One of my biggest fears in the U.S. is the childhood obesity epidemic. It is alarming to see the climb in body fat among young ones and even more alarming to know that children aren't predicted to outlive their parents. So who is to blame? The grocery stores? The FDA? Parents? Schools? All of the above in my book.
How often do you see children playing outside now a days? How often do you see kids snacking on apples and oranges? I know I don't see it often. Unfortunately, video games and quick and unhealthy food seem to be the staple of many children's lives. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, "childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years." This puts children at greater health risks such as cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, pre diabetic, and can put them at greater risk of certain types of cancers.
So how do we prevent these things and save children from the epidemic? I love when I work with clients and they have their children present while they exercise. Yes, it can be distracting at times but it is such a positive influence and can help pave the path of healthier choices for them. Children are meant to be active so it is very important that as adults we promote it. Healthy eating is also critical and it should be stressed at home. I am absolutely furious when I see children eating chips and candy. It is not hard to feed kids healthy snacks and as far as I am concerned, unhealthy food shouldn't even be an option. I have a little sister who is 7 years younger than me and I used to teach her about healthy eating ALL the time when we were younger (and still to this day). She fought me tooth and nail and used to hate baking with me because of all the substitutes I used to do, especially when it came to using apple sauce instead of white sugar. I will never forget the day that I overheard her and a friend baking in the kitchen and she said, "we are going to use apple sauce instead of sugar" and her friend said, "why, that's gross?" My sister informed her that it was healthier to use apple sauce and had less sugar. She was probably only 12 years old and had no idea what the true benefits were but it had stuck to her that it was the better option. If we do these little things it will grow into something much more powerful and beneficial for us all.
Children aren't only influenced at home but at school as well. Cafeterias are starting to catch up and are slowly making healthier options but it will take a while. Children who bring their own food are at a greater advantage of eating healthier and less processed food. Food isn't the only problem at schools but activities seem to be a second thought now a days. Children need to be active. Not only is it good for them socially but mentally and physically.
So how can we help the children epidemic? Promoting healthy eating and supporting active lifestyles is crucial. It might take sometime for them to adapt but it will be worth it for them in the long run.
In good health,
Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.