We’ve seen the statistics, since the year 2000 most adults and children in the US are overfed and undernourished.(1) As parents, I know we all want the best for our children. However, lately I have seen more children under the age of 13 showing off their belly in tight fitting summer clothing along with extremely poor posture. They look depressed and seem expressionless. Is this the new and accepted condition/addiction of our future America or can we turn this around?
As a Health Coach, I have taught my Sugar Blues Program over 100 times to several high school classes. Doing so, I have witnessed first hand how kids start their day in first period with donuts and soda at 7:45am. The sad news is, kids can not learn on these non-food like substances.
It so happens that the brain is the driving force within our bodies and as logic would have it children and adults who aren’t nourishing their bodies are not nourishing their brains. Dr. Daniel Amen from the Amen Institute states, “obesity not only harms the body, obesity leads to a smaller brain size.” A reason to be alarmed is countless studies and anecdotal observations confirm a clear link between the quality of food kids eat and their academic performance. In other words, a diet of whole foods such as organic broccoli and peaches will likely get you better test scores than one of soda and Twinkies™. And be honest – which foods do you see more often in the lunchroom?
If you want to get those test scores up? Pay attention to what your child eats, and how often they get the chance to move! There is plenty of evidence linking improved academic performance to physical activity. Those young adults who have a regular exercise routine ‘routinely’ report a greater sense of productivity in their school work. Children that spend more time outdoors and get their blood circulating instead of stagnant time on the TV, video games or computers feel better about themselves, as their brains and their bodies receive more oxygen.
As a parent I find, we are concerned about our child’s test scores and ignore our child’s life expectancy? Why do we think it’s more important that they score a good grade on an end of year test than that they have clean arteries, fully functioning organs, and a body that won’t betray them? Why do we find it OK to give them a fried corn dog, fried ice cream or fried mac & cheese? Trans-fats can past the blood brain barrier and damage your child’s mitochondria. With an abundance of trans-fats, sugar and processed foods, our Standard American Diet is deadly.
When we don’t take an active role in our child’s health, our children will live shorter lives than us. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that if the childhood obesity trends continue, this will be the first generation of children that lives shorter lives than their parents. If we seriously think for a minute about what food does to our kids bodies, then it’s not hard to conclude they won’t live longer than us.
Type-2 diabetes and heart disease shortens a person’s lifespan. So the question is, why aren’t we springing into action as a nation when we realize that more and more children under the age of 10 are afflicted with these adult conditions? Another reason to be seriously alarmed is, insulin resistance has a hidden connection to depression.(2) The highest suicide rates in the U.S.are among ages 10 to 24 years old. According to The American Diabetes Association, about 208,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes. Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes. The total costs of diagnosed diabetes have risen to $245 billion in 2012.(3)
Parents can influence their child’s food preferences. Hardly any of our children eat healthy. But the problem begins in the home. Children learn to hate certain foods such as vegetables. They emulate their family’s behaviors. I see two year olds drinking an entire can of soda, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup…. causing High Triglycerides!
Small steps to change includes changing what I call ‘toxic taste bud syndrome’. This means adding in real whole foods while weeding out foods that excite our taste buds. We can begin by eliminating chips, canned soups, cereals, donuts and microwaved products. Fast food is cheap, seems convenient and to taste buds that don’t know the joys of eating whole, nourishing foods… it tastes great. But, it not only lacks the necessary nutrients for growth and proper development, it actually contains an overload of ingredients that, over time, causes disease. MSG in can soups which excite brain cells to death, white flour is glue in the intestines, and bleached dirty salt – are all slow poisons served in HUGH portions to our younger generation.
In April 2012, The World Cancer Research Fund completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. It’s conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness. “Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption.” (Bacon & beef jerky to name a few) Morgan Spurlock’s famous documentary “Super-Size Me” really drives home the truth of what these unhealthy food products can do to a body that’s already grown. It’s frightening to think what it does to children.
Today over 50 billion is spent on weight loss. Yet the advertising of fast food to our children has not declined. The food and beverage industry spends approximately $2 billion per year marketing to children. The fast food industry spends more than $5 million every day marketing unhealthy foods to children. (4)
If this doesn’t get our attention, I don’t know what will.
Connie is a Certified Integrative Nutritional Holistic Coach and Published Author of ‘Path to a Healthy Mind & Body’, specializing in getting the toxins out of our Metabolic & Endocrine System. Owner of www.bitesizepieces.net