Parents getting back to the basics to curb childhood obesity

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The fight against childhood obesity in Texas is at a standstill after the Center for Disease Control says the Lone Star State isn't doing great on curbing those numbers.

But many locals say parents are to blame for the battle on fat and that it's time to get back to the basics.

It's easy for parents to stop off at a fast food restaurant for a quick dinner, but Dr. Rima Kittley, a family physician, says those quick fixes are the problem.

"If kids get offered a meat and a vegetable, it's going to be chicken nuggets that are coated in flour and French fries. It's so much sugar and so much starch," Kittley said.

While those little bites of happiness might be a delicious snack for the kids, Jennifer Liebrum, a mom of two, agrees with Kittley saying parents control what the family eats.

"People don't realize that all fast food is chalk full of genetically enhanced stuff and stuff that we weren't really made to digest," Liebrum said.

Several years ago, Liebrum found out her five-year-old son Wyatt was allergic to dairy, bananas, peanuts, apples, almonds, rice, soy, corn and potatoes.

"It was very hard to find things that a two-year-old would eat that didn't include those items. Apples and bananas are a staple for young kids and you can't go down the juice aisle that doesn't have apple in it. It's the first ingredient in most juices," Liebrum said.

After years of research, Liebrum found going organic not only helped Wyatt's symptoms, but helped the family feel healthier and look healthier. Kittley says more families are going organic or gluten free to tame food allergies and weight problems.

"You have to go back to real foods. We're missing the meat, and the fruits and the vegetables," Kittley said.

But, while organic diets might work for some families, Kittley says it doesn't help everyone. She says sometimes the key is managing a balanced diet, and making sure that happy meals are seen as a treat every once and awhile.

But Liebrum says while organic diets might not be easy or cheap, it was worth it for her family.

"Genetically modified foods really do a number on kids systems and the problem with that is that people don't know what's in their food," Liebrum said.

One of the other things Liebraum does for her family is take Juice Plus vitamins. Each capsule gives her family 25 fruits and vegetables a day, which provides the nutrients that might be missed during a busy day.

While the CDC study mostly relies on data collected from low income families who are on food assistance programs, Liebrum said families on a budget do have options.

"When you're on a budget, go to a farmer's market. Meet the local farmers. See who is growing your food locally and take advantage of that," Liebrum said.

Liebrum says there are deals everywhere, and while going full organic might not be an option for some, it's always good to weigh your options.

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