Monday, September 1, 2008

Kids and Heart Disease--Who Knew They Were at Risk???

Oh, yes, you know you've been on pins and needles awaiting my latest nutrition/training wisdom. So, here you go! I apologize in advance if I get a little soapboxy. I AM passionate, people. PASSIONATE.

(From the very beginning I must admit to you all that I used to be totally guilty of this. Totally. But, I'm reformed, now.)

"You make me sick because you're so skinny that you don't need to exercise and you can eat whatever you want." "The kids can eat (insert whichever fast food restaurant/fatty, high-cholesterol food you want here) because they're kids and they run all those fat and calories off with their high levels of activity."

Once again, I readily admit I was guilty of thinking these very same thoughts. And I think this is a good time to tell you that, for those of you who don't know, my dad suffered a (very) near-fatal heart attack in April of 2006. And I was chowing down on a Whataburger as my mom was telling me that he had coded three times and been shocked back. Incidentally, my husband and children were also engulfing fast food burgers and fries.

NOW, ahem...Let me step onto my soapbox.

I actually figured out a couple of years ago that this was not a healthy mentality--Not healthy, particularly, for our children. But, when I attended a class at Cooper Institute and heard Dr. Kenneth Cooper, himself, speak on the subject, it really hit home for me.

Dr. Cooper's newest "project" in this country (yes, this country...The guy is big time.) is battling childhood obesity. His research indicates that children as young five years old already have plaque buildup (read gunk) forming in their little bitty tiny arteries as a result of fast food, junk food, and general inactivity. Yes, friends. Five. Years. Old.

Fat, cholesterol, and the resulting plaque know no age. It begins collecting the minute we begin to eat foods that are high in fat and cholesterol. And I'm not just talking about kids, here. I'm talking about skinny people, too. And here's the thing that's going to make your day if you tend to be a little fluffy:

It's better to be fat and healthy than it is to be skinny and unhealthy.

So, here's the point of all my rambling. We have got to stop feeding our children (or skinny people!) junk and thinking that it's okay because they're kids (or skinny!). The time to start eating right is not when you're 50 and you've already got heart disease. You have to do it for your children NOW. Start them on the path to better eating NOW. And they've got to be encouraged to get regular exercise. Healthy lifestyles now lead to healthy lifestyles later.

As a sidenote, I'd like to add that, during our time in England, I found that the government would not allow fast food places to install playground equipment in their establishments so as not to encourage little ones to eat junk food. At first, I thought it odd and felt it was an example of too much government. But I've since changed my mind. And I'll blog about that another day.
One more thing before I step off my soapbox and feed my children their healthy, low-fat lasagna (yes, it CAN be done!)...Do you know that actuaries are predicting that this generation of parents (that's most of us) will be the first to out-live their children? And the reason for that is our children eat so much junk that they're going to have heart disease at a much earlier age and Type II diabetes is already running rampant as a result of obese children.

Think about that the next time you're tempted to pull through McDonald's.

Off the soapbox...For now.

No comments: