Fitness column: We pay attention to the wrong things with kids
I am seeing more and more kids suffering from 40-year-old problems like obesity, diabetes and major surgery. How can this be with more diverse sports programs, better health education, more extracurricular programs that promote an active lifestyle, better school lunches and more balanced equality in funding for athletics?
There are many hidden, not so warm and fuzzy factoids that are hurting our kids, in my opinion. I’m not saying that “Choose My Plate” is not awesome and the absolute answer that I would expect from the federal government, I’m just asking you to consider this … I think the fact that everyone can get a scholarship for anything is a contributing factor to the dramatic increase in “surgical injuries” in our youth. I think we push kids too hard in athletics, with too little recovery time and with too little nutrition.
Extreme everything sells, so it is flawlessly marketed, especially to kids. Impressionable youth fearlessly “huck” themselves into situations they have no business being in in the first place just to get sponsored. Extreme “living vicariously through our children” is a scholastic sport that nobody mentions, but it adds a lot of pressure and stress to kids’ lives while they are diving to make a play to save a little money on college.
I suspect it could also be the garbage, non-food we allow them to eat. Recent generations eat almost no real food. Everything they get is pre-made, microwaved, GMO, chemical-sugar, irradiated franken-food because we’re too busy checking Facebook. If you can manage to get some healthy food in them, they’re rewarded at school with more garbage-snack-food, and if you complain or mention a plausible solution, you are the wacko-organic-tree-hugger-parent.
And then there are “supplements” and the special type of supplements out there that are called “performance enhancing supplements.” There is enough gray area tainted by the stink of money on this topic to make the FDA step in to create a wealth of wealth-transfer under the false guise of protecting the public, as always. I suspect the FDA will be forced to step in, as any manufacturer can make any claim they want about any supplement, which is one of the reasons I do not promote supplements unless under the guidance of a qualified professional. All the “supplements” in the world will not make up for a bad diet and a lack of talent. They can actually be quite dangerous for kids. Of course kids need supplements to their diet, just not dressed up amphetamines, because that’s actually not what builds champions.
Don’t give up! You can improve your kids’ health by changing a few things. Here are some tips:
Toxins are everywhere, so I recommend you focus on the ones that you can control. Processed junk food and medications are big sources of toxins that you can reduce. Feed kids as well as you can when they are under your jurisdiction. Remember, the innocent junk food that we ate as kids is totally different now due to advances in chemical-science-fiction. Stop being fooled by food manufacturers. The hormones in the water, GMO foods, the medications, and all the other junk we fall for makes sugar the least of our worries with kids. One of the worst toxins in kids’ food is aspartame because it is in just about every kid targeted food and is especially dangerous for them as it is linked to a mile-long list of diseases.
It’s not just the food. Think about all the junk you rub into your child’s skin. Lotions, cosmetics, sunscreen, and various bug sprays are all directly absorbed through the skin and are loaded with toxins that are jacking up our kid’s nervous systems. Go green on skin products to reduce long-term toxicity.
You can get whole foods in them if you make it taste good. Putting some time into learning how to cook is well worth the effort. If you try to feed kids steamed vegetables and tofu, you’ll simply make them gorge on junk food when you’re not around. Healthy food can be made delicious, especially if you drop the low fat diet fantasy. Real, full-fat food tastes amazing. European cuisine is delicious, not low-fat, not plant based, nobody counts calories and they enjoy less than half of the obesity and heart disease as we do. Get your kids addicted to gourmet home cooked meals instead of organic, gluten-free cheesy-puffs.
I wrote about something called “tech-neck” a while ago. Kids get the same thing, only starting at an earlier age. Current generations have had an electronic device shoved in their face since birth. This is a sure way to make them fat and sick. A constant flow of wireless devices is just another type of environmental toxin. Reduce it and control it while you can. Better yet, let them see you control it, and I bet they’ll follow your lead.
They are great when logically applied. The problem with this is that logic is hardly ever applied. How do you know what they are missing from their diet? I’m sure they have deficiencies, but in what vitamins and how much? Have you taken them to a professional to get some simple blood work to see exactly what they are missing? Have you worked at eliminating toxins first since children are suffering from a much earlier onset of lifestyle diseases? Can you pronounce anything in the supplements that you are giving your children other than the word Flintstones? Focus less on building champions and more on building common sense.
The statistics are staggering regarding our children’s health. It’s no mystery as to why. We are doing our children a grave injustice by allowing them to be toxified by our bad habits and factors that we are too lazy to do anything about. We are doing the same things to them as we have done to ourselves, the only difference is they’re kids. Consider this before jumping into drug “therapy,” weird weight-loss food, and total knee surgery. Remember, they learn by watching us.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.
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Marti Barbour was selected almost 20 years ago as the first recipient of a Habitat For Humanity house in the Roaring Fork Valley. She paid off her mortgage in June and recalled the dire times her family faced and the help that Habitat provided.