Epidemic of the 21st Century - Overweight, Sick Kids!
In the recent past, the issues parents dealt with regarding their children’s health focused on diseases
like chickenpox and conditions like “Little League” elbow. But today’s parents are having the pediatrician
tell them their 11-year-old son has Type 2 diabetes or their 16-year-old daughter has osteoporosis.
The “out-of-control” lifestyles fashioned by the adults of the past 40 years has led to a 50 percent
increase in the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes–the kind of diabetes that used to be known as “adult onset”
because this obesity-related disorder wasn’t usually diagnosed until age 50 or older! Type 2 diabetes is a
major risk factor in the development of premature heart disease, kidney failure and even blindness.
Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are commonplace issues for today’s children.
Overweight kids show elevated C-reactive protein in their bloodstream–another risk factor
for heart attacks and even strokes.
The calcium connection
Conditions like osteoporosis we associate with older women–age 70 and upward.
But today, it is not at all uncommon to have bone-density tests in young gymnasts,
ballerinas and anorexics showing dangerous thinning of their bones, leading to increased
risk of fractures and even a loss of height from collapse of their vertebrae! We know that
very low body weight and low body fat can lead to this occurring in youngsters, but we
are seeing bone thinning in normal or even overweight teens and young adults from
another hidden culprit–sodas. Today’s youth drink almost three times the amount of
soft drinks and about half as much milk as 20 years ago. The main theory explaining
these health effects involves the high phosphate content of sodas “leaching” calcium
out of the bones and even demineralizing teeth!
Our busy lifestyle is weighing children down
With obesity having doubled in children in the past 20 years, it should not be surprising to
hear of these horrific facts I have just outlined. But, of course, it is shocking. Our children
are the victims of 20th-century lifestyle syndrome - fast foods for two meals per day, sitting
for hours in front of the television, Nintendo or computer, running from soccer games to
school plays, etc. Our children are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, headaches and
reflux esophagitis–conditions largely caused by diet and lifestyle choices.
Wellness–an “Herbalized” lifestyle–should and must be a family affair
If we begin to place an emphasis on eating healthy foods and increasing activity levels in our children,
we can reverse these alarming trends. A study published in Pediatrics found that children who watch TV
while eating are twice as likely to eat “junk” food as opposed to fruits and vegetables. So turn off the TV!
Children should be participating in physical activity for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
Gym classes have been cancelled due to budgetary reasons in many school districts, so it may be
up to parents to get their children outside.
Let’s set examples for our own children and they can be the messengers to their friends and classmates
Here are a few guidelines for dealing with overweight children. Be sure the child has been evaluated
by a medical doctor to assure there are no health issues or reasons why losing weight would be a problem.
Children can begin their day with a MultiVites
multivitamin tablet and a shake made with nonfat milk or soy milk.
Or how about a Kids Shakes?
The Chocolicious flavor served warm makes a terrific, tasty and nutritious
alternative to hot chocolate. Counsel parents about taking the chips, cookies, granola bars and sodas out of
their children’s lunch bag (and avoiding school lunches which tend to be high in fat and sugar calories).
A meat or cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread, a baggie of carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes and a
small apple can be filling, has less calories and is much more nutritious. A shake after school is a great way
to avoid the snacking-all-the-way-to-dinnertime tendency. Or prepare a frozen treat made with
Kids Shakes Wild Berry Blast.
Then a family dinner with chicken or fish, a green salad and a whole-grain roll along with lots of fresh water will complete the day!
If an evening snack is needed, try half of a frozen Protein Bars,
or a package of Roasted Soy Nuts with Cardia Salt
with freshsqueezed, minimally sweetened lemonade. I’m getting hungry!
Overweight children don’t need to be part of an ongoing epidemic.
We can make a difference. Choose to set the example of picking up an apple instead of an ice-cream bar.
Stop smoking. Turn off the television or computer and shoot some hoops with your children or go for a walk.
Be sure to take your dog so you won’t have a fat dog at risk for diabetes and heart disease–yes, they develop
the same diseases as humans! We can reverse the trends of the end of the 20th century. Let’s make the 21st
century the century of wellness, family values and quality of life. Let’s start today.
|* These statements
have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product
is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Pack a Lunch that Won't Pack on the Pounds
With the back-to-school season here, it’s time to start thinking about nutritious bag lunches!
Make sure your children eat right when they’re away from home:
- Place a few spoonfuls of Kids Shakes in a shaker to mix with milk for a nutritious addition to lunch.
- Let your kids participate in lunch preparation, reading the nutrition labels to you.
- Discourage kids from trading their nutritious lunch items for unhealthy snacks.
- Ask your kids to bring home anything they don’t eat. Much better to find out they don’t like apples than to have that “apple a day” go straight to the trash can.
- Slip encouraging notes into the bag of a child who is self-conscious about weight.
- Include Protein Bars in their lunch bag.