Wellness

A New Kind Of Child Abuse And Neglect

Child abuse or neglect are certainly serious issues. Obviously, penalties for such acts are imprisonment. There is not a person alive who would argue with the validity of imprisonment in these situations.

It is normally without question that when someone thinks of these type of allegations, the thoughts go towards physical or sexual abuse. However, let’s discuss another serious type of abuse or mistreatment that may be happening every day across our country without being noticed or acknowledged.

A Few Statistics

To lay a foundation for understanding in this situation, let’s look at some statistics. Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Futuristic estimates are shocking. This year, there are over 2 billion people worldwide are overweight with an estimated 700 million who are obese. By the year 2030, it is predicted that 60 to 100% of our population will be obese.

The tragedy of these statistics, which refer to adults in general, is that they affect the future generation drastically as well. The biggest tragedy in this global spread of obesity is the epidemic of childhood obesity and type two diabetes in children. Believe it or not there are 8-year-old children with diabetes. Here are some very sobering statistics regarding our children:

  • One in three children are overweight in America

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 35 years

  • There are now more than 2 million morbidly obese children above the 99th percentile in body weight

  • It is predicted that childhood obesity will have more impact on the life expectancy of children than all childhood cancers combined

  • One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime

Many experts are predicting the next generation of Americans (our children) are going to live with much more illness and die at a younger age than their parents. This should not be. I am sure you’re asking the question by now, “Why is this happening?” The answer, at least the bulk of it, may surprise you.

Why the Standard American Diet Is Dangerous

Let’s begin by identifying the three most dangerous and over-emphasized elements of the Standard American Diet. Those are grains, sugars, and unhealthy fats. Parents are responsible for the care of their children. This includes safety, shelter, feeding, clothing, and protection. This responsibility is expanded to training for the purpose of becoming a responsible adult. It is NOT about entertainment.

Because parents are so consumed with making money, keeping up with the mythical Jones family, and giving the child what they want, many times everyone of the basic needs are met, with the exception of proper nutrition.

Stress is commonplace today in the area of parenthood. It is our strong belief that stress is a major factor in the decay of the next generation. Stress has made itself very well known in families across the country. We are all trying to move faster, do more, and accomplish more than humanly possible. To that end, most nutrition for our children has now become fast food and sugar. Life has become about convenience rather then nutrition.

Fast food is full of heavily processed grains, sugary carbohydrate sources, low-quality meat, sugary sauces, low nutrient density, and high caloric density. The taste is extremely bland without chemical intervention. These chemicals might make the food taste great but they leave it nutritionally empty. Therefore, when a child consumes these fast foods, hunger actually increases.

Today, the average American, including children, consumes an estimated 115 pounds of sugar and sugar laden processed foods each year. High sugar intake promotes oxidation and inflammation. This sets the tone for excess insulin production, which drives fat storage.

Additionally this level of poor food intake sets the stage for heart disease, cancer, and accelerated aging. Our food today is so commonly filled with sugar and processed food, it is literally difficult to imagine anything different.

Sweets and processed foods have even become identifiers with reward. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and events are often filled with sweet, sugary treats and processed food as focal centerpiece displays. Children are given sweets in exchange for being quiet and desired behavior. These types of foods, though notably damaging, have become commonplace with children as well as adults.

Who is responsible?

Whose responsibility is it to care for our kids? It is the parents. While the kids are at home, parents have the ultimate responsibility of total protection. This protection involves protection of their health.

Dr. Michele and I are passionate about this subject. As we travel across the country, we are routinely seeing children who are extremely obese. We watch them eat these highly dangerous foods, prompted by their parents, in restaurants. It breaks our heart to see a child, who deserves much more, becoming a victim of a lackluster society.

Parents, it is time to weigh our actions and step up to responsibility. A parent may respond to this blog by stating a little doesn’t hurt. That may be correct in itself, but why open the door to your child being harmed?

As a father of three, I must admit my own failure in this area a few years ago. I too fell victim of becoming too busy. I see the actions of my inaction daily.

Dr. Michele and I encourage all parents, who still have children at home, to become extremely vigilant regarding your child becoming abused by our anti-nutrition culture. Clean out your cabinets, say no to your children, and look to your child’s future.

It may be difficult; we understand. It may even be too difficult for you as a parent. However, we encourage you to at least give your child a chance. Give them the gift that you had…an opportunity to live life - a full and healthy one.

Next Step

Next step is to get the Glycemic Index Food Chart.

Facts About Childhood Obesity