The topic of children’s health, or the lack of it, is increasingly being scrutinized. The increased incidence of “adult diseases” affecting our children today is chilling. Obesity, diabetes, cancer, asthma, and even heart disease are increasing in our children at alarming rates. Why is this happening, and is there anything we can do about it?
Around 2012, Joel Furman, M.D. a board certified family physician, stated that “Today’s children are not expected to outlive their parents”. That is a horrifying thought. He attributes most of it to diet. Others believe that diet, along with sedentary lifestyles (T.V., video or phone games replacing outdoor activities), lack of a solid family life and inadequate sleep are contributors.
As we become more and more technologically “advanced”, with it comes synthetics galore added to our foods to tantalize the taste buds, provide cheaper and more readily prepared meals, and other conveniences to support our fast moving lifestyle. With it comes potential dangers to our health – especially to the health of our children.
Children are increasingly being fed foods that do not contribute to vital health. Most are fed minimal fresh vegetables, fruit, quality meats or whole grains. The results of this is far-reaching. If you just look at our children today, they have dark circles under their eyes, their complexions are pale or sallow, their spines are rounded forward (unlike the straight backs of the past), their legs are bowlegged, their hair is in poor condition, their lips and cheeks lack color and they are either too skinny or too chunky. Obviously, I’m generalizing here, but what I want to illustrate is the lack of visual health indicators that we expect to see in children.
Poor diet contributes to many aspects of health such as emotional stability. There is more depression, obsessive compulsive and defiance disorders, hyperactivity, lack of ability to focus and more violence in children seen than in any other time in our history.
Dr. Furman states that “The effects of poor nutrition on the brain are dramatic – research has linked poor childhood dietary habits to adult violence.” He quotes the staggering results of The Cardiff University study involving 17,500 people linking poor diet to violence, depression, lower IQ scores, and diminished academic performance.”
Our children are lacking the basics, such as calcium, needed for maximum bone density which is reached by an average age of 15. They are lacking in the essential fats for building good brains, strong bones, adequate hormones and other elements requiring fats in the diet. They are lacking proteins, minerals, vitamins and quality carbs needed for important physiological functions. Instead, they are getting garbage “foods”, that contribute little to their overall health.
While Dr. Fuhrman questions if our children will outlive us, others are saying they will due to advances in medicine, but with significantly more health issues and ultimate cost to society.