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obesity epidemic design elements infographics

Source: Kathy Konkle / Getty

Gastric bypass surgery is now being considered an option for children under the age of 14. If this does not serve as a major wake up call, then I don’t know what will. In some countries, this procedure is happening to children under the age of five. The guidelines for the United States have been minimum of 14 years old but that could change. 

Back in the 1970s, only about 5% of children were obese…..probably because we had to ride our bikes everywhere, or we were forced to find stuff to do outside! In recent studies by Duke University, Wake Forest University and elsewhere, more than 40% of teenagers are obese. But worse, 26 percent of 2 to 5-year-olds were overweight and more than 15 percent were obese as reported in the Journal of Pediatrics. There is no doubt that a sedentary lifestyle with video games and electronics has played a part in the current statistics of childhood obesity. The percentage now for obese kids in our country is nearing 20%! Read that again. 20% OF CHILDREN ARE OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE. Although lack of activity is one factor, 80% of our weight control comes from what we CHOOSE to eat. We simply MUST take a look at the diet of today’s children. Last week this blog was about school lunches. Obviously school lunches can’t be the blame for the weight of your child. Sure it might play a role in it but let’s call it like it is. 

Type 1 diabetes used to be called Juvenile diabetes. Today, thousands of adolescents are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year. Type 2 used to affect people later in life due to lifestyle and dietary choices, but because kids are eating so poorly these days, they are being diagnosed with Type 2 younger and younger. Type 2 is preventable, treatable and reversible. For the record, even Type 1 can be drastically improved by what you eat. 

Preschool age children are now coming in to the doctor with the hardening of the arteries. Preschool! Let that sink in a minute. If your child is complaining of chest pains and having trouble breathing, it may be time to consider some dietary changes.

Former first lady, Michelle Obama, tried hard with a school campaign and “Let’s Move”campaign. The goal was to offer healthier options for kids at school and to get them to move 60 minutes a day. It was and is a great concept, but if they are going home to poorly made diets and junk food topped off with soda and sugar, then the efforts are futile. The momentum was there, the potential IS there, but it is clearly not happening fast enough. 

Ok parents. It is time for a wake up call. Unless your children are doing the grocery shopping and meal prep, then it’s time to make a change. There has never been a better time to gain control of the food in your household and teach children proper values about health and nutrition. Obviously overall health is the main concern, but overfeeding junk food can result in constipation, illnesses of all kinds, acne, sores, damage to the entire body, and of course social ridicule and self-esteem issues. 

Consider this, and this is eye-opening. If this was physical harm being done to the kids, kids would be taken out of the household and placed elsewhere. Health professionals are saying this could be considered a form of neglect. 

If we don’t make some serious changes soon, our nation’s health and well-being will continue to worsen.