Hyatt Innovates Healthy Eating for Kids

By Monica Poling Online Editor, TravelAge West | August 04, 2013

Hyatt Innovates Healthy Eating for Kids

In the more than three decades since the introduction of portable music players, devices designed to help make moving fun, one can argue that America's youth spend less time being physically active. In fact, according to the Partnership for a Healthier America, a non-profit organization that works with both public and private sectors promoting youth health and wellness, physical activity among children has decreased by more than 30 percent since the 70s(1). At that same time, fast food kid's meals were introduced which may have laid the foundation for a cultural shift in eating habits. Today, nearly half (48.7 percent) of all food expenditures are made on meals eaten outside the home, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)(2).

While there may be an increased choice of where to eat, there has been a significant decline in paying attention on how to eat, as many dining establishments serve ever-growing portion sizes from menus that provide limited healthy options.

Not surprisingly, America's decline in youth physical activity, combined with increased portion sizes, is having a particularly negative effect on American kids, who are experiencing some of the highest obesity rates ever.

Today, one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, a statistic that has nearly tripled since the early 1960s(3). What's more, childhood obesity has now outpaced drug abuse and smoking as the number one health concern among parents in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

And while it might be easy to wonder how childhood obesity rates correlate with the hospitality industry, Americans are spending more of their food budget than ever at lodging establishments. In 2011 Americans spent more than 25 billion dollars on meals at hotels and motels(4), a number which has nearly quadrupled since the 1970s.

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