The state of Georgia has the 2nd highest obesity rates in the nation! More than 20% of our children are obese. As a physician in Georgia, this worries me. Experts fear that this generation of kids may be the first to live shorter life expectancies than their parents – due to the obesity epidemic.
As parents we need to take responsibility for this. We all live very hectic and rapid paced lives. For our children a quick trip by the fast food window may not be in their best interests. Having high fructose sweetened drinks available may be a poor choice if we consider the long term effect on their health. Even if they aren’t overweight, we could be setting them up for health issues later in life.
THOSE AFFECTED with childhood obesity are at serious risk for developing health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer which happen to be the top killers in our nation. Each year, childhood obesity costs $14 billion in direct health costs!
The worst part – it’s preventable. None of us would purposely put our children in danger, but sadly that’s what we do when we neglect their nutritional needs and side with convenience.
What can you do?
Start small. Many people who try to starve themselves or their kids don’t make a lasting impact. Instead take small steps towards healthier eating. Small steps that last.
Instead of buying soft drinks loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup, try some of the sparkling water with natural added flavor and NO ADDED SUGAR/SWEETENER.
Read the ingredients. “Natural” isn’t necessarily healthy.
Plan ahead. Instead of being desperate for fast food, have healthy snacks available. You’ll save money and your child’s health.
If you’re not the pack-your-lunch type, at least find healthier options in your area. You’d be surprised what you can find if you look for it. I work in Newnan, Ga – not exactly the health food capital of the world (although it is getting better). I’ve found several healthy places within a couple miles of my clinic.
If fast food is all you have at least opt for the healthy food choices. Choose the vinaigrette instead of the creamy, hi-fat dressings. Check the sugar content and make sure there is no MSG (monosodiumglutamate). Choose wraps over burgers.
I could go on for hours on this subject. The point is, we need to start making these changes. We can’t let things go on the same way they have. Let’s be advocates for health, our children’s health.