Childhood Obesity — A “4-Leaf” school-teacher sounds off

At home, at school, at the soccer game, in the restaurants — the wrong food for our species is ubiquitous.

We know from overwhelming scientific and clinical evidence that the natural diet for our species is whole plants — in nature’s package. And even though our mothers told us that we should eat more fruits and vegetables, we keep eating less and less. As a percentage of our calories consumed in the United States, we get a meager 5% from whole plant foods — the natural diet for our species. Most Americans give far more thought to the type of fuel they put in their cars than they do the fuel they put in their bodies.

Here's Lisa with my son and co-writer Jason as they head out for a 50-mile bike ride

How can we not expect to have an obesity epidemic throughout our population at all ages — now beginning with the children? A school-teacher in Massachusetts (my daughter-law, Lisa Hicks) says it best in her comment responding to my Chubby Kids in Georgia post.

Food is definitely the main factor in childhood obesity. As a teacher, I see it everyday. The kids come into school, many of them after eating breakfast at home and eat it at school again, none of which is nutritional. They then are provided a snack, which consists of cereal, juice and cookies, again devoid of any nutritional value, and some of them even bring in their own snack to eat as well. Their snacks are always processed – cookies, chips, or candy.

One of many unhealthy school lunches in New York City

In my twelve years of teaching, I have only seen a handful of kids bring in a piece of fruit! And then to lunch, which is served only about an hour after their snack. Lunch is usually pizza, macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets, more processed unhealthy food. They are constantly being fed, and being fed the wrong foods!

Now to the lunchboxes, which are packed with snacks, something kids, and their parents, think they need. Unless it is a fruit or vegetable, all snacks are highly processed and full of ingredients that you can barely read! Putting things into your child’s body that you can’t even identify or know are bad for them is a shame. Hopfully, America realizes your message soon or we are going to have an even sicker, more obese generation of kids. Look at the variety of cookies and candy in a supermarket – how can we not think food is our problem?

Where does this mess end when you consider that our top schools of nutrition, like Cornell University, are still following the USDA pyramid (with animal foods) in their curriculum? Succumbing to pressure from the dairy industry, they even cancelled Dr. Campbell’s very popular Plant-Based Nutrition course a few years ago. (See my earlier post on Academic Freedom.)

Even though a former president of the United States (Bill Clinton) has read Dr. Campbell’s book and removed meat and dairy from his diet, our farmer-controlled USDA continues to promote meat and dairy for human consumption. But, as I have said many times before in this blog, the answer to this mess is a grass-roots revolution led by people like you and me.

J. Morris Hicks, the "big picture" guy when it comes to what we should be eating...for our own health and so much more

The way to be an active part of this revolution (without proselytizing) is simply to choose the healthiest foods for you and your family  and share this kind of information with people that you care about. When enough of us are demanding more whole plant foods, the farmers, stores and restaurants will respond and this movement will eventually gain some powerful, world-changing momentum.

So what is a 4-Leaf school-teacher? Like most Americans, Lisa was eating at the “No-Leaf” level on our scale when she met my son. The diet-style made sense to her, she adopted it 100% overnight and went from a size 8 to a size 2 in the first six months — they are now happily married and living in Holden, MA.

Thanks Lisa for your powerful contribution that formed the foundation & inspiration for this post. For the record, Lisa and Jason have been eating at the 4-Leaf level for several years now; they both lost excess weight they didn’t know they had, they now enjoy vibrant health and they have started helping other people. Both Jason and I have begun doing some health coaching — making use of our 4-Leaf Program.

Clients on our program (that have a lot of weight to lose) have averaged losing 2-3 pounds per week until they hit their ideal weight. And after learning how to order or prepare 4-Leaf meals consistently (2-3 months), there is no need for any calorie counting for the rest of their lives. They just simply eat all they want — when they want.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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