Posted on Jun 17, 2020, 6 p.m.
Article courtesy of : Nicholas DiNubile MD, who is devoted to keeping you healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
“Our children are currently on a fast-track to becoming unhealthy adults” ~ Kenneth Cooper MD
So much of our health is determined by our daily habits, both good and bad, and those routines begin when we are very very young. “Comb your hair, brush your teeth, be polite” – you remember. It’s one thing not to take great care of yourself, but most of us would never want anything less than the best for our children. Yet we see more and more of our young people heading rapidly down the wrong path, with danger signs everywhere.
Every recent study and survey documents that our children are slower, fatter, and weaker than prior generations. If you consider risk factors for certain diseases, you can even say that they are ‘sicker’. 15 to 25% are overweight and the number of kids considered morbidly obese has risen dramatically. Those early excess pounds usually become a lifetime challenge. Three out of four overweight teenagers will become overweight adults. “Generation XL”, here they come. There are also more and more children with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other coronary heart disease risk factors. They are much less active, more sedentary, spending much more time in front of the TV, video games and the computer than at the playground or on the ball field. Daily physical education is no longer mandated in most schools. A recent study in California showed that nearly 1 million children (75% of students in grades 5, 7, and 9) failed to meet 6 basic fitness standards and over 30% of children in each grade had an unhealthy amount of body fat.
Fast food is now the norm. A recent study sponsored by Gerber showed that up to 1/3 of children under age two eat no fruit or vegetables and over 60% of one year olds eat dessert or candy daily. They are taking in far too many “naked” calories, which are ones with essentially no nutritional value. Soft drink and soda consumption is at an all time high and milk intake, despite the “got milk” push, is at an all time low. All of this sets the stage for major health problems for generations to come-most of which is preventable!
Also, with curriculum budget crunches around the nation, the first thing to go is Phys Ed. That may be very short sighted since children who are more fit or who are involved in organized sports do better academically and are more focused when they are in the classroom. Closing the gymnasiums in an effort to focus on academics is a strategy sure to backfire.
So who is to blame? The answer is complex but remember “apples don’t fall far from the trees” and good habits must start at home. It’s no wonder that the children’s alarming statistics are beginning to mirror that of our adults. Get them active, give them healthy food choices, get involved with their school and find out if they are getting daily quality physical education as well as healthy meals. Even the best of schools often have lousy nutritional choices.
The Surgeon General has launched a national initiative, “Shaping America’s Youth” to help deal with this mounting problem, and the CDC promotes “Creating An Active America Together". Also check out the President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN) Presidential Youth Fitness Program. Herbert Hoover once said “our children are our most valuable natural resource”. His point has never been more important and nationally our programs and priorities should reflect this.
Take time to teach your children, grandchildren or other young people around you about proper diet and exercise. Better yet, set an example and watch where the apple falls.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, is Vice President of the A4M, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, best selling author, keynote speaker, and one of our esteemed medical editors who is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind and spirit. Dr. DiNubile was appointed Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1st Bush Administration with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chairman). He has advised two United States Presidents on matters of health and health policy, and has cared for numerous celebrities and high level athletes.
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