1 of 3 kids is overweight or obese. Diabetes looms.
MICHELLE OBAMA is using her platform as First Lady to draw attention to childhood obesity. On Tuesday, February 9th, Mrs. Obama, kicked off a sweeping initiative to revamp how American children eat and play.
Part of this includes a task force assembled for a 90 day period to review and recommend programs and policies that will influence children’s physical exercise and diets.
Why is she doing this? Aren’t parents the gatekeepers of their children, not the First Lady?
Call it a consciousness raising exercise backed by some much needed intervention. Consider this: One of every three kids in America is overweight or obese. Although it’s the responsibility of parents to guide their children’s diet and exercise habits, it’s apparent that too many are not stepping up to meet their responsibility.
Perhaps part of the problem are the parents themselves. Perhaps parents need to be pushed a bit, because as it stands over 60% of American adults are overweight or obese, and their habits are being transferred to children, much to their detriment.
The result is that childhood obesity rates in the United States have tripled over the past three decades, and today nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Health experts blame obesity for a variety of medical conditions, among them heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and asthma.
Simple things can make a difference, and part of the plan it to make what works very well known to everyone. Things like replacing juices in lunch boxes with water or skim milk, eliminating dessert during the week, and watching less TV — these had dramatic effects on body mass index of children. (Meaning, they got thinner.)
It’s not the unsightliness of over-fat children that catalyzes Mrs. Obama’s action, but concern for their health and longevity. Because, truth be told, obese children are twice as likely to get diabetes, and a child with diabetes is likely to die young, an average of 18 to 22 years younger.
Kill the Sugar
Americans eat 150 pounds of sugar each year. This simply means that sugar is killing us. Most of this consumption does not come from emptying the sugar jar onto your morning Cherios; instead, it’s hidden in the foods we consume too much of:
-Ranch dressing: 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
-Soda: 10 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
-Ketchup: 2 teaspoon of sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving.
-Glazed donuts: 13 teaspoons of sugar.
Eating sugar spikes your blood glucose level. Excessive amounts wind up turning into belly fat. Look around. How are all the bellies doing? Hanging in there, usually over the belts. Excess belly fat is a potential precursor to diabetes.
Diabetes has become a ticking time bomb:
-80 million Americans have diabetes or are on the verge of it.
-$174 billion per year is spent on diabetes and the various aliments it causes, such as 86,000 amputations per year.
-If left unchecked, it will bankrupt the health care system all by itself.
Type 2 diabetes — the kind you get primarily from behavior, not exclusively due to genetics — is often treatable, preventable and reversible. What’s not reversible is the damage it does before you know you have it.
For instance, diabetics regularly die of heart attacks caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart. What happens is the unprocessed sugar acts like chards of glass that scrap and puncture blood vessels causing scaring. Scaring builds up and fills up the blood vessels, preventing blood flow to the heart and brain, as well as kidneys and eyes.
Diabetes Warning Signs: Constantly thirsty, frequent urination, slow healing, tingling toes, blurred vision.
Diabetes Risk Factors: Belly fat, sedentary lifestyle, family history, smoking. A waist size more than 1/2 of your height.
If you have any of these warning signs and risk factors, go see your doctor.
There’s lots to know about exercise, but for the purposes of reducing the risk of, or helping to reverse diabetes (and obesity), start by walking. Build up to at least 30 minutes a day, and when you can, walk up hills. If you have access to a treadmill, increase the incline. You want a pace where you can talk but not easily.
Exercising 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of getting diabetes by 60%. Exercise is not negotiable. If you can’t will yourself to do it, get a buddy to join you, or encourage you.
√ Know someone who could benefit from this information? Please send it to them.
Published on February 11, 2010