With a new school year upon us, life is busier than ever. As hectic as the days may be, I encourage parents to use healthy Texas-grown and raised food when preparing after-school snacks and meals. Although Texas schools are doing an outstanding job of improving the nutritional value of school meals, we're losing our children's health to poor habits after school when they become less active and eat higher calorie foods at home.
Research shows more than 35 percent of Texas school-aged children are considered overweight or obese. Studies also show children who are overweight or obese have a higher probability of developing diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses. If current trends continue, it's estimated 75 percent of Texas adults will be overweight or obese by the year 2040, with taxpayers picking up a tab as high as $39 billion a year for obesity-attributable health care costs.
In an effort to combat the state's growing obesity problem, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples developed an initiative called the 3E's of Healthy Living - Education, Exercise and Eating Right. The 3E's serve as a good reminder that living a healthy lifestyle takes a three-pronged approach - part of which starts at home.
So in addition to helping with homework each evening, invest in your child's health. Every time you prepare an after-school snack or meal, try using fresh Texas products like lean meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Eating right is a great first step in adopting a healthy lifestyle.