Who is responsible for raising a healthy child? It’s obvious that humanity is facing a huge problem these days: kids are much heavier than they should be. The statistics are appalling and slightly embarrassing. One would think that with all the advancements in technology, we would have figured out a way to live healthier by now.
Parents seem to have lost sight of how important it is to teach children healthy eating habits. They also seem to have misunderstood parenting for friendship. An obese four-year-old that throws a tantrum because he wants potato chips, and tells his mother that he no longer likes her, doesn’t need to be handed a bag of chips in order to get him to calm down.
Yet every day parents make irresponsible decisions regarding their children’s future. It seems like adults are determined to shorten the life span of the upcoming generations.
About 24% of children in the US are overweight and obese. This epidemic is not limited to the United States, though. Other industrialized nations and many third-world countries are witnessing very similar or even worse statistics. In Brazil, about 33% of children are overweight or obese.
One medical professional declares that this century’s greatest diseases have obesity as the foundation: depression, stress, diabetes, and heart disease.
Small children are suffering from diseases and conditions that used to be only possible for people in their late sixties and seventies. It’s not uncommon to meet children under the age of ten that already have cholesterol problems, high uric acid, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, shortness of breath, and such.
What makes it even worse is that very few children these days play outside. Most are indoors on their computers, tablets, or phones being completely sedentary. Some communities do not even have safe playgrounds or courts where they can play, anyway. In some schools, physical education classes are either only theoretical or are too infrequent to make a difference in the children’s health.
When it comes to sugar, sodas and soft drinks are the culprits. Many people drink at least one can per day and there are statistics that show that a majority of babies under the age of one are given sodas in their bottles. Excessive sugar intake causes about 35 million deaths per year.
In fact, the number one cause of death in the United States is not homicide, but heart disease. Cancers are firmly in second place, and strokes are third. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the individuals had had better eating and exercise habits.
The real problem lies in the fact that healthy foods are more expensive and thus out of reach for many people, whereas armful foods have accessible and attractive prices. A good amount of adults would rather skimp on their food budget to have money left over for other things.
Who is to blame? What needs to happen for this to be fixed?