I wanted to point out some important information I read regarding children’s health and nutrition that parents may find useful. There was a study done called “Feeding infants and Toddlers Study” done by Gerber Products that shows that childrens bad habits start very early. They examined over 3000 childrens habits by asking their parents and caregivers what their children ate on a particular day. These children were between the ages of 4 months and 2 years of age.
* The average caloric intake of children was 1220 calories per day which is 30% more then it should be (950 calories per day) and for children 7-11 months of age the excess was 20% more.
* On the day of the survey 1/3 of the children had no fruit or vegetables that day
* On that day the ones who had consumed a vegetable, french fries was the most common vegetable for children 15 months or older.
* 9% of children 9-11 months old ate french fries at least once per day and 20% had fries daily for 19 months to 2 years old.
* 7% of children 9-11 months old ate hot dogs, sausage and bacon daily and 25% of older children ate these daily
* Over 60% of 1 year old children consumed a dessert or candy at least once a day. 16% had a salty snack
* 19 month old children 70% had a dessert daily and 27% had a salty snack daily
*20-40% had a sugary fruit drink 15 months old a older daily and 10% of them were consuming soft drinks daily
* 29% were eating solids before 4 months of age
* 17% drank juice before the age of 6 months
* 20% were drinking cows milk before the age of 12 months
If this is similar to what your child’s diet consists of…I would highly consider making some changes. Your children will more then likely continue these types of bad habits. One soft drink will suppress your immune system for up to 6 hours because of all the sugar in it. Sugar suppresses the immune system so remember that every time you reach for the sugary juices and soft drinks, not to mention all the added calories.
Another study done by Kaiser Permanente in 2003 shows that children have also become very sedentary at earlier age then originally thought.
* More then 1/4 of children have a television in their bedrooms.
* 59% of children 6 months to 2 years watch televison daily
* 42% watch a videotape or DVD daily
* On average children who do watch TV daily are watching a little over 2 hours worth and those who had televisions in their bedrooms watched more TV then the those who didn’t.
Bottom line is kids are not engaging in enough physical activity and many parents are teaching them at a young age to also be sedentary. Many states have eliminated physical education which is absolutely absurd and if there is no physical education at your child’s school…the pressure is on the parent even more to provide the physical activity our bodies need.
On top of the malnourished and physically deprived children, many of them are also sleep deprived. If your child is cranky and is having behavioral issues this may be a sign of sleep deprivation. Judith Owens a Pediatrician at Brown University published a study that showed that 37% of children in middle class families were showing at least one sign of sleep deprivation.
It really is no wonder why children are developing health issues at such a young age. One statistic that is mind boggling is that by the age of 12, 70% of children are showing beginning stages of hardening of the arteries. Hardening of the arteries is usually seen in the elderly and now we are seeing beginning stages at the age of 12…come on now peeps…this is ridiculous.
Well there ya have it folks, with these types of habits, the future isn’t very bright for American children. We all know that obesity rate is growing in children and if you are a parent out there whom has a child who has an unhealthy weight problem or bad eating habits that will later on turn in to a weight problem and God forbid other serious health issues then I highly suggest getting that under control now. Its much harder to kick habits at an older age.
Here are a few things you should definitely get rid of in your cabinets:
Trans Fats – even if the box says “no trans fat” if it says “hydrogenated” or ” partially hydrogenated” oils in the ingredients list then it has trans fat and food companies get away with this because guidelines say that if its less then .5% of trans fat per serving then they can report it as 0% trans fat.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – This is not natural folks, don’t believe the BS commercials. Its highly processed and bypasses signals that tell you your feeling full. There are tons of products that have HFCS and I am pretty sure 90% of your packaged processed foods have it.
Soft Drinks – this is the liquid version of the devil and its even worse when its Diet because its sweetened with aspartame
Aspartame – this is the powdered version of the devil. LOL if you have any processed sugars then you have aspartame…I would prefer to eat straight white sugar then to use this poison crap. I suggest using stevia if you are trying to avoid calories as this is from a plant but be careful when buying all the stevia knock offs that have come out because many of those have processed it making it no longer natural. Other healthier alternatives to sugar is Turbinado sugar or agave nectar or sucanat.
Switch your bad carbs to good carbs – Throw out the whites and in with the browns….this means replace your white bread with whole grain, replace your white sugar with a healthier sugar, replace your white rice with brown rice etc.
Get rid of unnatural preservatives/additives/colors – there is nothing appetizing about food that can be passed down to your great grand children. Gross.
Remember if you don’t have it in your home, you nor your children will be tempted to eat it. If they ask for it, simply tell them you don’t have any more or you ran out, end of story. Your kid will not starve themselves so don’t give in if they refuse to try something different. If usually takes 11 tries for a child to like something so keep trying, just because they didn’t like it the first time around, they may change their mind about it later. Also, if you are changing their eating habits, change yours too…kids want nothing more then to be like their mom or dad so be a positive influence on them. Encourage them by telling them that they will grow up to be big and strong if they eat well (this works like a charm on my nephew). Its not such a wise idea to encourage them to eat everything off their plate, you don’t want to teach them to stuff themselves if they are already satisfied. Children usually eat small portions more often and like to graze so setting out some healthy snacks like carrots or apples in a tray that they can snack on is a great idea. Lastly, you may also want to shy away from encouraging your child to eat their food in order to get a dessert at the end…this may lead to a bad habit of having a something sweet after their meal which is added calories and sugar they don’t need.