Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity: Five Reasons Why We Should Be Seriously Alarmed

Obese children are at an automatic disadvantage in schools: Obviously, since the brain is the driving force within our bodies, it only logically follows that kids who aren’t nourishing their bodies also aren’t nourishing their brains. 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 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? There is also plenty of evidence linking improved academic performance to physical activity. Those adults who have a regular exercise routine ‘routinely’ report a greater sense of productivity in their work. Again, it only makes sense that the same would translate to our kids. Want to get those test scores up? Pay attention to what your kids eat, and how often they get the chance to move!

Obese children will live shorter lives than their parents: 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. Why are we so concerned about test scores and ignoring our students 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? If we already know that heart disease and type-2 diabetes shorten a person’s lifespan, 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? There are undeniable health risks involved with smoking, for instance. And we’ve made great strides in combatting that deadly habit. But our Standard Canadian Diet is just as deadly, if not more so. We won’t let our children smoke, but we’ll let them drink Cokes all day long. A regular 16 ounce bottle of Coke has 194 calories and a whopping 54 grams of sugar (13.5 teaspoons), sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Not an ounce of nutrition in the bottle. Think for a minute about what that does to our kids bodies, and it’s not hard to conclude they won’t live longer than us.

Hardly any of our children eat healthy: Various studies and reports conclude that only 2% of children in the Canada eat a diet along the guidelines given by Health Canada. If this is the case, it can be safely assumed that the number of children who eat according to the more nutritionally sound Canada’s Food Guide (which focuses on whole vegetables and fruits, not grains, as the most important foundation of a healthy diet) is statistically too small to even calculate. Which means that so few Canadian children eat nutrient dense foods every day, we can’t even group enough of them together for a percentage point. This is a staggering number – or rather, lack thereof. Most of our kids don’t eat vegetables every day, never mind the recommended several servings.

Fast food is on the rise: It’s 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, are deadly – grease, trans-fats, enriched white flour, processed meats, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sodium – all slow poisons served in SuperSize portions. 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.  It’s become a dangerous staple of the Standard Canadian Diet .

Diabetes is proliferating among our children, and half of all diabetic children are overweight: Remember when Type-2 Diabetes was called ‘adult onset diabetes’? Well, we can’t call it that anymore, because kids get it now, too. Why? Because of the junk they eat. According to The Canadian Diabetes Association, the number of children diagnosed with type-2 diabetes DOUBLED between the years of 2005 and 2008. Let me say it again – the numbers in the DOUBLED in THREE YEARS. If this doesn’t get our attention, I don’t know what will.

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