With all the important issues facing our teens, is it worth fighting the battle over junk food? I think it is one of the most important battles we can engage our youth in; but it must be framed correctly. The next generation is smart, technically savvy and craves to be treated like adults. If we as parents just tell them not to do something with little or no explanation, it tends to fall on deaf ears. If we simply “ban” junk food, then in many cases they want the “forbidden fruit” even more—unfortunately though it’s not fruit. We have to teach them about the health consequences of eating poorly and we must lead by example.
Here are several examples that I believe our children will understand. About 11 million children in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. Of this amount, over half are medicated. Your child will know someone from grade school, if not now who had or has this. The medicine is designed to calm them, but in many cases makes them lethargic. Many become overweight or obese as teenagers. Except in a small percentage of the extreme cases (less than 10%), ADHD can be cured or mitigated with proper nutrition. Simply stop the sugary foods, eat an all natural diet that does not have additives, preservatives and dyes in it and exercise on a regular basis. The sugars cause the hyperactivity and the chemicals interfere with our bodies (brains) normal functions causing the Attention Deficit in many cases.
The other example is diabetes. There are two types of diabetes. Diabetes type I is mostly hereditary and must be treated with insulin under a doctor’s care. This makes up 10% of all diabetes. The other diabetes, type II, is known as voluntary diabetes and makes up 90%. Type II diabetes can be totally controlled (cured) with proper nutrition. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says 40% of Americans will have diabetes or be pre-diabetic by 2020. Those who have diabetes are often obese and have an increased risk of many other diseases (heart disease, cancer, etc.) The cause of diabetes type II is the intake of too much sugar and simple carbohydrates and the body’s inability to properly utilize our natural insulin which is needed to use or eliminate the excess sugar. Consuming less sugar and simple carbohydrates, eating all-natural foods and regular exercise will virtually eliminate this risk.
Now earlier in the article I said parents have to lead by example. I realize parents are extremely busy but the average family eats less than four freshly prepared dinner meals at home weekly. Parents must make a concerted effort to cook healthy meals at home versus take-out foods. When shopping, buy all natural foods whenever possible. If our children are not active, we have to get them active. Join intramural teams, church teams, recreation center teams, etc. We have to keep them active and away from video games and television. This will greatly reduce the risk of major diseases. Lastly, you have to learn the health information so you can have a detailed discussion with your children. For that, you can use one of our websites, servicefoods.com. In the lower right hand corner you will see health information. Click on that and you will see 21 reports that cover just about every major disease and how it relates to proper nutrition. When they hear the information and understand the consequences, most will listen and understand you are doing it for their health and because you love them.
This is a preview of an article soon to be featured in Teen Magazine.
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