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I’ll just be blunt and say what’s on my mind – childhood obesity is a huge problem in western society, and it’s getting worse and worse every year. As a society, we don’t like to deny our children. However, by not denying them today, we ensure that they will have health problems in the future. Some of our children already suffer from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome, just to name a few things that are a direct result of poor nutrition. Letting your child eat as much junk food and treats as their young hearts desire is not an act of love on your part. What it is is neglect at best and abuse at the other end of the spectrum.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), type 2 diabetes is on the rise in children and teens.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes in Children?
Type 2 diabetes has traditionally been known as “adult diabetes” because it usually starts in middle age. type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance, which develops when the body can’t use insulin properly and blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Elevated blood sugar that does not rise to the level of diabetes is known as prediabetes and is a risk factor for the later development of type 2 diabetes (1).
Insulin resistance usually begins during puberty. Usually the range is 10-19 years. The body becomes less sensitive to insulin during this time of metabolic change, but the reasons why are not well understood, according to research published in July 2016 in Current Diabetes Reports. (1)
A child should not be screened for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes until age 10 or the onset of puberty (whichever comes first), according to American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines. But the CDC describes risk factors that can put a child on a path to those conditions years before, including:
Obesity is one of the modifiable risk factors. Between 1971 and 2000, the obesity rate more than tripled in youth ages 6 to 11 and more than doubled among ages 12 to 19, from 4 to 15.3 percent for both age groups, according to the National Academy of Sciences. The CDC reports that obesity in youth ages 2 to 19 was 18.5% in 2016, affecting approximately 13.7 million children and adolescents. Hispanic (25.8 percent) and non-Hispanic black children (22 percent) had higher obesity rates than non-Hispanic white children (14.1 percent). (1)
We can recognize that there are some circumstances that are beyond our control as parents. but most of them can be prevented by proper nutrition of our children. Being overweight, sedentary is your fault as a parent. You make decisions about your child’s nutrition and how active or inactive they can be. When you let your child sit in front of the television with junk food instead of taking him outside to play, their ill health is on you and you alone.
Parents, you are your child’s ultimate gatekeeper!
Don’t even try to blame anyone else for your child’s obesity-related health problems, you are the gatekeeper of their nutrition. You are the one who buys and cooks the food that your children eat. What you buy, how you cook, and the foods you eat or refuse to eat all send strong messages about food to your child. To prevent childhood obesity, be the primary source of your child’s nutrition education rather than relying on others to do your job for you.
If you want your child not to become obese and lead a healthy life, you can always involve them in the kitchen by teaching them how to prepare nutritious meals. If you regularly feed them junk food, you are neglecting your child’s health. Instead of feeding them from the local drive thru, you could spend just as much time with them in the kitchen, and you’ll find you enjoy their help as they become more skilled at cooking.
Television, internet and other media brainwash your kids!
Before your children have even learned to read and write, they have been influenced by a bewildering array of unhealthy messages about food and drink. They are plagued by advertisements for foods with little to no nutritional value consumed by the beautiful people of the media world. It’s up to you to counter these unhealthy messages.
Food and drink are the most advertised products in television programs aimed at children. Unfortunately, many parents also fall into this trap. Most products that are pushed on television contain a lot of fat and/or sugar and have no or low nutritional value. Many of these advertisements are deceptive in nature. We find that grains and non-juice drinks are flavored as fruity and may even show images of real fruit. However, many if not most of these products contain no fruit or juice and instead rely on artificial flavors and colors for their fruitiness. As a parent, it’s up to you to read nutrition and ingredient labels to prevent childhood obesity in your family.
Children who watch the most television are known to have higher intakes of calories, fat, fried snacks, sweets and soft drinks. They are also known to consume less fruits and vegetables.
What your kids need to know.
As parents, it is up to us not only to feed our children a balanced diet, but we also need to educate them about balanced nutrition and how it affects their young bodies. When we educate our children about nutrition, we enlighten and empower them so that they grow up to be adults who can make informed food choices and avoid the temptation of food fads and other hypes.
Emphasize food in relation to today’s life. If you can reach them today with good nutritional messages, their tomorrow will probably be healthier too. Your child should know that eating nutritious foods promotes performance. Children who eat well perform better and achieve a higher level of mastery. A nutritious diet nourishes the body for learning, growth, sports and play. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults and children over the age of two are advised to strive for fitness through regular exercise and moderate eating. Diets should be balanced with an emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Nowhere in that list of foods did you see fast food and junk food. These simple nutritional fulfillments can lead to a zeal to form lifelong habits. Teach your children the importance of properly refueling their young bodies. Children have huge energy needs and need frequent meals and snacks that are nutritional, not cookies and cake. Young bodies need to move! Nutritional studies have shown that the current epidemic of childhood obesity is the result of both inactivity and overeating. There is a complicated balance between diet and physical activity. A power supply unit will definitely be missing if it doesn’t present the exercise part of the equation. Children who are allowed to be active outside instead of cooped up in front of the television with a snack in their hands have fewer behavioral problems. Behavioral problems are often the result of an empty stomach or a small body that is malnourished from the poor food choices their parents gave them.
It is well known that obesity has become the number one health threat to Americans. Childhood obesity has increased dramatically over the past generation, with a significant increase in prevalence rates over the past decade. Obesity has clear links to mental health. Obesity rates are higher in children with behavioral problems, depression and who live in chronic stress due to poverty and understimulative environments. In addition, there is strong evidence for continuity when factors contributing to obesity provide maintenance structures. For example, obese adolescents are 15 times more likely to be obese as adults than adolescents who are not obese. The significance of the problem becomes very clear when we know that fifteen percent of all children in the United States are obese. (2)
Parents, we owe our children more than this.
(1) Daily health
(2) Child and Adolescent Obesity, Understanding Development and Prevention, Hiram E. Fitsgerald and Vasiliky Mousouli
This post Childhood Obesity and Nutrition – David’s Way to Health and Fitness was original published at “https://davidsway.blog/2022/03/09/childrens-nutrition-childhood-obesity/”