American kids are now more overweight and obese than at any other time in our country’s history. According to the American Heart Association, since 1963 the obesity rate has tripled among children in America. Obesity brings with it the potential for serious health risks such as gallstones, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD), a stroke and sleep apnea, among other conditions. Parents are now more concerned about their children’s weight than they are about drug abuse and smoking.
How did we get here? The reasons are clear:
- More processed foods are consumed due to working parents, convenience and schedules. This would include processed meats, packaged fruits and vegetables, frozen dinners and overuse of salts, sugars and preservatives to keep packaged foods “fresh”.
- The fast food habit. It’s woven into the fabric of the American culture to dine on fast food. It’s convenient, tasty and cheap. Unfortunately, most of this fast food is terrible for our kids, and provides little to no nutrition.
- Video gaming became popular as the hardware improved and became more accessible. Today, our kids can take their gaming with them but still be connected to their online friends. More so for boys than for girls, but excessive gaming has significantly reduced the number of hours per week that kids spend outside, doing activities that build strength, stamina and the heart muscle.
The results are devastating to our children and could potentially bankrupt our healthcare system. Something must be done, and the answer is preventative healthcare.
Preventative healthcare is significantly cheaper than medical care. Preventative healthcare can eliminate up to 87% of healthcare costs over a lifetime. We are not talking about the category of preventative care that requires testing for everything under the sun, being on preventative medication or overuse of doctor’s office visits. We’re simply talking about adjusting our lifestyles and daily practices to avoid such things as heart attacks, strokes and other major life changing or life ending events. Adjusting the family diet, creating a regiment of exercise and doing it together as a family is the key.