As a result of the rising obesity rate among children, the state of California recently agreed to ban the sale of junk food and soda in elementary schools and the sale of soda in middle schools, beginning January 2004. Philadelphia announced the plan to ban the sale of soda from all public school vending machines not in faculty lounges as of July 2003. Is this a sign of the times? Isn’t this what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us to do years ago?
As a high school teacher for the past 10 years, I have observed how children are becoming more overweight each year. The ninth graders of the ’80s and ’90s do not look like those of today. Do we realize how food affects our children’s moods?
I recently observed two children, a brother and sister (ages 2 and 4), quietly eating a banana during a meeting. There was no fussing or arguing over food. Just peace.
How often do we see children fighting over bags of chips or cookies? Do you ever notice children fussing over a banana or grapes? It’s probably a rare occasion.
When children are eating something that is good for them, I believe they are more likely to display a more positive disposition. It is important to teach our children that we are giving them healthy food, because they deserve it. We are not trying to deprive them of a “treat” at McDonald’s. We, as parents, may consider it a treat, because we don’t have to cook, but it turns out to be a “trick” on our children, because most fast food is not healthy for them.
When I would give my students pizza parties, I told them that I would not order any pepperoni, ham or pork product on the pizza. Some protested that they couldn’t eat any pizza without pepperoni and that it wouldn’t “taste right.” I explained to them I felt they deserved the best and I refused to knowingly order food that was not good for them. Most of the time that ended the argument, but some still quietly complained. However, when the vegetarian and cheese pizzas arrived, they enjoyed it immensely, and I didn’t receive one complaint. They also were more willing to make sure each person had a certain number of slices. No one was “fighting” over the last slice.
Exercise can also bring about peace. The first physical exercise we should teach our children is prayer. Then, we should teach them the importance of keeping this wonderful God-given vessel (our body) in shape. We should all strive to encourage our children to exercise and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, we have the power of influence when they are babies.
Furthermore, in a past “Farrakhan the Traveler” column by Brother Jabril Muhammad (Vol. 22, No. 23), he stated, “One of the ways we are being poisoned against perceiving the truth and value of Allah’s word is through the bad food we continue to eat.”
Let us all strive to eat the best of foods (spiritual and physical) and be dutiful, so that Allah (God) can bless us with peace, health and happiness.
Please consult a physician before beginning any new diet or exercise program.
(Audrey Muhammad is a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor. She is also the author of “The Sister’s Guide to Fitness,” creator of the KIBOS exercise video and the creator the Get Fit to Live KIBOS Challenge. Questions and comments may be sent to [email protected] Visit her website at GetFitToLive.com.)