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As a dad, I am very concerned with every aspect of my two daughters' health and well being. I realize my impact on their everyday decisions and I try and make sure they learn the best ways to promote and protect their emotional and physical heath.

It's not easy.

The arsenal of junk food marketing to girls, alongside images that diminish the value of women wages a daily assault on the mind and body of all children. It is no wonder that one in three Black or Latino children will develop diabetes. Or, that nearly 23 million children are overweight or obese nationwide, disproportionately girls and children of color.

My girls live under the same media and marketing assault as all children. As their father, I find myself standing constant guard, attempting to filter all the harmful messages being thrown their way. At the same time, I attempt to educate them on how to critically analyze and deconstruct whatever seeps through my net.

Food, in particular, is a big deal in our home. None of us like the same meals and everyone has a different idea of what is good to eat.

My oldest daughter is a vegetarian. She decided years ago that eating animals isn't her thing. She tries hard not to look down on the rest of us as we all sit down for dinner. None of us eat pork or red meat and my youngest won't eat any poultry. Yeah, I know - tough! On top of that I LOVE chicken, :).

Mealtimes are complicated but full of debates about what tastes good, what's morally good, and what is good for you. It can be a frustrating balance to strike. But, I am grateful for all of the critical analysis and thought being put into what we as a family put into our bodies.

I can be an overprotective dad all day long, but it is critical thinking that is the ultimate body guard.


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