WHY IT MATTERS
Kids need nourishing food to support their growing bodies and minds. They need it for their developing bones, teeth and muscles. They need it to stay calm and alert in the classroom and have the energy to learn and play. They need it to be healthy both now and in the future. Here are 4 important reasons why we should be paying close attention to our kids’ diets:
#1: Brain power Over the years, poor nutrition has been linked to difficulty concentrating, poor test results, and disruptive behavior in school. Think about how you feel after eating a hot dog and fries or a big slice of cake covered with frosting. Like lying on the couch and taking a nap? Exactly—and kids are no different.
#2: Diabetes risk The rate of Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as “adult onset”) is on the rise among adolescents. According to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, the percentage of teens testing positive for diabetes and pre-diabetes rose from 9 to 23 percent from 1999 to 2008. Even scarier: New research suggests the disease progresses more rapidly and is harder to treat in children than it is in adults. Diabetes can have life-threatening complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations—and is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
#3: Weight problems Foods like French fries and donuts are filled with calories that can add up quickly—and they’re super-easy to overeat. Add too much time spent watching TV or playing video games, and you’ve got a recipe for packing on the pounds. Think it won’t happen to your kid? Consider the stats: 1 out of every 3 kids is now overweight or obese.
#4: Heart health Plaque build-up in the arteries, unhealthy changes in cholesterol and high blood pressure can, and often do, start during childhood. In other words, the damage that could cause a future heart attack or stroke may be happening today—even if your child isn’t overweight.