***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***
Joseph A. Cannizzaro, MD, has practiced pediatric medicine for thirty years with specialties in developmental pediatrics, nutrition, and preventive medicine. He is the founder and managing pediatrician for the Pediatricians Care Unit in Longwood, Florida.
EATING HABITS OF
THE NEXT GENERATION
Eating Habits and Our Future
How Has an entire generation of hefty eaters changed the face of the world? By starting young. And once again, this unflattering trend originated in America. In the United States, 17.1 percent of our children and adolescents?that’s 2.5 million youth?are now reported to be either overweight or obese.
As a result of childhood obesity, we are seeing a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes throughout the country. And because of the connection obesity has with hypertension, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and heart disease, experts are predicting a dramatic rise in heart disease as our children become adults. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) reports that overweight teens stand a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults, and that is increased to 80 percent
if at least one parent is overweight or obese. Because of that, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are expected to begin at a much earlier age in those who fail to beat the odds.2 Overall, this is the first generation of children that is not expected to live as long as their parents, and they will be more likely to suffer from disease and illness.
If you do not take charge of your food choices for yourself, at least do it for your children. Children follow by example, by mirroring the behavior of their parents. Don’t tell them to make healthy eating choices without doing it yourself. I’m sure most of you love your children and are good parents. But ask yourself: Do you love your children enough to make the necessary lifestyle changes? Do you love them enough to educate them on what foods to eat and what foods to avoid? Do you love them enough to keep junk food out of your house and instead make healthy food more available? Do you love them enough to exercise regularly and lead by example?
If you answered yes to those questions, it is important that you not only take action right now but also that you make changes for them that last a lifetime.
But let me be honest; this is not an easy fight when it involves your children’s lives. As the little boxes of information on this page illustrate, the culture in which your children are growing up is saturated with junk food that is void of nutrition but high in toxic fats, sugars, highly processed carbohydrates, and food additives. Consuming these foods has become part of childhood.
You can do it, but you must be prepared to stand strong! That’s why I am ecstatic that you have picked up this book. I believe you now hold a key to truly changing your life and your children’s lives.
If you’re planning on taking a stand against this garbage-in, garbage-out culture, expect some opposition from every front. During the course of a year, the typical American child will watch more than thirty thousand television commercials, with many of these advertisements pitching fast-food or junk food as delicious must-eats. For years, fast food franchises have enticed children into their restaurants with kids’ meal toys, promotional giveaways, and elaborate playgrounds. It has obviously worked for McDonald’s: about 90 percent of American children between the ages of three and nine set foot in one each month.
It’s All Part of the Plan
Fast-food establishments spend billions of dollars on research and marketing. They know exactly what they are doing and how to push your child’s hot button. They understand the powerful impact certain foods can have. That is why comfort foods often do more than just fill the stomach; they bring about memories of the fair, playgrounds, toys, backyard birthday bashes, Fourth of July When your kids can’t visit the Golden parties, childhood friends . . . the list goes on. Advertisers have keyed into this and products?most of which are brought learned to use the sight of food to stimulate the same fond childhood memories.
School Cafeteria or Fast Food Franchise?
When your kids can’t visit the Golden Arches, it comes to them. Fast-food products?most of which are brought in by franchises?are sold in about 30 percent of public high school cafeterias and many elementary cafeterias.
An Alarming Trend in Children’s Health
By teaching your children healthy eating habits, you can keep them at a healthy weight. Also, the eating habits your children pick up when they are young will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults. The challenges we face are imposing. The state of children’s health today is, according to recent measures, at its most dire. The rise in rates of complex, chronic childhood disorders has been well profiled. Here are some concrete examples of the current state of children’s health:
Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children.5
Obesity is epidemic.
Fifty percent of children are overweight.6
Diabetes now affects 1 in every 500 children. Of those children newly diagnosed with diabetes, the percentage with type 2 (adult-onset) has risen from less than 5 percent to nearly 50 percent in a ten-year period.
Asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease affecting American children, leading to 15 million missed days of school per year. Since 1980, the percentage of children with asthma has almost tripled.
Approximately 1 in 25 American children now suffer from food allergies.
From 1997 to 2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18 percent among children under the age of eighteen years.
One in 6 children is diagnosed with a significant neurodevelopmental disability, including 1 in 12 with ADHD. Autism affects 1 in 150 U.S. children, an extraordinary rise in prevalence.
Babies in one study were noted, at birth, to have an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants present in their umbilical cord blood.
These statistics are sobering indeed, and perhaps the most sobering is the rise in childhood obesity. Why? Obesity plays a part in several other chronic illnesses that are also on the rise among children. And there’s an unwelcome side effect?more kids are being put on prescription medications for obesity-related chronic diseases. Across the board, we are witnessing increases in prescriptions for children with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and asthma. There must be a better way.
Top Three Tips for Parents
1. Lead by example. Your child will have an extremely difficult time making healthy eating choices and exercising
regularly if you don’t consistently show him or her how.
2. Take baby steps that lead to lasting changes. If your child is overweight, avoid diets that promise instant
3. Take your time as you replace your child’s old habits with healthy ones. This goes hand in hand with tip #2.
You’re in this for the long haul. It takes time to adapt to a new lifestyle. Be patient as he or she adjusts to the new eating habits and activities that you will be introducing.
What we need now is an absolute paradigm shift. No longer are the one drug, one disease solutions of the past appropriate. These are times that demand out-of-the-box thinking. That’s where this book can help. If your child is overweight or you want to lower his or her risk of becoming overweight down the road, there are many positive, natural ways you can address the situation. In this book, Dr. Cannizzaro and I provide you with information and ideas to help you help your child.
Understanding Childhood Obesity
Now that we’ve shared the bad news about the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, let’s make sure you really understand the terms overweight and obese. Many people have a general sense as to how these words are different, yet in recent years the delineation has become clearer. Various health organizations, including the CDC and the National Institutes
of Health (NIH), now officially define these terms using the body mass index (BMI), which factors in a person’s weight relative to height. Most of these organizations define an overweight adult (twenty years of age and older) as having a BMI between 25 and 29.9, while an obese adult is anyone who has a BMI of 30 or higher.12 For children and teens, BMI is measured differently, allowing for the normal variations in body composition between boys and girls and at various ages.
For ages two to nineteen, the BMI (or BMI-for-age) is pinpointed on a growth chart to determine the corresponding age- and sex-specific percentile.
· Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and lower than the 95th percentile.
· Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.
BMI is the most widely accepted method used to determine body fat in children and adults because it’s easy to measure a person’s height and weight. However, while BMI is an acceptable screening tool for initial assessment of body composition, please remember that it is not a direct measure of body fatness. There are other factors that can affect body composition, and your child’s doctor can discuss these with you.
If you think your child may be overweight, start by talking to his or her pediatrician. (See the box on the next page for some suggested questions to ask your child’s doctor.) After determining your child’s BMI and targeting a healthy weight range for your child, make a plan together as a family. It’s a good idea to include any regular caregivers in this plan as well. Set a goal for the whole family to get lots of exercise and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Keep reading for more ways to help your
Wondering About Your Child’s Weight?
Five Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician
I understand that you probably don’t want to talk about the possibility that your child may not be at a healthy weight. To help make this as painless as possible, I recommend asking your doctor the following questions to get the conversation started.
1. What is a healthy weight for my child’s height?
Your doctor will use a growth chart to show you how your child is growing and give you a healthy weight range for your child. The doctor may also tell you your child’s body mass index (BMI). The BMI uses a person’s height and weight to determine the amount of body fat.
2. Is my child’s weight putting him or her at risk for any illnesses?
Based on your family history and other factors, your doctor can help you to determine what health risks your child may be facing. Overweight, inactive children with a family history of type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of being diagnosed with the disease. High blood pressure can also occur in overweight children.
3. How much exercise does my child need?
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends at least one hour of exercise a day. Your doctor will be able to suggest specific ways to help your child, such as walking the dog, playing catch instead of video games, and other forms of activity.
4. Does my child need to go on a diet?
Although an overweight child’s eating habits will probably need to change, I don’t advise using the word diet because it focuses on short-term eating habits that are rarely sustainable for long-term health. Children (and adults) who become chronic dieters are setting themselves up for problems with their metabolism later in life. A healthier approach is to put your whole family on the path to a healthy lifestyle with gradual but permanent changes. The recommendations in this book are a great place to start.
5. How do I talk about weight without hurting my child’s feelings?
Your child might be sensitive about his or her weight, especially if he or she is getting teased. Above all, the message must never be, You’re fat, or You need to lose weight. Instead, it should be, Our family needs to make better choices about eating and being more active so that we all can be healthy.
Why Food Choices Matter
All men are created equal, but all foods are not! In fact, some food should not be labeled food but rather consumable product or edible, but void of nourishment. Living foods?fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts?exist in a raw or close-to-raw state and are beautifully packaged in divinely created wrappers called skins and peels. Living foods look robust, healthy, and alive. They have not been bleached, refined or chemically enhanced and preserved. Living foods are plucked, harvested squeezed?not processed, packaged, and put on a shelf.
Dead foods are the opposite. They have been altered in every imaginable way to make them last as long as possible and be as addictive as possible. That usually means the manufacturer adds considerable amounts of sugar and man-made fats that involve taking various oils and heating them to high temperatures so that the nutrients die and become reborn as a deadly, sludgy substance that is toxic to our bodies.
Life breeds life. Death breeds death. When your child eats living foods the enzymes in their pristine state interact with his or her digestive enzymes. The other natural ingredients God put in them?vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and more?flow into your child’s system in their natural state. These living foods were created to cause your child’s digestive system, bloodstream, and organs to function at optimum capacity.
Dead food hit your child’s body like a foreign intruder. Chemicals, including preservatives, food additives, and bleach agents place a strain on the liver. Toxic man-made fats begin to form in your child’s cell-membranes; they become stored as fat in your child’s body and form plaque in his or her arteries. Your child’s body does its best to harvest the tiny traces of good from these deadly foods, but in the end he or she is undernourished and overweight.
If you want your child to be a healthy, energetic person rather than someone bouncing between all-you-can-eat buffets and fast-food restaurants, take his or her eating habits seriously. Now is the time to help your son or daughter make the change to living foods.
Isn’t it Really Just Genetics?
For every obese person, there is a story behind the excessive weight gain. Growing up, I would often hear it said of an obese person that she was just born fat, or he takes after his daddy. There s some truth in both of those. Genetics count when it comes to obesity. In 1988, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Danish study that observed five hundred forty
people who had been adopted during infancy. The research found that adopted individuals had a much greater tendency to end up in the weight class of their biological parents rather than their adopted parents. Separate studies have proven that twins who were raised apart also reveal that genes have a strong influence on gaining weight or becoming overweight. There is a significant genetic predisposition to gaining weight. Still, that does not fully explain the epidemic of obesity seen in the United States over the past thirty years. Although an individual may have a genetic predisposition to become obese, environment plays a major role as well. I like the way author, speaker, and noted women s physician Pamela Peeke said it: Genetics may load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger. Many patients I see come into my office thinking they have inherited their fat genes, and therefore there is nothing they can do about it. After investigating a little, I usually find that they simply inherited their parents propensity for bad choices of foods, large portion sizes, and poor eating habits. If your child is over weight, he or she may have an increased number of fat cells, which means your child will have a tendency to gain weight if you choose to provide the wrong types of foods, large portion sizes, and allow him or her to be inactive. But you should also realize that most people can over ride their genetic makeup for obesity by making the correct dietary and
lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, many parents forget that to make these healthy choices, it helps to surround a child with a
With this colorful book on nutrition and health for children even the youngest of readers will enjoy looking at it. Dr. Colbert along with Dr. Cannizzaro has a lot of information packed into this little book but even so it’s well organized, quick to read and a good reference starting point. With chapters on good nutrition, breastfeeding, eating while pregnant, restaurants, exercise and more this book will provide you a good jumping point for getting informed about you and your child’s health.
The authors do strongly recommend vaccinations, however they also stipulate that they won’t criticize those of us who either selectively or don’t vax at all. They do include a delayed schedule if you want your child vaccinated but doing it at a delayed schedule to prevent some of the side effects that occur when multiple vaccines are given together. I appreciate that they don’t blast parents who have chosen what is in their families best interests as I was expecting to be told how horrible we parents are who don’t or selectively vax. Too bad more doctors aren’t like the authors in respecting that parents make the choices for their children and not the doctors.
I really enjoyed this book as did my 8 1/2 year old and my husband who usually doesn’t get as fascinated by books as I do. If you’re looking for something as a quick reference guide on nutrition, and it’s not all about the children, then this is a good choice. Even if you are more naturally minded there is information regarding good for you spices, detoxing, and special diets like those for inflammatory issues (I had no idea asthma, diabetes, and other chronic conditions are the result of exposure – long or short – to inflammatory foods) are touched on in this book.