Influencing the Next Generation

I am always so amazed at how much kids pick up.  They come to learn about companies and brands through advertising (something that has been proven many times through studies).

So, I began wondering what we are doing to influence our kids on wellness now.  Usually, patient programs are focused on sick people rarely on prevention for people that are healthy.  And, given childhood obesity issues, there is a lot we have to do although I found a lot of sites talking about this (e.g., Alliance for a Healthier Generation).

I see plenty of kids that don’t get out an exercise or eat all types of junk food.  My 6-year old has been running races with me since she was 2.  Just 1/2 mile or a mile, but it is great to see her excitement about this.  (Now, this can go too far.  I remember one race where the dad was pushing the little kid so hard that they were crying.)

It is also important that they understand healthy eating versus junk food.  Halloween is a good example.  My kids enjoy one day of candy and then they can trade their candy for a toy rather than eating it all.   It’s all about setting an example.

Since the 1970s, the percentage of overweight kids and adolescents in the United States has more than doubled. Today, 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. If you combine the percent of kids who are overweight with the percent of kids who are at risk of becoming overweight, about one out of three children are affected.  (From KidsHealth)

Some childhood obesity facts (from the NIH):

  • Obese children and adolescents have shown an alarming increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
  • Many obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.
  • One of the most severe problems for obese children is sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping). In some cases this can lead to problems with learning and memory.
  • Obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

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