By Alex Kain
So a few years back I was at a client’s house because they were having a get together. It was in the middle of an accountability challenge we were having and they wanted to show me their pantry. Right in the middle of the pantry at eye level was a very motivational note written and taped to the shelf. My client told me how they looked at the note every time they opened the pantry and it has helped to keep them accountable during the challenge, and helped them to keep/maintain progress. They were incredibly proud of themselves and how they’ve done such a good job up to this point and how the note has helped them. I was very impressed and proud of them as well, but then I looked beyond the note. Just past the note there were bags of chips, and snack crackers, cookies, candy, breakfast bars, etc. All kinds of processed food and for a lack of better words “junk.” All the kinds of food that you would probably find in most pantries around the country, all foods that have an incredibly long shelf life, and make for great snack food. When I looked at all this food they had, I pointed to it and asked them, “why do you have all this crap?” They immediately responded and told me that all that food was for their kids and they swore they were not eating any of it. I told them that was great, but I then asked them. “So food that you have deemed not suitable for you to consume is ok for your kids to eat?”
This basically leads me to the purpose of this article which is, if you really want the best for your children you shouldn’t let them eat anything that you would consider not suitable for you to consume. Furthermore, I would argue that you should really care about what you’re feeding yourself. If not for you, then do it for your children. What kind of habits are we instilling in them if we are basically teaching them that processed, high calorie food is acceptable to consume.
Perhaps you can look at a child and simply shrug it off and say, “they’re children, and they have the metabolism of a hummingbird, they’ll be fine.” While this thought process is correct for many children and may be ok for the first 10 or 20 years of their life. What kind of eating habits are they carrying with themselves when their metabolism isn’t as fast? In fact, the fast metabolism thought process may not be all that accurate for children across America though. According to the CDC, 20% of our youth aged 12-19 are not just overweight, but obese. Eighteen percent (18%) of our youth ages 6-11 are obese and 14% of our youth ages 2-5 are obese. Once we get over the age of 20 the percent of obese adults climbs to over 50% and that number continues to climb as we get older. We are feeding ourselves all wrong and we are opting for the easy or quick way to prepare food, not only for ourselves but also our children.
While there is no definition for what is considered overweight or obese, it is safe to say body fat percentage could distinguish the two. Body fat percentages are different for men and women as well so that can make it hard, as no two people are the same. If anyone were to ask me what is the difference between overweight and obese. I would say anything over 26-28% body fat would be considered overweight and anything over 34-38% body fat would be considered obese.
Unfortunately the overall weight of people in the world has climbed significantly. It has become easy to not be concerned with our weight or our children’s weight because we are still within “the norm.” If the majority of Americans are doing the wrong thing, that doesn’t make it ok for us to do the same. In the last several years there’s been a push to be comfortable in your own skin, and big is beautiful. While these statements are true and they do hold some merit, we should also recognize they aren’t excuses to not pay attention to what we eat and our own eating habits.
Back to the point, which is our children. You shouldn’t be educating yourself on what is good eating, or how to control your eating habits for your sake, you should be doing it for your children’s sake. If you want better for them, you should be educating them on good nutrition and good eating habits so that they’ll have something to build off of as they move out on their own. If your children are already overweight we need to look at ourselves as the reason. Young children don’t know any better what they are eating, so if they are young and already overweight the fault lies in those who are feeding our children.