Recently, my fiancé and I went on a short cruise. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, let me just tell you – there are ample opportunities to eat. And that may be an understatement. I’m talking about pizza from 9 pm to 3 am. Cookies via room service at any hour of the day. Breakfast in the dining room from 7 to 9 am followed by a huge breakfast buffet from 8 am to noon. You get the idea.  I’d like to tell you about a family that was sitting at a table next to us at breakfast.

There was a teenage girl who appeared healthy and fit, eating her 2 plates of breakfast. There was a mother who made repeated trips to the buffet, who continued to announce what she retrieved on her last trip. There was also a boy who was approximately 8-10 years old. He had a bowl in front of him, along with milk and an individual size box of Fruit Loops. He was about to dump everything into the bowl and looked pretty happy about it. However, his mother kept trying to feed him other foods. “Do you want some of my bagel?” “You should eat some eggs.” “I got some bacon for you.” “You need to eat something else.” My fiancé and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing – just give him the freaking fruit loops!

The point is this: why do you think forcing him to eat eggs and bacon will be better for him than letting him eat his Fruit Loops? Which is clearly what he wants anyways? Is sugar really that much worse than fat and cholesterol? Or is it just the fact that you think he needs to eat more? Which brings me to another question – Are we doing kids a disservice by continuing the “clean plate” motto? According to the CDC, approximately 17% of kids age 2-19 are obese, a number that has tripled since 1980. Pretty alarming if you ask me.

But speaking of the 80s, I remember when my mother would make me finish my vegetables before I could leave the dinner table. The key word here is vegetables. When my parents made me finish my dinner, it wasn’t an adult’s serving of stuffed-crust pizza and breadsticks. It wasn’t 5 scrambled eggs with a ½ pound of bacon. Back then, we were still able to demonstrate portion control, and every meal wasn’t unhealthy. Back then, McDonald’s was a treat, not a regular stop on the way home from work.  And yes, back then, we were physically active on a daily basis. We enjoyed spending time (gasp!) outside. So much has changed in my lifetime, and I’m not even that old. Sad.

I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t even have kids. But with 1/3 of American adults being obese and the kids not too far behind, I’m more than concerned.

Anybody with me?