Did your mom hold your hand and teach you to look both ways before going out on the street? This is Parenting 101, educate your children about dangers and protect them throughout their lives.
Eating your favorite food is one of the great pleasures in life. I love watermelon, a succulent symbol of the American summer loved by young and old alike. Like most colorful fruits and vegetables, it’s packed with micronutrients often referred to as vitamins and minerals. It is fat free and extremely safe to eat. This brings me to this.
I’m in the grocery store quickly walking down the soda aisle to reach the produce section and a bright fluorescent colored bottle grabbed me: MAJOR MELON, a soft drink adorned with funny cartoon characters to obviously attract children and children- at heart.
Brilliant Marketing! Can this be good for you?
I stopped before tossing it in my cart and looked at the nutrition label (like crossing the street). I lost my breath and was shocked and brought down to earth by what I read. This bottle offers 62 grams of sugar in a small serving. 2 and a half days of sugar (American Heart Association and World Health Organization). What is the food business thinking with this cartoon watermelon, I wondered?
Like a cold slap in the face, I achieved the worst. Food companies, in general, don’t care about your health.
Here, they twisted and perverted one of nature’s healthy beauties to promote one of the world’s worst drinks (Google “Mountain Dew Mouth ‘s Destroying Appalachia’s Teeth”) to the kids!
Parents: Fundamental skills of this century include taking control, identifying and ignoring magnetically alluring advertisements that put your family at risk. It is essential to proactively teach your children about the dangers lurking in the street of nutrition. But beware, food companies are playing in the same stadium and they ruthlessly dominate the game to get your child’s attention by spending billions. Look around at a ball game, theme park, carnival, or fast food places. See how they promote unhealthy food with bright colors, cartoonish and sexy slogans, and images that make you salivate. We are in a highway crowded with dangerous food items readily available and screaming at us like Melon Major.
Childhood obesity is now a pandemic in its own right (global spread of an epidemic) and is fueled by sugar. The Center for Disease Control warns that obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
â¢ Once associated with high income countries, obesity is now also prevalent in low and middle income countries as they too have adopted the Western diet of liquefied soda fast food.
â¢ Already 1 in 3 children in the United States are obese. From 1999-2000 to 2017-2018, the prevalence of obesity in the United States increased from 30.5% to 42.4%.
At the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity fell from 4.7% to 9.2%.
â¢ Diseases related to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable premature death.
Over the past two weeks, two different doctor friends have told me that most of the children they see professionally are overweight and obese. Dr. Megan Rosenquist says she started too many conversations with parents telling them ‘you’re not going to like this’ about how they need to change their fast food and drink habits sugary because it makes their kids ( and themselves) fat and sick. . It’s like looking both ways before crossing the street. My friend Bryan told me about his cousin Kenny, who loved and ate hot dogs 2-3 times a day, every day. Kenny died of cancer in his mid-twenties, possibly as a result of his diet. It gets serious, friends, but informed parenting can keep your family safe.
Dr. John Seffrin, then CEO of the American Cancer Society, lamented aloud that a billion deaths could be avoided “if we could prevent the terrorist tactics of the tobacco industry from marketing its products to children. “. How many hobbled and shortened lives are lived by food companies and their relentless advertising attacks on children?
Develop healthy eating habits
â¢ Provide plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grain products.
â¢ Choose lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans for protein.
â¢ Encourage your family to drink plenty of water.
â¢ Limit sugary drinks.
â¢ Limit the intake of sugar and saturated fat.
â¢ Teach your children to read food labels. Point out the dangers of added sugar. Aim for 0 added sugar and well under 10g per serving. Learn about macronutrients and teach your kids a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. To Improve Your Snack Culture Reducing the availability of high fat, sugar or salty snacks helps your children develop healthy eating habits. Only allow your children to eat these foods infrequently, so they will really be treats! Examples of easy-to-prepare, low-fat, low-sugar snacks with 100 calories or less:
â¢ 1 cup of carrots, broccoli or peppers with 2 tablespoons of hummus.
â¢ One medium apple or banana.
â¢ 1 cup of blueberries or grapes.
â¢ A quarter cup of tuna wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
Help the children to be active. Be the role model.
Remember that children imitate adults. Add healthy foods and physical activity to your own routine, and eventually your kids will follow suit. The apple does not fall far from the tree (shameless food reference).
Children cannot choose their diet, adults do. Adults show the way and show where children are going and how they think and act. If a food is advertised, there is a good chance there is something wrong. Children are smart. Train them now to make the right choices to stay safe when they are on the streets.
Mike Thompson is a health coach and writes on nutrition and amazing aging. He lives in Richmond Hill, is certified in sports nutrition and founder of SelfCare Sustained. Contact him at MikeThompson @ SelfCareSustained.com.