Childhood obesity is reaching what one might call “pandemic” proportions. Obesity is cited as the fastest-growing epidemic linked to the greatest number of illnesses and major health issues today. But it gets worse; it is affecting the young people of America. About 16 percent of children 6 to 19 years old were estimated as overweight in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Why has obesity, originally thought of as an adult problem, become a real problem among children?

Simply stated, the young people of America suffer from poor exercise habits, and unbelievably, even worse nutritional regimens.

The stereotypical teenager’s diet is a disaster:

Breakfast: High in carbohydrates (Boxed Cereal and Skim Milk)

Lunch: High Calorie Meal filled with Unhealthy Fats and Sugars (Fast Food with a Soda)

Dinner: Another High-Calorie/Low-Nutrient Meal filled with Preservatives (Carryout or Convenience Food)

It is no surprise that our young people are struggling with depression, psychological problems, and in a number of cases, senseless violence. Nutritional programs for children are riddled with sugar, unhealthy fats and empty calories. Many daily nutritional programs for children are completely void of healthy fats and quality protein, let alone nutritious vegetables and fruits. Many of our youth would discount that last statement, as they would attest to eating French fries (potatoes) and Ketchup (tomatoes) daily. And yes, I wish I were kidding.

Clearly, the ramifications of childhood obesity reach far and wide.

I believe Nutrition to be the most important component when fighting the national problem of childhood obesity. Exercise, though important, must complement a proper nutritional regimen, as exercise cannot make-up for all the issues a poor diet creates (I will say it once again, what sense does it make to add exercise to someone’s life who is malnourished?). An excellent nutrition regimen, with just a small amount of exercise, can keep us not only from obesity, but also accelerated aging and degenerative disease.

Less than just 100 years ago there were numerous cultures throughout the world that had no word for cancer and heart disease, let alone childhood obesity, but that has quickly changed.


These societies/tribes were introduced to “displacement” foods by what we might call the civilized cultures of the day (Western Civilization): refined and processed flour, sugar, vegetable oils, pasteurized milk and canned goods were implemented into their “tribal” way of eating. Today, the young of America might call these displacement foods the Big Six: baked goods, soft drinks, commercialized snack foods, fast food, pre-sugared breakfast cereals and pre-prepared/convenience foods.

Every time a culture begins to move away from real food that we hunt and fish for, gather and pick, and begin to consume the above displacement foods, disease follows. Not some of the time, EVERY TIME. Once the displacement foods are removed, and the real foods that are indigenous to that specific tribe are reintroduced, the disease disappears.

Children are having more problems with their health because they are being introduced to these “displacement” foods earlier, and more often. It is that simple.

Childhood obesity, unfortunately, was inevitable with the paradigm shift of quality real whole foods to displacement and convenience foods.

So, what does that mean to our young and their parents? We need to create a movement that has children looking at food as nutrition not just calories. The young people of America need to understand that without proper nutrition throughout the day, which should include four meals, including breakfast and a snack, it isn’t a matter of “if” they are going to have health problems, including obesity, it is “when”. We live in a fast-paced culture where we are motivated by instant gratification; this culture is now a fast-food culture that is dominated by “altered” foods that are taking lives sooner than any other time since the inception of medical drugs. Many experts believe that the children today will not live a longer life than their parents and there is plenty of evidence to support that. We only have one body, and children must be re-educated on the real importance of food, if not, that one body will wear out sooner than they think. This is evidenced with numerous “adult” diseases now being imparted upon the young of America.