Updated: Jan 26, 2021
We have entered a time in history when evidence predicts the life expectancy of children may be shorter than that of their parents. What’s the cause of this dramatic turn of events? Obesity and the life threatening complications associated with this disease. Specifically, childhood obesity is a precursor to a wide range of serious complications and increases the risk of premature illness and death later in life. As medical treatments/interventions for obesity have been relatively unsuccessful, the prevalence of obesity, especially among children, is likely to continue to rise largely due to our super convenient food choices and sedentary existence. With obesity occurring at younger and younger ages, they stand to carry these obesity-related health risks for far longer than previous generations. Our bodies have been made to handle a great deal of abuse and still come out on the other side, but environmental factors, poor dietary habits and sedentary lifestyles have created a perfect storm. The life-shortening effect of obesity is showing no signs of slowing down and in the coming decades, the obese who are now in their youth have a higher risk of premature death into their middle and older years.
As a mother, bodyworker and health advocate, I feel it’s time to turn and face this head on. We are responsible for what our children eat and are, therefore, responsible for making decisions to give them foods that heal not harm. Is our “busy” life worth their life? while this may sound harsh, it’s the very food, snack food, fast food and junk foods that are killing our kids. More and more is being discovered about what is happening to the quality and health of our food. While we can’t control every food in the marketplace, we can educate and empower our children to choose foods that make them feel good, support the growth of their developing bodies and nervous systems and give them foods that keep their defenses strong. Every time children eat refined sugar, their immune system is taxed and their ability to defend themselves is threatened. If they are consuming it many times throughout the day, they may be leaving themselves wide open to pathogens. A study showed that eating simple carbs like glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or orange juice inhibits phagocytic activity for at least 5 hours. That means, your white blood cells can’t gobble up the bad guys for hours after a single sugary snack which is why everyone gets sick around the holidays. The same germs are lurking around but we triple and quadruple our sugar intake and we don’t stop for weeks. Our defenses are down and the bad guys are able to get a foothold.
There is a great deal we can do to eliminate this progression of obesity and demonstrate love to our kids through our actions and our time. Start simple!
1) Move more –
Start your morning with a dance party while you all get ready for the day. This is a routine you will never want to break. It’s fun for the whole family. Also, take family walks after dinner and watch the sun set or go on a scavenger hunt, play sports together or set up a family challenge for achieving physical goals complete with fun (non-food) rewards.
2) Eat sugar from nature.
Return to fruit for snacks; bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, watermelon, pineapple, enjoying all the colors and flavors. Kids love fruit and it will satisfy their hunger while fueling their activity. Add fats and fiber and they won’t be asking to eat every 5 mins. When you want something sweet, enjoy real maple syrup, yacon syrup, manuka honey, molasses and organic date sugar. If you want zero calories, stick to stevia, monkfruit sweetener or xylitol.
3) Plan to Put Your Families Health First!
If you are finding you have no time to cook meals or even feed yourself, review your commitments to see what can be dispensed with. Carve out time each week to shop and prep foods for the week. There’s nothing more important than giving health and life to your family. If you simply don’t enjoy cooking, then eat raw meals that are simple and require little effort or crockpot meals that are ready when you come home. Say no to things that take you away from this commitment. And always, invite your kids to help in the kitchen. They thrive when they are included and trusted with important things.
In the weeks and months ahead, I hope to lock arms and encourage you; to give you information that opens your eyes, resources to support your efforts and always a silver lining – simple tools to simplify your lives!
Here’s to Your Health!