Avoid Childhood Obesity: 10 Steps To A Healthier Child
A whopping 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese. Professor Terry Wilken of the Peninsula Medical School tells us that by age 5, “the die is cast.” One million children are now showing signs of high blood pressure and heart disease, presenting a new era of extraordinary challenge of high body fat to our nation’s pediatricians.
According to Dr. Tim Lobstein of the International Obesity Task Force, the scope of these numbers and their implication for mankind is unprecedented.
From smiling clowns at drive-up windows to a beckoning Chihuahua, and a kid whose bologna has a first name; the competition is fierce for market share of your child’s stomach. Drive-up counters have replaced the dinner bell and fast food is no longer fast enough. Not surprisingly, diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes has surged 90 percent, in the last decade alone.
Sugar races into your child’s bloodstream, signaling their pancreas to produce insulin. Trans fatty acids accelerate their risk for heart disease. Preservatives, artificial additives, man-made sugars, white carbohydrates and processed foods add fuel to this internal fire—the building blocks for cellular aberration, degeneration and stored body fat.
If we care about obesity prevention… we need to translate that belief to our children. It starts by recapturing the family dinner and wholesome cooking. Prioritize purchasing locally grown foods and the value of what “live food” can do for the body, mind and spirit. It’s time for us to become nourishers as well as nurturers.
10 Steps To A Healthier Child
1) Healthy snacks: Seeds are far more nutritionally dense than other foods, particularly those from pumpkin and squash. Add them to a mix with the healthiest nuts like almonds, pistachios, macadamia and pine. They break down slowly and feed you gradually, helping your child avoid hunger and low blood sugar; while bathing their cells with “healthy” fat.
2) Fruits and vegetables: Seven fruits or vegetables a day “is” doable. Invest in a great blender, like the Vita Mix 5200, and throw in all things good. You’ll be amazed at how a banana can mask the taste of the most onerous veggie (even fish oil). Consider mixing in some organic” freeze dried” berry powder. Make healthy smoothies or serve fresh vegetable juice.
3) White Carbohydrates: Eliminate bleached and artificially fortified miracle bread. If you must, opt for sourdough and top it off with healthy Extra Virgin Olive Oil or real organic butter. It’s naturally high acidity, coupled with a topping of healthy fat, slows its entry in the bloodstream, giving your child’s pancreas a break. For pasta dishes, make the switch from white noodles to 100 percent whole wheat.4) Organic locally-grown vegetables: Grow your own or purchase them from a local farmers market. Another alternative is Community Supported Agriculture. Go to www.localharvest.org/csa/. Sign up and pick up a beautiful basket of fresh locally grown vegetable produce for a small fee at a local community college. Take control of what your child eats in school as well. Farm to School (www.farmtoschool.org) delivers healthy foods from local farms, to schools nationwide.
5) Less is best: Serve less food by using smaller plates or share an entrée when dining out. We’ve grown accustomed to eating outlandish portions because they’re there. Serve moderate amounts of animal protein too. As a rule of thumb, never eat a serving of protein larger than a deck of playing cards. Kids need even less.
6) Make healthier choices: Healthy fats in reasonable amounts help balance blood sugar and reduce internal inflammation. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for higher-heat cooking. Extra Virgin Olive Oil for low to medium heat cooking. Dredge that chicken in coconut flour, not bleached flour. Eat the healthiest sources of protein, by choosing grass-fed beef, free-range pastured poultry, and fish from unpolluted waters.
7) Sugar: Reduce it. While no sugar is healthy, studies show that Xylitol significantly reduces the bacteria and plaque on teeth when used moderately. Even better, use Stevia, an all natural herbal sweetener with none of sugar’s downside. Fill that “sippy cup” with water, not fruit juice; fructose cravings and tooth decay begin at a young age, from sugary foods.
8) Family Time: A study by Harvard researchers Taveris et al. (Obesity Research, 2005) of more than 14,000 children ages 9-14, concluded that the benefits of eating dinner as a family appear to include improved diet quality, reduced high-risk adolescent behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use, and improved performance in school.
9) Water: Drink ample amounts of natural spring water without fluoride; approximately half your child’s body weight, expressed in ounces daily. Example: an 80-pound child should drink 40 ounces of water throughout the day.
10) Walk: Studies show countless benefits from brisk walking for as little as 15 minutes a day, from reduced body fat to increased bone density.