ARE WE UP TO THE CHILDHOOD OBESITY CHALLENGE?
The Childhood Obesity Challenge is multifaceted and involves not only the children of America, but their parents, their schools and our government. The impact of childhood obesity on our families, and our nation will be quite devastating. Here are just a few comments from specialists around America speaking on this Childhood Obesity Challenge:
John Foreyt, director of Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, estimates that almost every American will be overweight or obese by 2040. A few, possibly 5% to 15%, might able to maintain a healthy weight, he says. "But most of us are in trouble," Foreyt says. "We are affected so strongly by the environment — fast food, big portion sizes and the lack of a need to be active — that we are doomed."
Samuel Klein of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity says, "More lives are being lost to obesity than any war or terrorist attack”.
Yale public-health expert Dr. David Katz, “Today’s kids may be the first generation in history whose life expectancy is projected to be less than that of their parents!”
Consider this, the Childhood Obesity Challenge impacts not only health, but our minds and our economy as well:
Excess poundage takes a terrible toll on the human body, significantly increasing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, infertility, gall-bladder disease, osteoarthritis and many forms of cancer.
The total medical tab for illnesses related to obesity is $117 billion a year-and climbing-according to the Surgeon General.
Revenue from Social Security and Taxes will drop substantially as life expectancy drops in America, creating an even greater burden for the U.S. government.
With the decline of proper nutrition in our homes and schools and physical education in our schools there has been a tremendous increase in Attention Deficit Disorders and Childhood Depression.
My answer to this childhood obesity challenge is quite simple. But unfortunately, very difficult to implement, as we live in a “convenience food culture” where the lifestyle trends lean toward longer working hours, more working parents, as well as time-poor/cash-rich parents.
Conventional wisdom is that we are obese because we are eating too much but this is only a small part of the story, as Americans are malnourished while consuming thousands of calories more than we need. The displacement foods that our children spend the majority of their lives eating are loaded with calories and have little to NO nutritional value.
I will even take it one step further, children may have enough will power to stop eating if they have eaten enough calories, but NO ONE has enough will power to stop eating if they have not consumed the ESSENTIAL vitamins, minerals, fat and proteins they need.
That is one of the main reasons people struggle on diets that are loaded with non-fat/low-fat manufactured foods, including dairy.
Here is a simple to understand approach for parents and their children:
Go back 200 years and think of the foods that would be available, and eat them.
Consider yourself a Hunter and Gatherer. Eat only foods that were killed, caught, gathered, picked or harvested.
Eat foods only in their natural state.
When shopping at a grocery store you will find 90% of these items predominately outside the aisles (outer walls of the store): fresh produce, meat, fish and poultry. The other 10%, fresh grains, legumes, frozen fruit and vegetables will be on the inside aisles.
Just focusing on a few simple things will create tremendous results when considering the childhood obesity challenge.
Eat real food
Eat breakfast (eat leftovers from dinner if need be)
Avoid eating “Displacement*” foods and The “Big 6**” (which shouldn’t be called food at all)
*Refined and processed flour, sugar, vegetable oils, pasteurized milk and canned goods .**Baked goods, soft drinks, commercialized snack foods, fast food, pre-sugared breakfast cereals and pre-prepared/convenience foods.
Replace drinking sodas, juices and other sugar drinks with water (dehydration has been shown to lead to obesity and shorter heights in children)
Eat dinner around the dinner table (Nutritionists and anthropologists agree that the death of the official mealtime may play the biggest role)
Move, Move, and Move (there is a direct relationship with unwanted body-weight and amount of time watching television and playing video games)
Here is a list of categories that children should be getting into their daily nutritional regimen to attain appropriate intake of essential proteins and fat (the food list is not exclusive):
Meats (free-range): Beef, Buffalo, Elk, Pork, Venison, Wild Game
Poultry (free-range): Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Wild Game
Seafood (wild): Salmon, Trout, Halibut
Dairy: Goat Cheese, Swiss, Provolone, Cottage Cheese (4% fat)
Eggs (free-range or cage-free): Chicken, Duck
Nuts (raw): Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds
Fats and Oils (organic): Butter, Coconut Butter/Oil, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Legumes: Black Beans, Lentil Beans, Tempeh
Rice (organic): Wild, Brown, Basmati
Potatoes: Red, White, Sweet, Yams
Fruits (organic): Bananas, Blueberries, Apples, Pears
Greens (organic): Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Collard Greens
Vegetables (organic): Asparagus, Cauliflower, Avocado, Peas, Carrots
Beverages: WATER (spring or filtered, not TAP)
One last word of wisdom (caution): When dealing with the Childhood Obesity Challenge, please don’t focus on a problem-child. It’s better to get the whole family eating right, starting with yourself. Sit-down family dinners offer the best opportunity for building good eating habits.
Interested in helping out with the Childhood Obesity Challenge? Begin implementing what you learned today and watch lives change right before your eyes.