I took this picture a few days ago when I was getting gas to go to the mountains and hike. When I saw this, all I could think of was, "REALLY AMERICA! Really! And we wonder why we have such a HUGE rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The only thing that could be considered of value in this picture is the bottled water in the very back, covered by many other products, and barely noticeable.
Obesity is on the rise in America, we hear about it almost every single day. The most concerning fact about obesity is how rapidly it is rising in children. This generation marks the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents. It is very alarming. There are many things
do to help prevent this from occurring. For now, I will recommend three easy steps that you can take as a parent to prevent childhood obesity.
First, we should look at what children are eating. Not only how much "junk food," but also how much sugar children are eating and drinking. Minimizing processed foods and processed sugars (sugars added to any food that do not naturally contain it) will drastically reduce your child's chance of becoming obese. Many people consume
it. This easily occurs when they drink juices, "fruit" drinks, and soda. Most of which contain high fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn syrup. Sugar in small amounts and the right amounts is good for you. It gives your muscles and blood cells easy access to energy, but it is best to keep in mind that ALL of the food we consume gets broken down into its basic building blocks and much of it is released into the blood in the form of sugars during this chemical reaction. Because it is our body's ability to break down food into sugar, it is not required for us to eat excess sugar outside of our regular meals.
The second very valuable thing you can do is switch to making most of your meals with whole foods (switch to mostly organic when possible). What is a
food you ask? Anything that you can buy in it's fresh form, with minimal processing, did not have to be manufactured to be created, and it is usually
ingredient. Chicken, beans, lettuce, apples, spinach, and steak are all whole foods. The goal is to MINIMALLY use processed foods. Minimize cheeses (especially American cheese), white sugars, high fructose corn syrup, margarine, chips, frozen entrees, and anything else with more than 5 ingredients. NO FOOD you eat should contain more than 2-3 ingredients that you do NOT understand or know. From here, you can take your WHOLE foods and turn them into your meals and snacks. For some great recipes, I recommend "Feeding the Whole Family" by Cynthia Lair. You can order her very affordable book and find many FREE and
The final and most important thing you can do is to get your child moving and away from the T.V. Do you remember being a child and gaining your first bit of freedom through riding your bike? How about running around and playing Tag, Hide and Seek, Red Rover, etc? This is what our children are missing now-a-days. That's the perfect kind of movement. It's a cardiovascular workout disguised in fun. Most of what a child learns in their youth about health will help them to establish good, nourishing habits when they are older. Children are gaining weight, have less energy, and more difficulty paying attention in school because they are not running off their energy and getting oxygen to their brains and body through cardiovascular exercise. My oppinion is that this is prompting a huge over diagnosis of ADHD. How well do you pay attention at work when you have sat for many hours at work without getting up and moving around? How do you think these lessons and patterns of behavior established in youth will effect your children in their adult lives, especially when you are not around to guide them? I also feel children are also loosing their imagination and chronically complain, "I'M BORED!". This is despite having access to more entertainment than we could have ever dreamed of. Next time your child says "I'm bored," get up, turn off the T.V., and say what my mother said, "O.K. Get out of my house and go PLAY! I don't want to see you for an hour unless someone gets hurt," LOL. O.k. maybe you don't have to go quite to that extreme, but if they are old enough, you could tell them to go ride their bike or go th the neighbors and play with their friends. Not only could you get those extra chores done without your children in your way, but you could enjoy some well deserved peace and quiet. If you're uncomfortable with your child being outside alone, go ride with them or go swing with them (it's a great leg work out, I recommend it if you haven't tried it as an adult :O). When was the last time YOU got in YOUR work out? Plus, you have the added benefit of spending some MUCH NEEDED, interactive, uninterrrupted quality play-time time with your child, no T.V. or cellphones necessary.