Losing a child is every parent's worst fear. No one would argue that nurturing and protecting our children to the best of our ability should be one of our highest priorities. We make sure our children get enough sleep, do their homework, brush their teeth, limit their TV exposure, and enroll them in sports. Yet considering the healthfulness of our children's diets, our society has collectively and seriously failed in protecting them from future disability and chronic disease.

The World Health Organization attributes approximately 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide to "inadequate fruit and vegetable intake." Many of these are attributable to poor food choices made early in childhood, which Dr. Joel Fuhrman believes has fueled our adult cancer epidemic.

Over the past few decades, modern agriculture has not only made food more abundant, but also fast and cheap. In fact, fast food is available to us twenty-four hours of the day. Using both science and technology, the food industry has been busy; developing strategies that enhance the taste of their products, thus boosting sales. Artificially concentrated flavors along with added fats, sugar, and salt have purposefully been added to "seduce our taste buds." The majority of processed and refined foods contain these super concentrated flavors that affect the taste, aroma, texture and appearance of these foods.  These manipulated flavors stimulate our brain's pleasure center, causing us to crave the artificial (hyper-palatable) intense flavors over the natural flavors in whole, unprocessed foods. 

Is Diet Shortening Our Childrens Lives?

In Dr. Fuhrman's article, "The Standard American Diet Is Shortening Our Children's Lives" he states, "The poor dietary habits of today's children are contributing to their obesity, chronic illness, and ill-health. It is also laying a foundation for poor academic performance, chronic disease later in life, violent behavior, and premature death." Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, affirms these beliefs by saying, "Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents."

Dr. Fuhrman emphasizes "Poor nutrition gravely impacts children's health throughout their lives. Junk food IS life-threatening!" Below are some of the points Dr. Fuhrman mentions in his article: 

Parents Take an Oath?

"When it comes to something so simple and basic that so greatly impacts the quality of a child's life" Dr. Fuhrman adds, "there is no excuse to be negligent. Just as a doctor takes an oath to 'do no harm' with the course of treatment for his patients, so should parents have to take an oath 'to do no harm' with the food choices they offer their children. Somehow we overlook that allowing our children to indulge in junk food creates an environment setting them up for childhood illnesses, later life cancers, and an overall poor quality life. We ignore the hazards of some of their food choices and, worse, actually condone behavior that is potentially very harmful to them—even life-threatening!"

Dr. Fuhrman emphasizes the importance of "taking control of our children's health" and that parents can have a "major impact on the future health" of their children. He concludes by saying, "Indeed, we are in full control of the meals that we provide and the examples that we set. Our goal should be to instill healthy habits in our children so that they grow up at a healthy weight, enjoy healthful foods and exercise, and hold on to these habits as adults. Please arm yourself with the critical information about how to protect your children's health, both mind and body, by feeding them right and educating them about the power of food. Let's give them the best fighting chance for the brightest future."

For additional information regarding how children's diets are linked to adult diseases, click on the following links:

(1) Atherosclerosis Begins in Early Childhood

(2) Heart Disease Starts in Childhood

(3) Childhood Diet Predicts Adult Cancer Risk

(4) Incidence of Teen Stroke on the Rise

(5) Is Your Child's Diet Healthy?

(6) Dairy Promotes Type-1 Diabetes

(7) Junk Food Promotes Lower IQ Scores

(8) Dairy & Sexual Precocity

(9) Sick Before Their Time: More Kids Diagnosed With Adult Diseases

(10) McDougall Diet for Pregnancy and Children

(11) Childhood Diet Linked to Asthma

(12) Dairy Associated With Recurrent Ear Infections

(13) Who's Influencing Your Children?