Prevent Childhood Obesity - Is It Possible?
We are all quite aware of the growing concern of obesity in our children today. Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our society, and we've all heard the various statistics regarding this growing trend. But what really are the childhood obesity facts and what are we prepared to do about them?
Plain and simple these are your childhood obesity facts: our children are consistently eating too much of the wrong foods, and have become the most inactive generation in the history of our society. This is not a genetic problem (which is not to say that there are some adults and children that have a genetic and hormonal predisposition to obesity), this is for the most part a behavioural problem, and behaviours can be changed.
Think about it, is it really necessary for our children to be ingesting the vast quantity of refined sugars, processed foods, and hydrogenated fats that they do every day. Foods and beverages that are consumed in such large quantities that their bodies cannot process and eliminate at the rate that these foods are consumed. And because our children are not 'moving' any more, the results are inevitable: skyrocketing obesity rates, an alarming incidence of type 2 diabetes in children, a significant increase in childhood behavioural problems, with low self-esteem and a rise in depression rates.
These are your childhood obesity facts! The question has to asked, why are we allowing this to happen?
It certainly is not because of a lack of education or knowledge about what the proper foods are and what constitutes a balanced diet: complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole grains), adequate proteins, and the right amount of good fats. And we all have an idea of the benefits of exercise both from a physiological and psychological level. We may not know the specifics but we know the generalities. The information and knowledge is at our fingertips, more available and accessible to us than at any time in our history.
Our problem lies in our habits and behaviours. How can we prevent childhood obesity? Change our behaviours. It sounds so simple, yet why don't we? Because changing our habits, changing our behaviour is the most difficult thing we do in our lives. We resist change, we are creatures of habit, with the same thoughts, and the same patterns of behaviour day after day. This leads to complacency and comfortable laziness, and we pass this on to our children.
Yet we must change for our children's sake. All change begins with awareness. Once we become aware of our behaviours and the consequences of them, we can begin to make conscious choices to change our behaviour and the behaviour of our children. And yes it is a greater challenge in our society today than in past times. It is so much easier to grab a quick dinner from a fast food chain and spend hours interacting with friends on some social media network.
But if we are to change these childhood obesity facts, conscious choices must be made for our children. Behaviours can change, and when they do, the results will change, and the growing trend toward childhood obesity will change as well. Change begins with a decision to change, and that choice is ours.
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