Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

Take a look around your local school playground and the epidemic is obvious. Nearly one-third of all American children are considered obese. Consequently, children are developing diseases that previous generations saw only later in life. Adult-onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, stroke, and neuropathy are being diagnosed in today’s children. The primary cause of this epidemic is the horrendous standard American diet. We have now entered the second generation of children raised on "unreal food." Processed foods are designed for our convenience and for increased profit margins of giant corporations. In order to maximize shelf life, enzymes that help digest food must be destroyed; nutrients and other minerals must be removed; and sugar, partially hydrogenated fats and oils, and a vast array of chemicals are added to make this "food” palatable. Experts now believe that only 2% of American children consume a truly healthy diet. Our children are among the most overfed and undernourished children in the world. Combine a horrible diet with severe inactivity, and you'll find many very unhappy, unhealthy, overweight children.

The solution is simple: Parents need to make healthy lifestyles a family priority. We need to stop over-scheduling ourselves and our children and take time to prepare nutritious meals. The whole family can get involved in meal preparation, and parents can make it fun. Real food does spoil fast; therefore, someone needs to go to the grocery store at least twice a week. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find the fresh foods. Do your best to pick out natural, organic, hormone- and preservative-free, non-genetically modified foods. Concentrate on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat. If it comes in a box, a bag, or a can, it is most likely processed and should be avoided. I prefer never to see more than 10% of total calories coming from sweets and desserts. I do recommend you stringently avoid the most toxic foods. What I consider to be poisonous foods are most commercial sweets, baked goods, potato chips, commercial french fries, blackened meats, candy, high fructose corn syrup, soda, donuts, commercial salad dressings made with soybean oil, and anything that contains partially hydrogenated fats or oils. Children may not listen to everything a parent says—but they are always watching. Parents that drink soda pop, eat junk food, and watch a lot of television set a poor example for their children. We should encourage our children to be outside. Go for a walk together, a bicycle ride, or make a trip to the park, and encourage sports or an individual exercise program. The key is to find activities that the children enjoy, and emphasis should be on creating a healthy lifestyle rather than on competition.

Health and Wellness of Carmel
11900 N. Pennsylvania St., Carmel, IN 46032
Phone 317-663-7123