts with the kids and the sugary cereals and the drinks. It’s killing the kids.”
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork notes that more people end up in the ER due to food-related illnesses than anything else, and he says recent studies have shown obesity can cut more years off your life than smoking.
The Doctors share other alarming statistics:
- 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.
- About 84 percent of parents take their children to fast food restaurants at least once a week.
- In the past 30 years, the rate of diabetes in adolescents has quadrupled.
- Americans consume an average of 3,700 calories per day, the highest in the world.
The Doctors say taking your children to a fast food restaurant should be a treat.
"It needs to be a very unusual circumstance, where the kids say, 'Really? We’re going to fast food? Cool! Wow!'" Dr. Sears says. "Not, hey, 'Which fast food restaurant are we getting lunch today at?'"
The Doctors offer some simple swaps you can start making today that can make a big difference over time:
- Eliminating one 20-ounce soda a day will cut your child's sugar intake by 61 pounds over a year.
- Choosing fruit as a side instead of a large serving of French fries once a week will cut more than 25,000 calories a year.
"Maybe today is the day you commit to one change," Dr. Travis says. "You don’t have to be perfect. One simple change. Maybe cutting out one soda a day. That may be the change that makes the difference."
Learn more about the Rewind the Future campaign.
Share your thoughts about the Rewind the Future campaign in the comments section. Will it change how you eat, or how you feed your children?