by Julie Wilson, Natural News:
All it takes is one trip to the local mall to learn why nearly 20 percent of American children between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese. While the healthy food movement has sparked a revolution, encouraging food makers to churn out healthier products, junk food and its aggressive marketing remains largely influential on our youth, directly contributing to the rise in chronic health problems.
Take for example Burger King’s Mac n Cheetos, a deep-fried “snack” that one could comfortably assume is made entirely of cheap, synthetic ingredients that offer zero nutritional benefit. So, while healthy, organic foods are becoming increasingly popular, harmful junk food continues to lurk around every corner, waiting to take advantage of the weak.
Over the last three decades, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the most recent available data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, 33 percent of children and adolescents were reported to be overweight or obese in 2012.
Childhood obesity causes not only health problems, but also emotional trauma and insecurity
What that means is that roughly one-third of the young people in the U.S. are destined to have lifelong health problems, i.e. heart disease, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and diabetes, sleep apnea, various types of cancer, osteoarthritis and many other conditions.
Overweight children also suffer emotionally and psychologically, experiencing low self-esteem due to harassment and bullying from their peers. Difficulty fitting into clothing, as well as the inability to participate in physical activities like other students, can lead to depression and social anxiety.
Clearly, there is cause for concern when discussing obesity in children. But there is good news: It can all be turned around (mostly) with just a little bit of education, discipline and commitment.
According to a recent study, removing sugar from an obese child’s diet for just nine days significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. Cutting fructose from the diet for that short amount of time actually dissolves a dangerous cholesterol marker, according to Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist and author of Fat Chance and The Fat Chance Cookbook.
Obese children who quit sugar for 9 days experienced sharp decline in heart disease risk factors
Study participants age 9 to 18 illustrated sharp drops in triglycerides (-33 percent) and apoC-III proteins (-49 percent), both of which are associated with heart disease, reports show. Additionally, the markers for “bad” cholesterol dropped while the good ones increased.
As reported by I Quit Sugar: “Just like Lustig’s previous research on fructose and metabolic syndrome in obese children, the conditions were tightly controlled so that only fructose consumption was affected. The children were given the same amounts of calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates as their typical diets.
“While the study isn’t exactly gold science (it only ran for nine days and involved a diet of pizza and bagels) it is the first to so clearly isolate fructose as a cardiovascular risk. It also reinforces previous, bigger studies that link sugar consumption to heart disease.”
Ditch the fruit roll-ups and get outside!
Ultimately, parents are responsible for the rise in childhood obesity.
A British dietary group recently surveyed 1,000 parents about the serving sizes of the foods they give their children. It found that about 80 percent of parents over-serve their kids, meaning children are often given oversized food portions, contributing to weight gain.
Though food portions are certainly important, what exists within that portion is as well. “Foods” such as fruit roll-ups, Lucky Charms and potato chips offer little to no nutrition, while exposing children to harmful toxins proven to help keep weight on.
Studies show that ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in many sugary foods marketed to children, is proven to promote weight gain.
“Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same,” according to a 2010 study.
The bottom line for parents is that they need to cut junk food out of their children’s diets, put more whole foods on their plates and encourage physical activity such as a simple game of hide and seek.
Now, that’s the recipe for good health and a happy life.
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