Childhood Obesity Is On The Rise. Is Your Child At Risk?
Childhood obesity is on the rise, and has been for a few years now. It's heartbreaking to see this happening when it is preventable. Parents will do anything to protect their children. They will sacrifice to make sure their children are cared for, safe, and their needs are met. Why is it, that when it comes to the health of our children, we drop the ball? We put our children at risk every day because of the foods and drinks they are consuming. It's easy to run through the drive through. It's easy to get a frozen pizza. It's easy to microwave a meal. But is the healthy of your children worth a little extra effort on your part?
I know it's hard. I know that when you know better, it is your responsibility to do better. I also know, because I was this mom. When my daughter was growing up, I didn't think too much about pop/soda, fruit juice, chicken nuggets, fries, pop tarts, chips, crackers, sweet tarts, gummy bears... I mean, she was a kid, she can have "fun food" sometimes, right? The problem is that when this type of eating is a daily habit (or more often than not), it causes a host of problems that are brewing inside their young bodies. My daughter didn't eat like this regularly, but she had her fair share of sugar-filled, fatty foods and drinks. This was 10-15 years ago, and while nutrition information was available, I didn't pay much attention to the severity of what I was doing.
The information IS out there now. It's readily available. We KNOW the effects sugar can have on our bodies. We KNOW pop/soda and all these processed, fatty foods are BAD for us. There is no reason we can't do better when it comes to the health of our children. We HAVE to do better!
Our children deserve better from us. We have to set the example and learn to eat healthier and live more active lives. Encourage our children to choose healthier foods, but also make sure those healthier choices are available in the house. I know there are other issues we face with making healthy choices outside the home, but our own home is what we can control. We HAVE to put our children first. When you wonder WHY should I eat healthier, exercise, cook, sacrifice so I can make sure and keep the best food I can in the house... think about this. What are the effects of my children being overweight?
Potential Negative Psychological Outcomes:
- Depressive symptoms
- Poor Body Image
- Low Self-Concept
- Risk for Eating Disorders
- Behavior and Learning Problems
Negative Health Consequences:
- Insulin Resistance
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Total and LDL Cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood
- Low HDL Cholesterol levels in the blood
- Sleep Apnea
- Early puberty
- Orthopedic problems such as Blount's disease and slipped capital femoral epiphysis
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (fatty infiltration and inflammation of the liver)
Further, obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, hence they are at increased risk for a number of diseases including: stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers. And these consequences don't go away. Many adults I know are riddled with health issues, are depressed, have low self-esteem, and feel trapped in their own bodies.
I'm sure if I asked you if this is what you want for your children, you would adamantly say NO! Of course! But this is what we are doing every day when we continue to keep "bad" foods in the house and not TEACH our children the benefits of a healthy diet. This is what happens when we, as parents, do not take care of ourselves and put our health first. They learn from us and the example we set.
My daughter is 21 now and I can tell you that it is never to late. I changed my eating habits over two years ago and it took a little bit, but she has slowly followed in my footsteps. We talk about it, we learn together, I share what I have learned and experienced, she does what works for her, and values eating a healthy diet. It's one of my greatest joys that I have experienced from changing my lifestyle... that I can have a positive impact on my daughter.
With all this being said, there is nothing wrong with having "treats" every now and then. It's when it is a way of life that problems occur. We owe it to our children live a healthier life so we can teach them. Is this what you want for your children?