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Children and the Fat Wars

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It's no longer uncommon to see an overweight child. Within the last 20 years, we have witnessed a doubling in the prevalence of childhood obesity. Now, approximately 30 percent of our kids are seriously overweight, and 15-percent are considered obese.

It's no longer uncommon to see an overweight child. Within the last 20 years, we have witnessed a doubling in the prevalence of childhood obesity. Now, approximately 30 percent of our kids are seriously overweight, and 15-percent are considered obese. Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions, and no one seems to have the antidote or maybe we are just looking in the wrong places.

Perhaps the problem is that the majority of parents may be living in denial. Research presented in 2000 at the annual meetings of both the Pediatric Academic Societies and the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that only three percent of parents of severely obese children recognize that their children have weight problems.

Fattening Baby Formula

In 1993, researchers from the University of California published a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that concluded that the longer a mother breastfed and delayed the introduction of solid food to her offspring the greater the protection against adult obesity. Formula-fed infants accumulate more body fat. Why? Carbohydrates are much higher in commercial baby formulas, which increase the fat storage hormone insulin. Researchers theorize that early exposure to a high-carbohydrate diet may therefore predispose a child to obesity later in life.

Sugary Soft-Drinks

It is also imperative to address the problem of children's soft-drink consumption. New research from the Bournemouth Diabetes and Endocrine Centre in the United Kingdom showed that even a modest reduction in the number of carbonated drinks consumed was associated with a reduction in the number of overweight and obese children.

This is not surprising when you understand that the average soft drink contains seven to eight teaspoons of sugar that's seven to eight times more sugar than an adult body is programmed to handle at any one time&let alone a child's.

Immunizing Against Diabetes?

A study presented in Obesity Research suggests that obesity may actually be infectious. There are four viruses that are implicated in animal obesity. Antibodies to one of the viruses, adenovirus 36, are much more prevalent in obese human subjects than in lean subjects.

Some research suggests that general vaccinations may create a propensity towards childhood obesity. Medical researcher and author Harris Coulter, PhD, points out that the condition of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) has increased dramatically since the introduction of childhood vaccination programs. Diabetes and obesity are two known offshoots of this disorder.

When are we going to realize that our children are just smaller, younger versions of us? The same sound nutrition and exercise principles that apply to our health also apply to theirs. As a parent, your responsibility for helping your kids get on the right path lies in your ability to set a good example.

After all, you child isn't responsible for stocking the fridge and cupboards you are!

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