Alex and I went to the movies over the weekend and I decided to get a small popcorn (it was my free day) though I got it without the added butter, so I didn’t feel too bad about it (still has 400 cal. & 27g fat). The real shocker came when I went to pay for the popcorn, there was a group of kids (and what I assume was an older sister) buying a lot of snacks. Of the three kids, two of them were overweight and one was normal weight (from what I could tell). The two kids that were overweight were buying a medium popcorn, a large soda, nachos, and a hot dog, EACH. The normal weight kid ordered a large soda and medium popcorn.
Other then costing a million dollars at movie theater prices, this movie “snack” was popcorn (800 cal, 54g fat), Soda (350 cal.), nachos with cheese (1,100 cal.), and hot dog (305 cal.) the total being somewhere close to 2,500 calories. This is right about what the average adult male should consume in an entire day (though they say growing boys need more) and is 1,000 calories short of a pound of fat. And I can only assume that these kids ate breakfast and were going to eat dinner at some point (the movie was at 7), taking their total calories for the day to anywhere close to 5,000. (Here are a couple of resources for movie theater snacks: MSNBC article & blog)
On top of this, I was on my way to get coffee the other morning and saw a couple of middle schoolers going to class or something and one of them was drinking a monster energy drink, this was at 8 in the morning, and he was already overweight.
It is part of the disturbing trend in this country, childhood obesity. Not that we need to put children on diets (I understand there are self image issues especially with young women), but we as a society need to help kids understand the relationship between calories and gaining weight. Parents, I strongly beg you to help your children gain knowledge of how what they eat affects their weight. This knowledge, learned early enough, could lead to a major difference in the rest of their lives.
As a personal example, when I was a sophomore in high school my friends and I would get together on the weekends and do homework together (yeah we were big nerds). At these powwows each of us would have at least 3-4 sodas, handfuls of starburst, and maybe M&Ms or something else along those lines. That is at least a 1,000 calories or more just in snacks in that day. If I would have been told just how many calories this was it could have had a big effect on how much soda and candy I ate.
We have to instill good, healthy eating in children from a young age so that they are not forced to diet and struggle their entire lives. Please help by sitting a talking with your children, nieces and nephews, whoever and try to instill some good habits now.