Interestingly, awareness subjects for the month of September focus on two subjects – “fruits and veggies” and “childhood obesity”. It certainly appears, at least to the writer, that the two subjects go hand-in-hand. Fruits and vegetables are known to provide countless health benefits and those individuals that eat a well-balanced diet can lower their risk for such conditions as obesity and a great deal more. Despite this, statistics prove that most of us fail to consume the recommended amounts every day.
Obesity is a serious condition that affects individuals of all ages. It is known to occur in children who are above their normal weight for their age, build and height. The problem is that issues once confined to older individuals is now affecting children. Diabetes, hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels are becoming real issues, and that is without considering the stigma of poor self-esteem and the fact that other children may be hurtful in their comments to someone they consider fat or obese.
So, how can we combat things early on? One of the best methods is to do all we can to improve the dietary intake of our children. Even at a very young age, we can keep carrot sticks, apple wedges, orange slices, and celery sticks filled with peanut butter and dotted with raisins to mimic bugs on a log available for snacking on. Making good choices fun to look at and fun to eat will go a long way toward a healthful diet. And, if those choices are readily available at snack time, the rest of the family just might get the idea also. Before you know it, everyone will be making better choices.
It’s relatively easy to purchase canned soda, drinks that are high in sugar content, candy, potato chips, cookies, and more to have on hand, or to stop at a fast food shop for a quick pick-me-up. It goes without saying that too many calories from these food groups can have an enormous impact on childhood obesity. It must be clearly stated that some children and adults are obese because of genetic diseases and hormonal disorders. As a result, they fight extra weight all their lives, despite the fact they likely eat healthy foods. That is a separate issue altogether.
Along with diet, exercise is extremely important – again for children and also for adults. After school might be a good time to throw a ball around in the back yard, to play a game of croquet, or walk around the block. A parent or other adult should interact with the child during exercise and here we go again, it gives individuals of every age bracket a means of keeping healthy and happy.
Economic factors must also be considered. Many crackers, pastas, cookies, frozen meals and even canned soups contain an appreciable amount of salt and fats. While the foods may be less expensive or an easy option for a parent more so than fresh fruits and vegetables and healthier food choices, the price can be greater in the long run.
Additional weight for individuals of any age can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep disorders, type 2 diabetes, and more. Protect those you care for and love. Shop with good health in mind, make better choices, and your family will be better off in the long run.