I've been thinking about writing on this topic for a while, but I've been afraid some people might be offended. But since it's Michelle Obama's thing, I guess I can just say I've jumped on her bandwagon. You know, the childhood obesity thing.
Let me say up front that I don't have any particular children or parents in mind, and I'm not relating these thoughts to anything that has to do with Storytime.
My main thought is that children are not learning what it means to eat to satisfy hunger. When children (and adults) graze all day long, or are fed snacks every couple of hours, they don't learn to listen to their body's signals and recognize the feeling of hunger and fullness. They learn to eat because they are given food, and to stop when the food is gone. This sets them up for a lifetime of bad habits.
Some parents seem to think that only bad parents allow their children to get hungry. They make sure that never happens by feeding them something every couple of hours, and by making sure snacks are always available in the purse, car or diaper bag. Then if a child says "I'm hungry," the goal is to immediately take care of it. The truth is, we shouldn't eat until we are hungry, and the food should be a meal. A snack should be eaten one time, if and when the child is actually hungry, not because it's three o'clock and that means it's snack time.
Hunger is not a bad thing to be avoided at all costs. Hunger is a signal that it's time to eat. If we wait and watch for that signal, I believe our children, and us too, would have much healthier bodies.