Christina Sarich, Staff Writer Waking Times
Just a few decades ago, obese children and adolescents were practically unheard of. Adult obesity rates have also grown spectacularly, with more than 300 million cases of clinically obese people in the world. A new study reveals an alarming revelation, however, that children have experienced a 10-fold increase in obesity over the last four decades, with millions expected to struggle with this health issue by the year 2020.
Obesity is no laughing matter. Obese children are 50-70 percent more likely to suffer from serious conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health complications as adults. When a child becomes obese, it is practically a death-sentence.
At the very least, childhood obesity is a cry for help – our children are influenced by their families’ behaviors and the societal conditions which have allowed this epidemic to occur.
This isn’t an issue of poor, vs. rich, although there are indeed socio-economic factors at play.
Obesity is affecting every segment of society, and when the smallest of children – only three, four, and five-years-old – shows signs of obesity, we would be extraordinarily negligent to continue to ignore this travesty.
Are our children simply too lazy to manage their food intake and get a little exercise, or is there more to the story?
Obesity is rarely the result of a genetic condition such as a hormonal problem. It is a completely curable disease, based almost entirely (with a few exceptions) on lifestyle choices.
Here are some surprising factors which contribute to childhood obesity:
Metabolic syndrome which accompanies chronic stress is not just a problem for adults. The expectations we have of our children and the societal conditions which push absurd amounts of busy-work (called homework), while failing to give children time to play, get outdoors, and simply be children, is causing depression, and adrenal fatigue in younger and younger generations. We have developed an entire generation of overscheduled kids and anxiety-ridden parents.
When a seven-year-old can’t find time to play – you have to ask yourself what has gone wrong? Academic pressure is just one part of the problem, but it is a big part. When we need to put a law into place (the 504 process) to protect our children from too much homework, we also have to wonder what is to become of our children’s mental and physical health.
This does not mean that children shouldn’t have to work hard and study to learn. However, do kindergarten-aged children need to be so stressed over finishing homework that they can’t head outside to kick a ball around with friends before dinner?
To wit, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program has not yielded any higher life success rates among our youth. Moreover, academic qualifications do not guarantee life success. This deleterious thinking is adding to our obesity epidemic.
Poverty, Pharmaceutical Medications (Weaponized Medicine) & Weaponized Food
Most people are beginning to understand that Big Food and Big Pharma work in tandem. Big Food simply doesn’t meet people’s nutritional requirements. With approximately two billion people overweight, yet one billion still hungry – something clearly isn’t working.
Food insecurity and food scarcity aren’t the paradoxes they seem to be, but two results of a broken system. Our biggest food manufacturers just like our biggest “medicine” providers’ goal is to make the biggest profits, not to supply healthy, life-sustaining food to as many people as possible.
For those who would argue that there are simply too many people to feed, and feed correctly, I offer the following points:
- Existing farms already grow enough food to feed the world, only much of it is wasted, or simply unfit to eat. The US throws away as much as half of the food it creates.
- Poverty and access to healthy food are inextricably linked. Based on the World Bank’s estimates, someone should be able to eat on $1.90 a day (clearly they don’t shop at Whole Foods, or even their local farmer’s market, but let’s assume even in third world countries someone could actually eat well on that amount). The World Bank estimates that four-fifths of the world live in abject poverty – where they don’t even have this amount of money to spend on food. Rural incomes simply do not eradicate hunger, let alone sustain healthy eating habits.
- Even in Westernized nations where poverty-level incomes are much higher, the access to clean, non-polluted food is “iffy.” Food deserts, where someone would have to travel 50 to 100 miles or more to purchase organic produce, are obviously going to result in someone stopping to buy dinner at the local fried chicken shack, or to purchase canned or boxed goods made by the dozen food manufacturers which control the production of thousands of carcinogenic, obesity-inducing, endocrine- disrupting food additives that are currently contributing to the obesity crisis. These food deserts are located in some surprising places, too, such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Atlanta, GA.
- Inadequate food distribution systems contribute to world hunger, while allowing clean, healthy food products to go to waste.
- The U.S. Currently has the highest obesity rates, and no surprise, the Food and Drug Administration allows hundreds of food additives that are banned in other countries. Even baby formulas in the U.S. that are sold under the same label in other countries contain different ingredients. Is it any wonder that our children are doomed to be obese before they even start eating solid food?
- Big Pharma’s medications assault our endocrine systems, immune systems, and regulatory processes in the body. This assault begins at a very young age, resulting in compromised gut flora, which leads to obesity and auto-immune disorders, depression (which often leads to additional food abuse) diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and more. Many prescription medications cause weight gain, and the overuse of antibiotics kills our healthy gut flora, resulting in a skewed hormonal messaging system.
We simply don’t know when to stop eating because this gut-brain axis has been so profoundly affected. “The implication is that routine exposure to low levels of antibiotics might also promote obesity in humans, although further studies would be needed to determine this,” says Rob Knight from the University of Colorado, who studies the microbiome.
Screen Time and a Lack of Outdoor Green Spaces
The age of texting and virtual video gaming is causing increased obesity in our children. Decreased physical activity is likely to blame in large part, however, screen-time itself also seems to change the brain. Too much time on the Internet, or in front of a video game screen makes kids irritable, moody, and impulsive while a simple walk under some trees at a local park, lowers cortisol rates, reduces anxiety, improves cognitive performance, and encourages empathic social behaviors, along with a positive self-image – all traits that obese children struggle with.
The lack of green spaces in large urban areas is a huge contributor to obesity rates, and other health issues. However, even suburban areas are seeing a rise in obesity due to the sprawling nature of these communities. A lack of walking trails, connected public parks, and other poor planning that overlooks the importance of nature in our lives, should be addressed to reverse this phenomenon. In places like Amsterdam, for example, named the healthiest country in the world, where everyone walks or rides their bike daily, obesity is practically obsolete.
Hope for our Children
Despite these seeming insurmountable obstacles, changes in our lifestyle choices and awareness of the problem can result in a sea-change – a reversal of our course which will result in the highest recovery rates for future generations of children. We simply must alter the statistic which states that for the first time in human history parents are outliving their progeny.
Read more articles by Christina Sarich.
Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, Nexus, Atlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.
This article (Childhood Obesity Rates Expected to Grow 10-Fold by 2020) as originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.
*Article originally appeared at Waking Times.