This Article is About
childhood obesity epidemic
obesity epidemic
nerve function
lifestyle choices
nerve damage
type ii diabetes
fighting chance
vision loss
processed foods
positive changes
The Childhood Obesity Epidemic
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The Childhood Obesity Epidemic

The obesity epidemic is rampant in America. We all know that. But, what are we really doing to change it. I mean, really change it? I'm not seeing any positive changes.

I'm not seeing any medical organizations making a big push to curb this catastrophe.

I'm not seeing the school systems making a big push to curb this catastrophe.

And I'm surely not seeing families taking a personal responsibility to curb this catastrophe.

Why?

Is it that people don't really understand what diabetes is? Is it that they don't understand the long-term ramifications of chronic disease?

A friend of mine, Terri Crawford, chronicled the life of her friend Ellen, a Type II diabetic.

Diabetes will lead to loss of vision; loss of kidney function and loss of nerve function. Ellen suffered with all of these complications. The nerve damage and lack of circulation initially took a toe to gangrene. Terri, my friend, chronicled the loss of the toe through photographs.

You would've thought Ellen would want to change her lifestyle and her diet after losing her toe....NO.

Next, Ellen lost her foot. Terri continued to chronicle, through her pictures. Yet again, you would think Ellen would want to change her life to save her life. NO.

Next, Ellen lost her leg. Still more pictures. Still NO change in lifestyle or diet on Ellen's part.

Ellen lost her vision....but never lost her love of the processed foods that were robbing her of her life.

Ellen died at 56 years old due to the ravages of Type II diabetes. All preventable.

As adults, it all comes down to personal choice. Personal responsibility. If you choose to kill your self with poor lifestyle choices, that's your prerogative. But, what about our children? What choices do they have. It's their parents that buy the food in their home. It's our school districts that feed our children disgusting processed food-like substances. What fighting chance do our children have?

Why is there such apathy? I search for these answers daily, but they don't seem to be available. I would like to reach out, through this medium and see if there are answers. If you have thoughts as to why there is such apathy, please share them. I've been scratching my head for years. 15, or so, to be exact. I've been watching this epidemic and I feel powerless.

Just take small steps. If these children could just eat one piece of fresh fruit and a vegetable per day, we could make a very small stab at reducing the diabetic epidemic.

One small step. That's all I'm asking for.


Street Talk

Brandon8  

I really feel so bad for the kids :(

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Amy4  

Everything is instant gratification today. Look at this medium...we can type or even speak and our words appear on the screen. We don't even have to write anymore...cooking a meal is a "chore". With depression prevalent as well, the body is becoming more used to gaining its serotonin boosts from carbs, other than exercise or other stimulating activities. Just my two cents, and I have 4 kids as well, ages 19 down to 6.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
C4rmen  

What a hard hitting article. Its like the moment to moment choices dont seem to reflect the serious consequences of bad habits sometimes. How sad.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
joe witt  

bringing back gym and promoting more exercise is one step. When I was in school we had gym everyday, now I believe it's an elective. Plus fast food or processed food is easy and quick, no one wants to take the time to cook a well balanced meal.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

We are finally seeing the results of the fast food lifestyles.I agree with Joan. We did this with my son, as he needed a healthy diet to calm his ADD. It is very doable.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Shawn, I loved your comment. It's not EASY, but it is doable to change your diet. Watching your child lose limbs or vision is definitely not doable.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Joan S  

I'd stock the refrigerator with healthy food and teach the kids to cook. It's creative. They'll love it.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

You hit the nail on the head.....just ask the kids to help prepare the food......they joyfully take ownership and will eat healthfully. If we just took the time to spend a few minutes with our kids at meal time.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Great idea, Joan. Letting their imagination lead them in the kitchen could create some interesting masterpieces. Or scary meals. But it's all fun!

  
  about 1 decade ago
Barbara9  

very informative article

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Dr. Becky, your points here are very valid. Processed foods are some of the cheapest, fastest, and easiest foods to make. And because they are loaded with sugars and fats, they are exactly what kids want to eat. Tired and stressed from a long days work, it's easier to feed a box of mac and cheese to a kid than fight them to eat chicken, rice and veggies. But, fight I do, every single night and my children are not only healthy, but are learning from it too.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

We don't fight. I just say, "Too bad, that's it til breakfast" and let the kids make their decision. As they get older they've added all sorts of foods to their repertoire, such as raw onion on their burritos. We give the kids one dislike and they eat everything else. Recently my kids had an animated discussion on the poor kids at school whose mums don't pack healthy food in their lunch boxes (and I didn't think I was doing so good on that one with the regular sandwiches...). Some of them only have potato chips and fruit roll ups! Horror! My oldest son is now 11 and actively rebels the thought of going to McDonalds. We all love subway... me most of all as I get to watch the face on the shop attendant as the kids instruct them how to 'load it up'. ;-) This is a gift that will carry our kids into adulthood.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

So true, Heather. I think I'm doing a pretty good job finding a balance between very healthy and small amounts of junk. But, I can tell I could learn a lot of tips from you! One of my biggest things is feeding my guys homemade desserts like pumpkin muffins and banana bread. I keep teaching them - there's no nutrition in candy, but there is some (although small) in cookies so I want them to always choose a cookie over candy - and they do! My son went to a candy shop with his class on Tuesday and when they were given a "prize" from the candy box he chose a Lightning McQueen pad of paper over a lollipop. I was proud!

  
  about 1 decade ago

I would have been too AJ! Sounds like you're doing a great job! I do the home baking bit too... I'm all for foods that substitute for the bought alternatives. I know what's in them, the kids love them and don't feel deprived, and I can add my own touches like halving the sugar content and using a healthier alternative such as rapadura or raw sugar. Anyone who label reads would surely think twice about the alternative supermarket variety of treat - and they taste shocking! Now who's getting going on it! lol

  
  about 1 decade ago

Damn you women leaving me out of this, I am no longer going to comment on an article till you two have done so. It looks as thought I missed out on something here.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks AJ.....fighting the good fight isn't easy.....but our kids lives are on the line. The Lightning McQueen story made me smile like a Cheshire Cat. I can only imagine the pride you felt, as his mother. Way to go!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

You've got that right, Dr. Becky. It's moments like those that make you proud of your kids and make you realize you must be doing something right. Rob, if you show up late to the dance, don't expect a choice of partners! I'm sure Heather agrees we miss your two cents worth - join in anytime!

  
  about 1 decade ago

This story defies belief but is surely a wake up call for many?! I too have tried to 'help' parents at the school with my own experience of how diet helped my children... especially my son who had been a 'hard to manage' toddler. Most people listen politely but honestly don't want to know. I recently told the parent association that I won't volunteer or support the canteen while ever they're selling such unhealthy choices. It would be simply too stressful for me. To my surprise another mom spoke up and supported me. Why is the school so slow to listen? I had to formally put it in writing this year that I wanted my children put in classes where the teacher didn't use candy as a reward system. The last two years my children have been given candy every single day and no-body would act on my complaints!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Heather, we have the same problem here. Not in school as much (although weekly snacks is always cookies it seems :( ) but my daughter's bus driver gives her candy as she gets off the bus at least 2 or 3 times a week! And since my son is with me at the bus stop - we get a double dose! Now, I'm the bad guy who won't let my kids eat the candy, especially before lunch! Sorry to rant,, but you hit an emotion with your comments - isn't that what we're supposed to do :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Well, as with many things it helps to know I'm not the only one who gets upset about these things! My sister buys candy that comes from a natural food company. It's still sugar but has no additives and preservatives. Her children just know they surrender any candy they're given as an exchange for the 'good' stuff. It's a good idea but fairly hard to police. Our kids come into contact with so many 'well meaning' people. Rant away, I'll nod sympathetically all day on this one!

  
  about 1 decade ago

Showed up late? I was the first on the dance floor, you Ladies did your typical thing and were late.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Please read my comment in reply to AJ, how can I be ignored, on something I want to be involved in?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Dr Becky, when one sees a person every day, do you really see their gradual change in size? How many times we comment to our kids how the baby has grown and they say they don't see it. I wonder as a child becomes obese if parents are not aware as it is gradual. Sure there certainly seems to be a lack of awareness being played out, and you wonder why, but let me assure you it is not a problem that is endemic to America it is world-wide. Not one country I know has huge awareness campaigns on the go, made be it is the ostrich mentality, with everyone having their heads in the sand.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Hear, hear Rob! We support you brother!! lol (Happy now you're involved?! )

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

haha, beat me to it Heather. Rob, we all need pictures to remind ourselves of how we looked before and after. At my heaviest, I was appalled at how I looked in photos, yet couldn't see it in the mirror. Now, I've lost so much weight through healthy eating I don't recognize myself in the mirror, but photos finally look like me again. I'm rambling, but I believe there's a point in there somewhere...I'll leave it for Rob to find :)

  
  about 1 decade ago

AJ this is an interesting concept I just haven't understood. Over-weight people who just don't see it in themselves?! It seems a real thing though and I've read it often in women's magazines. The proverbial "I looked at myself in the wedding photos and was horrified!". Maybe an article on this from your perspective would be enlightening?! (Yes, Rob, you can write one too and we'll be all interested!)

  
  about 1 decade ago

I can assure you there is one to come, I feel almost unwanted and if that what it takes its on its way.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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