We’ve written before about the obesity epidemic – and it really is an epidemic! But, childhood obesity is really just a symptom of several much deeper issues.
A recent study found that teens are developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes at a younger age than any previous generation. Worse yet, the study found that today’s teens are likely to live shorter lives than their parents! How can this be? We can start with what has been called the “4 S’s.”
Added Sugar. Almost 30 percent of the calories consumed by teens today comes from sugary drinks and snacks. One 12 ounce can of soda can have 10 teaspoons of sugar in it. Candy bars can be just as bad, too. Excess sugar packs on the pounds, causing the heart and other organs to work harder and raising blood pressure. Added sugar can also cause insulin spikes and contribute to the onset of diabetes.
Added Salt. Kids eat more sodium than any other age group. Many of the snack foods preferred by teens include lots of salt. And many restaurant meals also have high sodium contents. Sodium is added to foods to boost the taste, and it’s inexpensive, so many chefs and food manufacturers use it. Added salt increases blood pressure and causes other organs to work harder.
Skipping healthy foods. Studies find that only about 20 percent of teens eat the recommended 5 servings of fruits and veggies each day. Also, only about 10 percent get the recommended amount of whole grains. These foods contain essential vitamins and nutrients, as well as lots of fiber. It is estimated that 85 percent of all digestive issues today are related to the foods we eat and how we eat them. Eating more healthy foods would eliminate many of them.
Sitting around. Only 20 percent of teens get more than 1 hour of physical activity per day. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Physical activity helps keep the heart strong and helps your organs process the foods you eat. It also helps burn off “extra” calories; keeping you at or near your body’s healthy weight.
So how do we reverse this trend? The truth is, we know what really keeps kid’s healthy, and it’s not lectures or weigh-ins. Kids may be poor listeners, but they are great imitators! Whether you know it or not, your kids watch everything you do, so eating healthy yourself is the easiest and surest way to help your kids eat healthy.
The best thing you can do is focus on the positives and be a good role model. Do what you want them to do, don’t just scold them for having bad habits – after all, they likely got those habits from you!
For more information on helping reduce childhood obesity, read our FREE eBook, Do You Wish Your Kids Ate Better? It’s available on our website at www.Vitaerobics.com.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family’s health for generations! What choices will you make today?
You may also want to read: Genetics or Environment?, A different Approach