Help for Obese Children – because your not helping them!!!

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The rise of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk.

Ok, I know this is not strictly what my site is about but I can’t hold my frustration in any longer, and this does involve nutrition and activity.

I am doing this post on Help for Obese Children for many reasons but tonight was the final straw. I had finished work, I was knackered, but I decided I would still go and do my training run because I knew I would feel that much better after doing it.

What has made me so Angry?????

Whilst on the first part of my run I noticed in the distance that a car had pulled into it’s drive, well almost, half of it was still on the pavement. The back door of the car was open and I was thinking to myself, I hope you hurry up and get out so you can move your car out of my way (a bit rude I know). As I got closer, and I swear on the life of everyone I know, there was this kid, must have been 12 or 13 years old, couldn’t get out the back of the car – he was enormous, there was also his obese Dad and what was probably his obese Sister (late teens). I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

 

Now it’s not unusual to see a lot of unhealthy people when you are out running or whatever you do, I see it all the time, but this really touched a nerve with me. I like to think a lot when I’m running, particularly what I’m going to write about. I just couldn’t get this kid out of my head – why was he like he was?

  • Was it Genetics (doubtful ) – Science shows that genetics can play a role in obesity. Genes can directly cause obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. However genes do not always predict future health. Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight. Chances of this for every obese kid – not likely.
  • Was he just big boned – This could be partly true. Some people have bigger skeletal frames than others. It’s better to say that someone has a small, medium or large frame rather than being big boned. However having a large frame in the terms of weight management will not have a huge impact. An adult skeleton only weighs between 2 and 4 kilograms (4-8 lbs), whereas an adult male in the healthy weight range has a total weight of around 70 kilograms (10½ stone).Again this is pretty much just a myth.
  • Or was it his diet – Probably. The key thing to remember here is that it shouldn’t be a blame game. It might be that the parents are obese as well, or even if they are not, the family unit should work together to help the child with weight management.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the kid in any way whatsoever, he was so young.

I also don’t fall for the other arguments I hear:

  • A healthy diet is more expensive (but your iPhone 7 contract is cheap???) – I don’t agree with this. See some healthy plant based food costs below:

Salaam Basmati Rice Rollback5kg Basmati Rice £5 ASDA Grower's Selection Red Potatoes 2.5kg Red Potatoes £1.79

Biona Organic Italian Wheat Pasta Wholegrain - Macaroni 500g 500g Wholewheat Pasta £1.64 ASDA Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice £1.30 4 tins

ASDA Chickpeas in Water Chickpeas 35p                             ASDA Grower's Selection Unwashed Sliced Curly Kale  Kale 75p

ASDA Frozen for Freshness Berry Medley Rollback1kg frozen Berries £2.75 Alpro Almond Unsweetened Milk Alternative Almond Milk £1.59

I hope you get the picture here. The first 4 items – rice, potato, pasta, tomato are all the base foods for a lot of great meals and they are healthy too.

If you bought in replacement a bag of frozen chips, ice cream, pasta sauce, cheese, burgers, sausages, would they be any cheaper? If you went to McDonald’s or Domino’s etc. would it be any cheaper?

I don’t think so and a lot more unhealthy too.

  • They are not educated – I really don’t buy into this nowadays. With the amount of Social Media and Information available to people there can be no excuse for not understanding what is healthy and what isn’t – I just don’t believe people don’t understand healthy and unhealthy this day and age.

I’m starting to think this post might cause a bit of controversy – well lets discuss, because we all have an opinion.

So what shouldn’t we eat?

Well, I’m not going to preach about a Plant Based Diet, it’s a big change for people to make in one go. However, I would start by saying, and this is Adults and kids, try to cut out most of the following:

  1. Cheese – Cheese has become Americans’ largest source of saturated fat, Many cheeses are made using an animal stomach enzyme, Cheese can contain pus from cows’ bladder infections,Cheese can cause diabetes and heart disease. Cheese is generally just not good for you on so many levels.
  2. Milk – It Actually Makes You More Likely To Have Osteoporosis & Break Bones, There Are Lots Of Hormones In Milk, It Increases Your Risk Of Cancer, There Are Lots Of Contaminants In Milk, It Makes Your Skin Break Out.
  3. Processed Meat (sorry) – The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. And it has classified red meat as a probable carcinogen, something that probably causes cancer. IARC is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization.Processed meat includes hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and some deli meats. It refers to meat that has been treated in some way to preserve or flavor it. Processes include salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking. Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, and goat.
  4. Sugary Drinks – coke etc.
  5. Most Fruit Juices
  6. Industrial Vegetable Oils
  7. Margerine
  8. Most processed foods – especially fast foods.

You get the picture – it’s not rocket science.

So what should we feed the kids?

A few thoughts here and very basic, but lets try and go through a typical day’s eating:

Breakfast

  • Smoothies – Kids love smoothies. Why not make one from Almond Milk, Frozen Berries, Banana, throw in some Kale or Spinach (they won’t taste it). It’s a great way of getting some greens in without them really knowing it’s in there. There are so many variables to making Smoothies you can really start to get some great nutrition into the kids with these.

 

  • Oats – Again do these with some fruit. My favourite is Oats with Banana, Chia seeds, Maple Syrup and seeds.

Lunch

  • Salad Wraps – wholewheat wraps with a healthy filling including tomato, pepper, lettuce and if not plant based maybe Tuna etc. try to avoid the Mayo
  • Leftover pasta from the night before
  • Rice Bowl – rice with lots of veg and a sweet chilli sauce etc.
  • Baked Potato with beans or any other healthy filling.

Dinner

  • Stir Fry – another great and tasty way to incorporate vegetables into the kids diet. Just watch the oil you are cooking with (I prefer Coconut).
  • Pasta Meal
  • Rice Meal – curry, chilli con Carne

Snacks

Try to base the snacks around fruit or maybe Hummus with carrot sticks etc.

Now, I’m clearly not saying you should stop your kids having any sort of a life when it comes to food. But try to make the everyday bad foods more of a treat and a well done – limit them rather than them being the norm.

Exercise

No biggy here – if the kids are at the point of obesity there no point trying to take them on a 10k run or expect them to just get on a Football (soccer) pitch and run around.

Try to make exercise part of the family routine and make it FUN – not only will everyone see the benefits, but it will also have the family outside in the sun and the lovely fresh air doing something TOGETHER!!

Just go for a walk, a bike ride, Swimming, just be active and enjoy it.


Conclusion

I know this has been a bit of a rant and I know I haven’t thrown any science at the foods etc. I could do that, but the whole point really is that there is a healthier choice that can be made here. There is no excuse for slowly KILLING our kids.

The phrase at the top just about says it all for me – We really are putting a future generation at risk if we keep going the way we are.

Please, Please, Please just think about the KIDS.

I would love to hear your comments or feedback on this post. I’m sure people will feel quite passionate about the subject and that was the whole point of writing it – what is going wrong with the current generation???

 

14 comments

  1. I am right there with you, I find it scary how overweight the world in general has become. It is scary to walk around in a city, where people get more exercise in general, and still see just person after person that is overweight. I’ve seen kids that look 10 years old in strollers because they are so overweight they can’t or just won’t walk! Cheers to your post and I hope it sees some traction and convinces people to feed their kids healthier meals!

  2. I am obese, but I know the cause. I should change my diet to veggies, fruits, and nuts, and water. I have a vegan (and no added oil) brother who weighs 150 pounds less than me and has for 15 years.

    Your article was excellent, but the problem with a good diet is that it does not fit in with todays society. Go to taco bell and try to get something vegan. Burger King has a veggie burger, but the bun is not vegan and the burger is covered with mayo. Wendys does have some baked potatoes, which are good so long as you skip the toppings. Try going to a church fuction without being faced with fried chicken and potatoe salad.

    Your article is correct, but the habits of modern society isn’t. By the way MacDonalds is actually McDonalds.

    I will try harder.

    1. Hi Chris, thank you very much for your comments. I agree with what you say about society and I agree that places like Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendys etc. may struggle to have Vegan options – however, personally these aren’t the places I would go anyway. My guess is that if they did sell Vegan it would be processed rubbish anyway.
      I guess the point is that we cannot be 100% all the time with the correct foods, no matter what eating lifestyle we follow, but if we choose to eat healthily 80 – 90% of the time surely we are on the right track?
      Thanks for the McDonalds correction – just shows how much attention I pay to that place.

  3. Hi Mark
    It does anger you to see so many obese, unhealthy children. Yes some of it may be genetics but I think a lot of it is learned behavior. And they do need to exercise more, there’s nothing I hate more than to see a young child playing on a cell phone instead of playing tag with playmates. You have made a lot of good healthy suggestions here for people.
    Great article Mark!

    1. Thanks Angie, you are right, the thing that frustrates is seeing kids on the phones etc. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but when it takes control of your life and you are no longer active then that is an issue. There are a lot of kids out there that do sports and use their phones, XBox etc. and that is fine my kids did the same. It just saddens me to see the ones that don’t, and I can see right now how their life will unfold with the illnesses that will follow – it’s upsetting to see a life wasted.

  4. Hi Mark, I’m totally with you. However, how do you turn a teenager like mine, who hates every fruit and vegetable known to man except spinach (in pasta) and sweet potatoes? I do the smoothies, but she only eats pizza, pasta and chicken nuggets. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not even overweight, she’s outside and exercises a lot. I’ve tried everything and don’t tell me the old “she only gets what’s on the table” story, it doesn’t work. We’ve had that and she didn’t eat for a month. I’m at a loss. You got any input? I’d be grateful.

    1. Hi Michaela, thanks for your great comments. Believe me, one thing I would never say is “she only gets whats on the table”. I have 3 kids that have all pretty much gone past the teenage years and I know exactly where you are coming from. They ate healthy when they were young because they would eat what we cooked, then they become the dreaded teenager and make up their own minds.
      An example of what we went through was with my 17 year old son. He started doing the pizza, the burgers and the processed junk because that is what they do – I was actually doing the same thing. When I changed my eating habits to a Plant Based lifestyle I still continued to cook the food he wanted. However, as time went by we started asking him if he wanted to try a bit of what we were having on a particular evening – not forcing anything, just asking now and again. As time went by he started saying more and more when asked what he wanted for dinner “I’ll just have what your having”. Bingo!! He still eats rubbish now and again but he mainly eats what we eat now with no pressure from us at all.
      Also when he started breaking out in the teenage acne he was asking why he was getting it – I would explain that Dairy has a big impact on skin health and showed him some proof – bang!!! Not eating as much dairy any more.
      I guess what I am say is that you are right, you can’t force anyone to eat what they don’t want. But when the opportunity arises to perhaps introduce something then jump on it. When they are not feeling great and it might be food related just drop the seed that the diet might be the issue. It’s a slow process and I really don’t believe there is any miracle 1 week change out there, but little by little they do start to listen and they do change.
      Just be patient and you will get there.

  5. This post speaks my language and my frustrations with society.
    Only if more families would learn and help their children’s health so they can give kids the best opportunity at life.

    I love it when my kids eat and we get (sneak) veggies into them every day and they are better for it.

    Love the rant and look forward to many more.

    1. Vince, thank you so much. I was frustrated and I still am but how can we help some of these people. Every day it’s an advertising nightmare on all the food that will eventually lead to ill health. It saddens me so much that really poor food is seen as something that is trendy and should be eaten – the standards need to be changed but they won’t because everyone is lining everyone’s pockets. I guess they are right that money makes the world go round.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly, I have been trying to get my kids to realize this but they just don’t want to listen (young adults) My Husband is vegan and I try to be vegan but I do give in and eat meat maybe 2 times a month, I do stay away from dairy though and pop, I have not had pop in 11 years now, and I have lost 90lbs.
    Great article, Thanks for sharing
    Pam
    naturalpetfoodnow.com

    1. Hi Pam, wow! 90lbs is amazing, really. You should be very proud of yourself. I certainly wouldn’t get hung up on the Vegan thing – I do it but it’s just my preference. A lot of Vegans still eat really poor diets.
      I think the key thing here is to make the right food choices – stay away from the pop (90lbs), get rid of the Dairy and don’t eat processed food – you just stick to more wholefoods with a bit of exercise like walking and the weight just drops off.
      I did the Paleo diet for 5 months before I went Plant Based and I have to admit it was the biggest weight loss I have had over a short period of time – I put a lot of that down to not eating dairy. In that 5 months I lost 40lbs and I was only walking mainly for exercise. The Plant Based diet has just made me feel a whole lot better in myself but my weight has basically stabilized at where I want to be (170lbs) – I was 212 last year.
      I think with the kids, if you make the change and they see the difference it makes they start to want the same eventually – it takes time but so worth it in the end.
      The very best of luck to you.

  7. Well said Mark, although I don’t think just plant based foods are the way forward you are 100% correct with how the world is going. These days everywhere you go there are more and more larger people and especially children. I know this might cause controversy but the recent announcement on stopping treatments for obese people is correct. It’s time people stopped blaming society for being fat and ate less and moved more.

    1. Hey Neil, you are right, it’s not just Plant Based foods that are necessarily the way forward. It’s just a personal preference that has worked for me. I know there are a lot of eating lifestyles out there that work wonders for different individuals.
      I watched a great documentary about a month ago called ‘What the Health’. Although primarily based around Veganism it portrayed a very real world that we live in when it comes to food. It outlines (and I’m saying this in a very diluted basic way) that the Governments are given a lot of money by the meat and dairy industry. The Government promotes these and then the health agency tells us what the good foods for us are.
      Then you have the societies for Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity etc. that have diet plans on their websites – some of the food is horrendous!! There are processed foods on there that are classed as Carcinogens and are in the same risk group as cigarettes. These societies it turns out are sponsored by a lot of the major food companies (surprise surprise). And all of them are sponsored by – wait for it – The Pharmaceutical Companies. Light bulb moment!!! We make people ill so we can charge a fortune to give them the drugs that don’t actually work.
      So I guess the point is what chance do these people have? I think you have to be very strong willed and focused to take the direction in your life where you want to be healthy.
      That being said, you are definitely right, people do need to stop blaming society to a degree and I’m totally in agreement with you about stopping the treatments – certainly in the UK, things like this are bringing the NHS to it’s knees (among other things) and costing the tax payers a fortune.

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