Are We Addicted Or Conditioned?

As parents I know we all want the best for our children.  However lately I have seen more children under the age of 13 showing off their visceral fat and poor posture.  They look depressed and seem to lack social skills.  Is this the new and accepted condition/addiction?

Most children in the US are overfed and undernourished.  Obviously, since the brain is the driving force within our bodies, it only logically follows that children who aren’t nourishing their bodies also aren’t nourishing their brains. I have seen first hand how kids come into the classroom with donuts and soda.  They can not learn on these non- food like substances.  Countless studies and anecdotal observations confirm a clear link between the quality of food kids eat and their academic performance.  In other words, a diet of whole foods such as broccoli and peaches will likely get you better test scores than one of soda and Twinkies. And be honest – which foods do you see more often in the lunchroom? Obese children are at an automatic disadvantage in schools.

There is also plenty of evidence linking improved academic performance to physical activity.  Those adults who have a regular exercise routine ‘routinely’ report a greater sense of productivity in their work.  Again, it only makes sense that the same would translate to our kids.  Children that spend more  time outdoors instead of stagnant time on the TV Big Box  or computers feel better about themselves and their brains and their bodies get more oxygen. Want to get those test scores up?  Pay attention to what your kids eat, and how often they get the chance to move!

Obese children will live shorter lives than their parents.  The New England Journal of Medicine reported that if the childhood obesity trends continue, this will be the first generation of children that lives shorter lives than their parents. Why are we so concerned about test scores and ignoring our students life expectancy?  Why do we think it’s more important that they score a good grade on an end of year test than that they have clean arteries, fully functioning organs, and a body that won’t betray them?  Why do we find it OK to give them a fried corn dog or fried mac & cheese?  If we already know that heart disease and type-2 diabetes shorten a person’s lifespan, why aren’t we springing into action as a nation when we realize that more and more children under the age of 10 are afflicted with these ‘adult’ conditions?  There are undeniable health risks involved with smoking, for instance.  And we’ve made great strides in combatting that deadly habit.  But our Standard American Diet is just as deadly, if not more so.  We won’t let our children smoke, but we’ll let them drink soda all day long.  I see two year olds drinking an entire can!  A regular 16 ounce can of Coke has 194 calories and a whopping 54 grams of sugar, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Causing High Triglycerides.  Not an ounce of nutrition in the can.  Think for a minute about what that does to our kids bodies, and it’s not hard to conclude they won’t live longer than us. 

Hardly any of our children eat healthy.  Various studies and reports conclude that only 2% of children in the United States eat a diet along the guidelines given by the USDA. If this is the case, it can be safely assumed that the number of children who eat according to the more nutritionally sound ‘Eat Right America’ food pyramid (which focuses on whole vegetables and fruits, not grains, as the most important foundation of a healthy diet) is statistically too small to even calculate.  Which means that so few American children eat nutrient dense foods every day, we can’t even group enough of them together for a percentage point.  This is a staggering number – or rather, lack thereof.   Most of our kids don’t eat vegetables every day, hardly any fiber, never mind the recommended several servings.

Are we going to fix this deficit with supplements?  I think not.

Fast food is on the rise.  It’s cheap, seems convenient, and to taste buds that don’t know the joys of eating whole, nourishing foods, it tastes great.  But it not only lacks the necessary nutrients for growth and proper development, it actually contains an overload of ingredients that, over time, are deadly –  trans-fats in fried foods, MSG in can soups which excite brain cells to death, white flour is glue in the intestines, processed meats, sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, dirty sodium – all slow poisons served in HUGH portions.  In April 2012, The World Cancer Research Fund  has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer.  Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness.  Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption.  Morgan Spurlock’s famous documentary “Super-Size Me” really drives home the truth of what these unhealthy food products can do to a body that’s already grown.  It’s frightening to think what it does to children.  “If you are having a “Big Mac attack,” stop and visualize what one cup of Crisco with MSG chemicals would look like spread around your thighs and brain!”  It’s become a dangerous staple of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Diabetes is proliferating among our children, and half of all diabetic children are overweight.  Remember when Type-2 Diabetes was called ‘adult onset diabetes’?  Well, we can’t call it that anymore, because kids get it now, too. Why?  Because of the junk they eat.  According to The American Diabetes Association, the number of children diagnosed with type-2 diabetes DOUBLED between the years of 2005 and 2008.  If this doesn’t get our attention, I don’t know what will.

Connie is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach specializing in Metabolic & Endocrine health @