Are you planning to have a family with children? Are you currently raising one child or even more? As parents we encounter family problems on a weekly and even daily basis. Now parents face a more serious problem (a must read) American children are facing unprecedented health challenges due to the consumption of refined and processed foods. In fact you may be the first generation of parents that will raise children that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Children while young may not look like they have health challenges. Not all children that eat refined or processed foods are overweight. However, you may see other health problems develop. Your child may be suffering from frequent ear infections, a cold or sore throat that seems to never quit go away or they may have persistent sinus or upper respiratory allergies and infections or digestive issues such as stomach cramping, constipation or diarrhea. This can happen when the body is nutrient deficient and can’t build a strong body or build a strong immune system. One fact you can bank on, a diet consistent in refined and processed foods will put your children at a very high risk for a future filled with adverse health problems and diseases.
The Influence of a Mothers Health
The health of a child actually begins before conception!. If the mother has been getting good nutrition and was taking care of herself, her baby has the best chance of being born healthy and has less risk of birth defects and future childhood and adult illness. If you are in child-bearing years your health is very important for both you and your baby. Research has actually shown us that the health of the mother influences her child all through their life even through their adult years. If you are in child bearing years your health is very important for both you and your baby. Make sure you are getting great nutrition and exercising to build a healthy body for you and your child.
The Nutritional Do’s and Don’t
The nutritional needs for children are different from those for adults. As they mature and pass into adolescence there nutritional needs change again. It’s important to make sure children are getting great nutrition to build a healthy brain, strong muscles and bones. In addition, exercise and physical activity are very important for the health of your children. They need to be involved in physical activities like soccer, baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, after school programs at your local health club or YMCA.
Make family activities a priority each week. Take walks, go on picnics, explore trails with them, and go to your nearest play ground and play,
The best way to make sure they are getting adequate nutrition is to feed them wholesome foods that build health. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds are loaded with health building carbohydrates, fats, protein and powerful antioxidants and other phytonutrients.. If selecting meats use free range turkey and chicken and wild caught cold water fish like salmon, halibut, cod, Alaskan whiting, and tuna.
Brain, skeletal and muscle-building nutrients are vital for a young body. Healthy fats including some saturated fats are critical for brain development. The Omega family of fats are considered essential fatty acids because they are important for health and we only get them from our diet.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Most Americans are deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Very good sources of these healthy fats include scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves and mustard seeds. Good sources of these fats include halibut, cod, tuna, soybeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Omega 6 fatty acids are very common in our diet and is not an issue for the average person.
What foods should be avoided or limited?
- Refined and processed foods are high in calories, unhealthy fats, salt, preservatives and sugars. These foods rob your body of nutrients and over time cause adverse health conditions.
- Cola’s of all types should be avoided. They contain very harmful ingredients.
- Fruit juices are high in sugar and can cause obesity and cavities. Eat the fruit instead!
- Avoid white breads, white rice and added sugars.
- Fast Food, what is it made of, is that really chicken?
- The 5 Most Unhealthy Kids Meals ( just an example of how bad fast food is for your children and you.
- Milk may have calcium however it is loaded in sugar and fats. Cheese is concentrated milk and is loaded in saturated fat and sodium. There are other good sources of calcium. Learn more about dairy and your health here. Another interesting read on dairy products from a farmer!
How does this affect your children?
- “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. “American Heart Association”
- Childhood obesity will lead to early heart disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancers.
- Two years ago the American Pediatric Association recommended that children between the ages of 2 and 10 get screened for heart and cholesterol problems if they are overweight or their parents are overweight, have high cholesterol or smoke.
- We are now seeing children under the age of 12 developing heart disease, high cholesterol and adult onset diabetes (type II )
Scientific Proof, we and our children are getting fatter!
· Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2
· Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.5
· Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.3,6
· Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6
Why are we having this problem?
- Convenience has robbed us of our health. McDonald’s or Burger King on the way home is the norm. Quick foods at home are poisoning our bodies. For example, pizza, pop tarts, sugar-coated cereals, instant flavored oatmeal, instant grits, doughnuts, pastries, white bread, chicken nuggets, French fries, tater tots, hash browns, macaroni and cheese, meals in a bag, biscuits and jelly, drive through meals, candies, etc…. are full of fat, sugar, calories and very little nutrition to build a healthy brain or body.
- Lack of physical activity. Our body adapts to the demands put on it, if we do not move it has no reason to give us more energy to move more or to build stronger bones and muscles. Exercise is required for a healthy body.
The Nutritional Basics for a Healthy Child A healthy diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent obesity and weight-related diseases, such as diabetes. The following guidelines will help you give your child a nutritious diet:
- Offer a minimum of 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables a day
- Everyone should start the day with a nutritious breakfast.
- Choose healthy sources of protein, such as lean meat, nut, beans, lintels and eggs
- Serve whole-grain breads and cereals because they are high in fiber
- Broil, grill or steam foods instead of frying them
- Avoid fast food and junk food
- Offer water and milk or mild substitutes (almond milk) instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas
- Do not give in to your child demands for unhealthy foods, eventually their whining will stop and they will eat when they get hungry, as long as YOU DO NOT GIVE INTO THEIR DEMANDS. You are the parent and must take control.
Learn about your child’s nutrient requirements. Some of them, such as the requirements for iron and calcium, change as your child ages.
Children Resource Links
- A Dr. Oz Resource for Parents
- Eat This Not That for Kids
- Healthy Family Recipes
- Healthy School Snacks
- How To Read a Food Label
- Nutrition, Exercise and Child Health
- How to Get Your Family to Eat Vegetables!
- Great Vegetarian Recipes
- Great Vegetarian Resources
- How About School Lunches?
- Kids Nutrition and Fitness Center
- Nutrition Tips for Children and Adolescence
- Nutrient’s and Their Food Sources
- Super Healthy Kids Blog
- Use This Interactive Tool to Determine Yours and Your Child’s Actual Calorie and Nutrient Needs
Remember you are the parent. Do not let convenience rob your children of their health. If you put healthy food in front of them eventually when they get hungry enough they will eat. They need to know you are serious and will not give in to their demands. Be STRONG! All it takes is planning and organizing. Talk to other parents and start a local support group to share ideas on planning and organizing to make it easier to eat healthy.
I know you love your children, now you know how serious this health issue is and you can take proper action. Most parents just don’t know what to do. Use these resources to help make your children as healthy as possible so they can look forward to a healthy and happy future. I know you can do it.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.