Our kids today are attacked by TV commercials, enticed by fast food, betrayed by the school cafeteria and victimized by the stressful lifestyle of the ’90s. The consequence, too much fat, cholesterol, sugar and salt; and not much real nutrition in their daily diets. The unfortunate result? Sickness, disease, obesity, and a poor foundation for optimum health tips! As a nation, we have come to accept constant colds, fevers, diarrhea, ear infections, allergies, behavioral problems and learning disorders as “normal.” In fact, it is a common sight to drive past a playground where 25% or more of the kids have runny or stuffy noses, are sneezing or coughing, are hyperactive or lethargic, overweight and the list goes on! It is a real tragedy to watch the steady decline of the health of our children. The problem could be significantly helped through proper nutrition! But rather than recognize this, we have succumbed to giving our children medicines that only suppress symptoms, thus perpetuating an ongoing cycle of declining health. For example, one-third of our nation’s children use some form of antibiotics and other prescription medicines on a regular basis, which further increases the need for more nutrients, worsening an already poor nutritional status.
As of 1992, children ages 4-12 influence more than $128 billion in family spending each year – on snacks and junk food. The American family spends 40 cents of every food dollar on snacks and meals eaten away from home. What this adds up to according to the Children’s Nutrition Research Center, is the average child’s diet no longer provides the nutrition needed for a foundation of good health!
Poor Eating Habits Affect our Children!
- According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, published in 1988: diseases linked to eating too much of the wrong foods “now ranks among the leading causes and death in the United States.”
- Twice as many children today are limited in their activities by chronic illness than they were twenty-five years ago!
- Ninety-eight percent of youngsters have at least one factor that predisposes them to heart disease.
- Seventy-five percent of children are overweight. Child obesity has doubled since 1980.
- According to the National Academy of Sciences, the average child will have ingested an “acceptable” lifetime dosage of eight pesticides from 20 commonly eaten foods, by age one!
- Millions of children in the U.S. alone receive up to thirty-five percent of their entire lifetime dosage of some carcinogenic pesticides by age five!
- Forty percent of middle-class American children are considered severely malnourished.
- According to the Department of Clinical and Preventative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, the average U.S. child’s diet is relatively high in total and saturated fat and deviating considerably from the RDA dietary guidelines for fat and cholesterol intakes.
- Thirty percent or more children fall below 77% of the recommended daily allowance of zinc, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and iron.
The National Cancer Institute reports that nearly one quarter of all vegetables consumed by children and adolescents are french fries! When our children eat tomatoes, it is usually in the form of salsa and chips and only one in ten consume five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day!These shocking statistics document the fact that most of our children are not receiving the nutrients they need to ensure their health and vitality. Encouraging proper nutrition during the formative, growing years of a child helps to build a strong nutritional foundation necessary for smart eating habits, longevity and the healthy development of our children.