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:
5kg Basmati Rice £5 2.5kg Red Potatoes £1.79
500g Wholewheat Pasta £1.64 £1.30 4 tins
Chickpeas 35p Kale 75p
1kg frozen Berries £2.75 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sugary Drinks – coke etc.
- Most Fruit Juices
- Industrial Vegetable Oils
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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???