What will Your Child's Future Look Like?
As a parent, you make many choices throughout the day concerning the health and safety of your children. Adequate sleep, proper dental hygiene, and getting enough fresh air and exercise are just a few of the many good habits you instill in your children. Yet when it comes to dietary choices, are you making the best choices to protect them from childhood illness, future disability and chronic disease?
According to the World Health Organization 80% of all deaths are caused mostly by poor diet and lifestyle habits. Many of these are attributable to poor food choices made early in childhood - resulting in unhealthy food choices and addictions in adulthood. Today, doctors are seeing an alarming number of children suffering from chronic disease that used to be seen only in middle-aged adults. Years ago, physicians rarely saw children with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and the beginning stages of heart disease, yet it is now considered normal for today's physician to see children with these diseases on a regular basis. Additionally, stroke is no longer considered a disease of old age. Because children have become addicted to high-fat junk food, strokes are now occurring in younger people as well, even teens. Approximately half of overweight teens (and 37% of normal weight teens) have one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including diabetes, high LDL cholesterol, and hypertension. Even more distressing, since the majority of calories in the typical American diet today come from highly processed, low-fiber, nutrient-deficient foods which are high in fat, cholesterol, refined oils and sugars, it's predicted that today's generation of children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
The unfortunate reality is that fatty cholesterol plaque deposits accumulate and coat the inside of the blood vessel walls beginning in early childhood. The fatty streaks can be seen in autopsies performed on children as young as 3 years of age. By age 10, nearly 100% of children have atherosclerotic plaque formations. These atherosclerotic plaques will continue to form, resulting in serious coronary artery disease by age 30-40. In fact, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, "over 90 percent of adult Americans who die in car accidents show atherosclerosis in their coronary arteries on autopsy."
The incidence of advanced heart disease was also noted on autopsy reports that were performed on Korean War casualties. Reports revealed that over 77% of the hearts examined had gross evidence of arteriosclerosis. The average age of the men examined was 22 years. Some vessels were clogged 90% or more. For more information, see our blog, Who has Heart Disease? Everyone?
Keeping these facts in mind, please watch the below two-minute video. This video does an excellent job of demonstrating how our food choices are formed early in life; thus, establishing a lifetime of (bad) habits.
(This video is produced by the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life. Although their program does not advocate eating a plant-centered diet, their video powerfully portrays the dire health condition of our country.)
The importance of providing a diet consisting of predominantly whole plant foods, as close to nature as possible, and keeping processed/refined foods at a minimum for your children right from the start cannot be overstated. Children quickly learn and develop different taste preferences and emotional attachments to the food that they are given during the first few years of their life. This phenomenon is referred to as "imprinting." Our children's future health is greatly impacted by what we feed them when they are young. If you are interested in a wonderful resource, "Disease-Proof Your Child" written by Joel Fuhrman, MD discusses how eating a nutrient-dense diet not only promotes optimal health, it also protects children from future disease and disability.