Kids today are faced with so many challenges that it is a wonder there are so many good ones out there. What’s frightening is how many of them are sick. The number of diseases once considered “adult” or “old people” diseases that are affecting our children today is staggering. Some we’ve even had to re-name, (i.e. “adult onset diabetes” is now “Type II Diabetes”), because they’re no longer limited to adults.
Where did we all go wrong? Is it just happenstance that a child gets cancer, diabetes, immune deficiency illnesses or heart problems? I have treated several “kids” under the age of 20 who have had strokes or heart attacks. That was unheard of fifty years ago. I am becoming increasingly alarmed and scared for our children.
Dr. David Katz of the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut at a nutrition conference in April 2005 said “Children born in the year 2000 or later are not expected to outlive their parents”. He was speaking primarily to the obesity epidemic and the poor nutrition of kids today. He quoted in a Wall Street Journal article that a “poor diet in kids is more dangerous than alcohol, drugs, and tobacco combined!” I would have to say they are pretty on par when I see the results of poor diet today.
Other than unintentional injury, which comprises 39% of deaths in children 5-9 years old (2002 statistics), heart disease, cancer and congenital anomalies are in the top 5 causes of childhood death today.
Because parents are so busy, we have sacrificed good nutrition for convenience. Eating foods that are processed to death leave little building power. The purpose of eating is to supply the building blocks for building, rebuilding, and repairing function of the body. Synthetic nutrients can’t do this and they become burdensome for the body.
Then we have marketing: billions of dollars are spent annually targeting children to buy unhealthy snacks, fast food and sugar galore. Bright packaging, colorful, flavor-enhanced, enticing garbage confronts children as they watch TV, go shopping or are subject to other media. Sadly, many parents don’t understand the harm they do to their children when they give into their persistence in getting what they want.
I was querying a 19 year old patient of mine recently. As she told me what she eats, I asked if she ever ate vegetables. She said “oh yeah. Occasionally I’ll buy a mini-can of beans and smother them in Cheez Whiz and then I can choke them down.” I asked if she cooked. She said she didn’t have to; it was cheaper to buy MacDonald’s hamburgers and $.99 burritos. And she wonders why she has so many significant health challenges! There are many challenges children have today; diet is only one of them.
©2011 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.