The Health of Our Kids

 

            The National Cancer Institute reports cancer as the leading cause of death among U.S. children between infancy and age fifteen.  One in every thousand children suffers from arthritis. One in every four hundred children has diabetes. One in eighty children has Celiac disease. One in twelve children under the age of four has food allergies, one in eight children has asthma, and one in three children is considered overweight.  We have to ask ourselves: what is happening to the health of  kids?!

The Health of Our Kids

Are you concerned about the health of your kids?

            A few factors are certain culprits. Foremost among them, the Standard American Diet (SAD)–with its astounding number of food preservatives and additives, overconsumption of sugar, and overuse of antibiotics–is definitely contributing to our kids’ ill health. Consider these facts: Americans spend ninety percent of their food budget on processed foods, which contain dangerous additives while lacking vital fiber and nutrients. While over three thousand food additives have been approved by the FDA for use in human consumption, additives threaten our kids’ health and are linked to cancer, asthma, and birth defects. The number-one source of calories in the U.S. is high fructose corn syrup, a compound that will accelerate progress towards degenerate diseases and cause obesity. Kids under the age of twelve consume forty-nine pounds of sugar per year.  One soda per day adds fifteen pounds of body weight per year.  Kids are snacking on chips, energy drinks, simple carbohydrates, fast food, and candy.  Fifty-three million kids are fed in school cafeterias per year, where hot dogs, pizza, burgers, fries, hot pockets, hot wings, and tacos top the list. The number-one vegetable consumed by children today is French fries.  The average child is estimated to consume zero to one vegetable and fruit servings per day–but “fruits” are consumed in the form of juices that are naturally high in sugar even without added sweeteners.

            It’s no surprise that many of our kids today are malnourished and severely lacking in vital nutrients.  This epidemic of overweight, malnourished children is moving our kids faster than ever towards cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  Rarely, however, are these diseases attributed to nutritional deficiencies and chemical additives. 

            In addressing children’s nutrition, there are two basic schools of thought.  One school rather unhelpfully says that all of this is much more complex than we can really understand.  The other school says that if the basic foundation is weak and crumbling, everything else will follow; but when the foundation is strong, the efforts to repair will flourish.   Please do not underestimate the power of basic healthful practices to give little bodies the tools they need to get well.  For example, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day–yet it is skipped by forty percent of children. When breakfast is missed, the body has gone a long period of time without food, putting kids’ bodies in the post-absorptive state and causing the body to use muscle tissue for fuel and to hold onto fat.  Missing breakfast also sets the day’s metabolism to slow, beginning a downward spiral that increases weight in rapid fashion and brings increased risk factors for disease. All this from one simple meal! The changes you need to make can be simple as well.

            So, what do you need to do to help your kids?

1.     Feed them a breakfast of protein and some berries of choice every day.

2.     Cut sugar intake dramatically- or better still cut it out completely.

3.     Keep healthy snacks, like raw nuts, LaraBars, fruit smoothies

 and fresh fruit, on hand.

4.     Avoid processed foods and all simple carbohydrates.

5.     Add three to five vegetable servings per day.  Green leafy vegetables are best.  A good green supplement can go a long way in helping you get those veggies in.

6.     Add healthy starches, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and quinoa.

7.     Eat healthy fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and almonds.

8.     Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.

9.     Get your kids involved in physical activities they will stick with.

10.                         Supplement with probiotics, omega-3 purified fish oil, D3, and a whole food multivitamin and mineral.

11.                         Let them indulge once a week in the meal of their choice, as well as at occasional parties.

Please consult with a nutritionist for help when you need it.  Busy schedules make change difficult; encouragement and guidance can go a long way in helping you reach your goals.  I have seen astounding results over the past twenty years result from diet and lifestyle changes.  Children can thrive and change the quality of their health by starting early with the life-giving basics.  Even if you implement just a few of these suggestions you will be impacting the health of your children in profound ways.

 

 

 

 

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