are you making your children fat?

ARE YOU MAKING YOUR KIDS FAT?

Obese Children

Ouch!  It’s a brutal question.  Are you making your child(ren) fat?  Well; are you?  Don’t act like it’s not your responsibility.  Kids eat what they are taught to eat.  Picky eaters eh (HERE)?  It’s a product of the way you raise them.  It’s time to own up and make the necessary changes.  With 7 out of 10 adults either overweight or obese (not to mention those who are SKINNY FAT), and CDC stats telling us that childhood obesity has increased 300% in the last 3 decades, it’s time to get serious about this problem.  Otherwise you are condemning your children to live your life.  According to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity is now the number one health concern among United States parents — coming in ahead of old standbys such as bullying, drugs, and cigarette use. 

The latest statistics (2008) from the CDC say that

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • For whites, 31.9 percent of males and 29.5 percent of females are overweight or obese.
  • For blacks, 30.8 percent of males and 39.2 percent of females are overweight or obese.
  • For Hispanics, 40.8 percent of males and 35.0 percent of females are overweight or obese.

Unfortunately, these ‘latest’ statistics from the CDC are 5 years old.  It’s now 2013.  Do you think they have improved in the past half decade?  What has happened to American children in the last five years?  Statistics tell us that childhood obesity has absolutely exploded.  And what’s worse is that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) along with other organizations has published research showing that children who are obese children have an 80% chance of ending up obese adults.  Yep; if you raise fat children, they are likely to grow up to be fat adults.   Furthermore, there are all sorts of studies saying that obese children are at the forefront of a new explosion of “adult” diseases such as heart disease, HIGH CHOLESTEROL, and TYPE II DIABETES.  These are diseases that were previously seen only in adult populations. 

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN GET TO AND MAINTAIN THEIR IDEAL WEIGHT

Here’s the thing.  This is not rocket science.  If you simply sit down and think about it, you already know how to do this.  Just go back in time.   When I think back to my school days, there were very few overweight kids (or teachers for that matter).   Lets look back at some of the things that they were doing and emulate them.  Again, you may have to repeat to yourself that you are the parent.  But it’s true.  You are the parent.  Your children will do what you train them to do.

This issue reminds me of a young patient that I saw years ago.  The child was about five or six years old, and mom brought him in because of a wide variety of health problems (skin, SINUS, BREATHING, BOWELS, EAR INFECTIONS, etc).  The little guy was already significantly overweight, and when I asked her what she fed him, I could tell this was a question she would rather I had not asked.  The answer I finally got out of her?  “The only thing he’ll eat is chocolate cake and Cheetos“.  People; we can do better than that.  It’s our children’s lives.  We have to do better than that. 

  • DO THINGS RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING:  If your plan is to wait until your child is 6 or 8 years old before introducing vegetables, you will have a war on your hands.  Have a plan and work that plan from the very beginning.  This involves……
  • BREASTFEED YOUR BABY FOR AT LEAST A YEAR:  You would have to have been living under a rock not to realize how important breast feeding is.  Make sure that you are breast feeding your babies for at least one year.  Then….
  • WHEN YOU BEGIN INTRODUCING FOOD, INTRODUCE HEALTHY FOODS; NAMELY VEGETABLES:  Kids will eat what you teach them to eat — especially if they get hungry.  This idea that children should be able to pick and choose what they eat —- pure poppycock.  Most kids will not like every single thing you feed them.  But truthfully, if you do this right from the beginning, they will like most them.  Again; make sure that your children develop a taste for healthy foods from the beginning.  One way of doing this is to make sure that……
  • IT’S NOT ‘CUTE’ TO GIVE YOUR BABIES SODA AND JUNK FOOD:  How many parents think it’s ‘cute’ to give their little tykes SODA or JUNK FOODS?  Lots of them.  This may be a great move if you are a low IQ individual who is trying to get their kids their own reality show (i.e. Honey Boo Boo).  But really; why give your kids a taste for things that you do not really want them eating?  And when it’s time to ship them off to school……..
  • SCHOOL LUNCHES?  BE CAREFUL:  I have written about school lunches (HERE).  Back in the day, school lunches used to be made from scratch.  Now everything is “open the package / can, heat, and serve“.  The amount of starch and processed flour that is being pawned off on our children in the name of “government sponsored nutrition” is appalling.  And when kids are finished with their school day, make sure that you…..
  • LIMIT SCREENS / GET KIDS OFF THE COUCH AND OUTDOORS:  Although large numbers of today’s children are terribly unfit, they have incredible thumb strength.  This is because if you’ll let them do it, most kids (BOYS IN PARTICULAR) will play video games for hours on end.  If you are going to have television and / or video games in your house, you have to strictly limit the time your kids sit in front of the screen.  Get your kids outdoors and teach them to make some adventure on their own.   Make sure you are doing this with them.  If you want your kids to listen to what you have to say, you have to……
  • LEAD BY EXAMPLE:  You want your kids to eat healthy, but you are making regular trips to the Burger Barn?  How does that work again?  Listen folks; this issue is no different than any other.  You are the parent; lead from the front.  Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, keep your weight under control, and…….
  • EDUCATE YOUR KIDS ABOUT THE REASONS FOODS ARE EITHER GOOD OR BAD:  I know, I know, I know.   The government says we should never label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Instead they say that, “All foods in moderation can be part of a healthy diet.”  Isn’t that special.  This is the same sort of politically-correct gobblety gook espoused by those who would ban dodge ball from gym class.  The truth is, there is a wide spectrum of foods that range from healthy to unhealthy, and everything in between.  There are foods you and your family should be eating regularly, and there are foods you and your family should be avoiding at all costs.  One of the biggest of these is…….
  • AVOID HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP:  HFCS is everywhere.  In case you are not up to speed, just understand that this stuff is bad —- really bad.  Do your own research and prepare to be freaked out.  Avoiding heavily processed sugars such as HFCS goes a long way towards……
  • LEARN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR:  If there is one link on this entire post that I truly believe you should click on, it’s THIS ONE.  Almost every conceivable health problem you can imagine (including obesity) is being tied back to uncontrolled blood sugar.   Nowhere is this more evident than with kids.  Just click on the link.  And while you are at it………
  • SCRAP THE FOOD PYRAMID:  How do you fatten a beef?  That’s right.  You feed them grain.  The more grain you feed them, the fatter they will get.  Now look at the Food Pyramid.  For the past three decades, our own government has been telling us to eat 8-11 servings of grains a day —- the foundation of the pyramid.   Hey, I wonder if it is a coincidence that during these same thirty years, the incidence of obesity has gone through the proverbial roof? 
  • HAVE A FAMILY MEAL TIME / DON’T EAT IN FRONT OF THE TV:  Enjoy your mealtime.  Teach your children to cook.  Get everyone to pitch in with meals and clean up.  Everyone sits together around the table and eats as a family.   Invite the neighbors over.   This is how Americans have always eaten —- until very recently. 

Oh, there are plenty more things you can do to help your children (and yourself) get to and maintain an optimal weight —– for the rest of their life.  This list is simply a starting point.  As always, do your own research and formulate your own plan.  OK, so your kids aren’t toddlers any more.  If you love them, you’ll make the changes you need to make.  No; I never said it would be easy.   But the longer you eat in a healthy manner, the easier it gets.  Stick with it and the day will come when it will seem easy. 

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