Thursday, May 24, 2012

Childhood Obesity

I know I'm getting old when my friends (okay facebook friends), start having babies on purpose. Or get pregnant, and can't audition for "Teen Mom" anymore. I always say that I hate kids (pretty sure I'm emotionally damaged from not worth the 15 bucks), but my 'antichrist' attitude has changed over time from 'I hate kids' to 'I hate parents', to recently, 'Ugh that's so mean...okay, I hate parents that feed their children crap'.

Childhood obesity has more than TRIPLED in the last 30 years. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 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. What the HELL America. This is not only disgusting, it is devastating. Because of our choices over the last 30 years, we are now the first generation expected to die before our parents. Our life expectancy is 10 years shorter because of the food landscape today.

Since I'm a visual learner, let me show you an example. Let's put some faces to statistics that, unfortunately, we've become so used to.

This is Brittany. She lives in West Virginia which last year, was named the most unhealthy state in America. Brittany is 16 years old. Because of the food that she has eaten, Brittany has 6 years to live. She is literally eating her liver to death. At this rate, her body is unable to keep up and will give out in SIX short years.
This is Stacy Edwards and her two children. Justin is 12 years old. He weighs 250 pounds. Katie is 4 years old. She's obese before she's even started elementary school.

If you feel no sympathy for these people, let me try and get you angry:
Think about smoking. Smoking costs WAY less than obesity now. Obesity costs us Americans 10 percent of our health care bills. $150 BILLION dollars a year. In ten years, it's set to double. $300 billion dollars a year. And let's be honest America, we don't have that kind of money layin' around.

We spend our lives being paranoid about death. Murder, homicide, abductions, etc. It's in all the papers, on the news, and even on milk cartons (probably flavored milk...DAMMIT guys). We cope with this unnerving, irrational, fear by going through Del Taco because fuck it, we're going to die anyways right? Well, look at how well that's working out for us.
Heart disease, all cancers, and stroke are the top three causes of death in the United States. And then there's diabetes in red also. Oh yeah and the reason they're in red? Because they're diet related diseases. AKA, completely preventable. Look at homicide all tiny at the bottom. We need to seriously reevaluate our choices.

Obviously, obesity is a huge problem. Pun intended. So why choose to post on childhood obesity specifically? Because we have to break this chain. The last three generations of people have been so terribly unhealthy. If we continue this pattern, of feeding ourselves and our children the way the majority of America eats, we are doomed. Doomed for more heart disease, more cancer, more strokes, more Type II diabetes, more deaths.

Feeding your children processed, sugar filled, unhealthy, junk, is a direct form of child abuse. Think about that. You are setting your child up to crave those foods and in turn, you are setting them up for chronic disease. YOU control the type of foods your child likes. If you feed your children nutritiously dense, healthy, WHOLE foods, they will be hard wired to crave those foods. Alternatively, if you feed them chicken nuggets, cookies, soda, pizza, etc., they will be hard wired to crave those foods. Furthermore, (oh I'm on a roll now guys), let's talk about being pregnant for a second. It all starts there. I have never been pregnant but I have heard from every other girl that has been, that the cravings are insane. And sometimes, you just gotta give in. SOMETIMES ladies! If you're eating fast food for every meal, Doritos, Cheetos, nacho cheese from 7-11, slurpees, Twinkies, and pizza because "you can because you're pregnant", you're already abusing your unborn child. You're already setting that child up to crave these things!

Now, I'm not a barbarian. I'm not saying my future child will never eat dinosaur chicken nuggets or get a cookie cake for his/her birthday. But there is a HUGE difference between special occasion food, and making this your child's daily diet. So let's talk about some solutions.

1. Educate Your Children

I watched a video of Jamie Oliver holding up produce to a class of kindergarteners, and none of the children could identify an eggplant, a beet, a tomato, or a head of cauliflower. Scary. If kids don't know what things are, they won't eat it. And if you think I'm wrong, you're wrong.


This is huge. (That's what she said). I realized today while researching my topic, I was never allowed to buy lunch from school. I never really questioned it, my lunch was just always on the kitchen counter in the morning. Cafeteria food IS fast food. Maybe not McDonalds or Taco Bell, but it is highly processed, preserved, sugary, salty, greasy, finger food. Most schools don't even allow forks or knives because they're considered 'dangerous'. (Lol). So we are forced to feed our children food that they can eat with their hands. Burgers, pizza, burritos, sloppy joes, chicken nuggets, french fries and chimichangas. And then to wash it all down, they serve them flavored milk. I'm not even going to get into that because you can read my rant on flavored milk HERE.

3. Cook For Your Family

I know you're busy. I get it. We're all busy. Let me answer your prayers. It's called a Crock Pot. GET ONE. Then go HERE (I even Googled for you) and explore. Healthy crock pot breakfasts, lunch, dinners, and desserts. Welcome!

4. Stop Buying Your Kids Video Games

Also, you stop playing them too. Get up, and go play. When was the last time you played anything outside? When was the last time you saw your kid play anything other than Call of Duty? Teach them how to throw a football...boy or girl! There is something sexy about seeing a girl throw a football, teach her now, she'll thank you later.

5. Don't Use Food as a Reward

Pretty self explanatory. Your child is not a dog. And when they accomplish something in the future, they'll turn to food. Take your little girl to go get her nails done or your little boy to the batting cages.

There's obviously a fine line between being obsessive about what you and your child eat, and being mindful. So, be mindful, be happy, be healthy.

Ps- Whilst writing this I ate 4 pieces of dark chocolate. Keepin' it real over here. x

1 comment:

  1. OMG, I totally and completely feel you! It makes me so angry when I'm at the store and I see a grossly overweight child with their parent and when I look in the cart it's overflowing with Lunchables, oreos, cakes, cookies...oh and the kicker is when the mom says "After food shopping, we can go to Wendy's!" FACE PALM!!! Did you watch "The Weight of the Nation" on HBO? Scary stuff. It's just so infuriating that people blindly throw their health down the toilet and choose not to educate themselves. The health state of this country is really mind-boggling.