There are many health professionals that are quite concerned about the diet of most kids in the U.S. The incidence of childhood diseases such as obesity, diabetes, behavioral issues, etc. is escalating. According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut, at a nutrition conference in April 2005, “Children born in the year 2000 or later are not expected to outlive their parents”. That should awaken concern in every one of us.
Deficiencies in the diet span the spectrum of vital nutrients – minerals, essential fats and protein. Carbohydrates, although certainly needed, are in excess in most diets. The foods kids typically eat today are full of hydrogenated fats, flavor enhancers, sugar, dyes, preservatives and other irritating and health-degrading ingredients. The good nutrients are processed out of them, yielding practically worthless the indispensable raw ingredients – the very substances required to build healthy bodies.
Many kids have become picky eaters. We have found that the poorer the diet is in these primary nutrients, the less they are willing to eat good foods. The higher the degree of sugar and inferior processed foods, the more likely they will be to want those very foods that are contributing to their poor health. On the other hand, the more they eat of good quality, fresh whole grains, vegetables, fruits and meats, the more likely they will crave the good stuff! Getting them to eat those foods in the first place is a topic all of its own.
What effects does poor nutrition have on a growing body? Studies have linked intelligence with diet. The more the nutrients in the diet, the higher the IQ. I have found that many intelligent kids who eat poorly suffer extremes in behavioral issues. So they were born smart, but their current state of nutrition doesn’t adequately support their mental/emotional or physical health. Others, more so than ever it seems, are born with lower and lower IQ’s. I have spoken to many teachers, who have taught for many years, that complain that the kids seem to be dumber each year. There is cause for concern! Of no question is the increased incidence of behavioral issues – everything from zoning out, to hyperactivity, suicidal ideations to violence. Much, if not most of this is diet related.
With poor nutrition comes increased health issues such as diabetes, cancer, dental problems, cardiovascular compromise, digestive problems, obesity, leg pains, breathing problems, spinal deformities, weak immune systems, sleeping troubles, and mood changes. This is only a partial list! Getting kids of all ages to eat a high quality diet starts with the parents and cooperation by the whole family. It is possible, and easier than you may think. Further, it’s absolutely imperative for the future of our children. For guidance in how to get your kids to eat healthy, visit Vital Health and borrow my book, “Getting Kids to Eat Healthy,” from our lending library.
©2011 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.