CHILDHOOD OBESITY: Still Missing The Boat

ducksAs the race for our next President continues, topics of “substantive issues” remain the same topics discussed over the last 40 years. Health insurance, social security, education, budget balancing, military size, etc… continue to be the main topics with leaders claiming to know the best path to accomplishing successful outcomes. The electorate has become disenchanted with our political leaders and is threatening to elect an “outsider” to the highest position in the United States of America frustrated by failed policy and gross incompetency.

chubbybaby-480x360For more than 35 years, childhood obesity has been on the rise. As of 2013, 42 million children suffer from the devastation that obesity causes worldwide. Like our political system, our approach to childhood obesity is archaic resulting in recurring failure to reverse and correct this epidemic. It is time for us to turn our backs to our “prestigious” World Health Organization (WHO) that views our obesity epidemic as follows:

 The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.”

This underlying explanation removes the entire emotional element associated with food consumption and classifies it as a mathematical problem corrected by changing the number of calories consumed. This simplistic explanation provides clarity for the gross failure of government and its health and regulatory policies. Obesity is an economic, social, physical, emotional and mathematical issue. Until we are willing to recognize this epidemic in this light, we will continue to create failing policies resulting in the devastation of children’s health and well being worldwide.

We must begin by understanding that obesity and the various conditions that manifest from its onset ARE AVOIDABLE. Currently, childhood obesity is treated with exercise and diet. If high cholesterol develops, children are treated with anti-cholesterol medications. If diabetes develops, children are treated with anti-diabetic medications. If reflux develops, children are treated with anti-reflux medications. If we step back and objectively view this approach, one notices that childhood obesity is treated by “plugging holes” that develop over time. As a new condition emerges from the underlying obesity issue, a new medication is prescribed to “contain” the new health malady.

This approach will never successfully address and reverse childhood obesity!

A Few Good PeopleTo reverse this epidemic, we must be willing to address socioeconomic issues and psychosocial issues. We must recognize that poverty plays a major role and be willing to create plans based on a community, state and federal level. We must create environments where children are safe and able to participate in healthy activities that nurture the body and the mind. We must help children understand their value and importance to society and encourage them to participate in projects that benefit communities as a whole. This is a grass roots approach that begins the process that reverses childhood obesity. It succeeds because it becomes an all encompassing approach that addresses the various components preventing obesity, rather than “plugging the holes” (high cholesterol, diabetes, gall bladder issues, gastric issues, arterial plaque, high blood pressure) resulting from this avoidable condition once it develops. This paradigm shift is essential to create a new path for our children. Although many of us (understandably) are tired, frustrated, stressed, and possess limited discretionary time, it is our responsibility to provide the best opportunities available to our children. It all starts by recognizing that doctors and school lunch programs are only a small component to the answer. As much as we would prefer to stand on the sidelines, families and communities must begin to participate in this process for real change to occur. Waiting until the 11th hour as our political leaders do will only make solving the problem that much harder. I suggest turning to your HEART and relying on your sense of compassion and kindness to start participating in this process. The love of family and community should spark a flame creating an awakening that our children deserve the opportunity for GOOD HEALTH both physically and mentally. It all starts by each one of us taking a step forward and asking, “how can I help?”

Purpose of life

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36 comments

  1. Wonderful to read a post by you today! Welcome back!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great to be back. Nice to see our wonderful community in action.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elaine · · Reply

    Yes, welcome back! I especially like the quote from Margaret Mead…so true!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The most difficult part of change is taking the first step. Each attempt we make does NOT have to end with success; each attempt simply needs to place us a small distance closer to achieving the ultimate goal. Patience and persistence creates positive change that everyone benefits from. But, each of us must be willing to participate on any level we can to help overcome this very real crisis. The answer to childhood obesity can’t be left to the politicians and the governmental regulatory agencies. The real answers begin by objectively and unemotionally viewing our own lives and seeing whether our commitment to our own family’s health and well being is being fulfilled.

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  3. Welcome back my friend. You were missed. Hope all is well. Love the post. It is a serious problem in our society. I remember running home to tell my parents I hit a home run. Nowaday, I hear kids bragging about the two home runs they hit in Playstation. We need to get the youngsters active again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to be back and corresponding with our blogging community.
      I agree with you completely. As I was walking Tucker (my beagle) I saw three children playing on battery operated scooters. Technology has once again replaced the need for physical activity among children.
      Interesting how nearly every adult agrees that childhood obesity is a problem, yet remain on the sidelines waiting for others to solve the problem. They need to become more aware that personal involvement is the only real answer to this dilemma.

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  4. Welcome back! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to be back. Quite an emotional experience helping a parent through the process of suffering a stroke. After losing my mother just 5 months earlier, I wasn’t prepared for this unfortunate situation. Hopefully, the willingness for my father to follow a healthier lifestyle will help provide quality years ahead for the two of us.
      I really appreciate the smiling face at the end of your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome back Jonathan, I hope your Dad is okay? I have just been with a Mum who is overweight and has a toddler heading the same way. These children are innocent bystanders in their knowledge of food and exercise, We as parents are their role models whether we like it or not and if we are not setting healthy examples on their plates at home or teaching them to exercise outside, then no teacher or government can change that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Great to be back. It took a large part of February to make certain my father’s needs were met while providing him as much independence as possible. At nearly 90 years of age, he is quite a dynamic and inspiring person.

      Life can be so challenging, sometimes we need to be reminded to extend our focus beyond our own bodies. Children need guidance, support and encouragement. It is easier to be a positive role model for a child when we follow a lifestyle that enhances our own quality of life. We must reverse this negative trend that focuses on self destruction and misery. Pursuing a well balanced life is achievable if we are willing to place the required effort. This effort will likely reduce childhood obesity more significantly than any appetite suppressant drug or diet program.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Glad your Father is doing well. 90yrs is quite an achievement and I hope he continues to stay well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome back Jonathan. I missed you and your blogs. I was a skinny child despite the fight between parent and child (me) not wanting to go out and play. I wanted to read. There were days they pushed me out the door and locked it. Go play with the other kids. Sometimes I did and sometimes I sat under the trees and dissociated from life. I was still skinny until I had my first baby and my second and then the third. Psychological issues finished the job. My one girl you wouldn’t know had two kids and the other it is obvious. She is like my side of the family unfortunately. She is trying to exercise it away. Not working well. My son is like my family, but he works hard exercising and running it away, He wants to be a personal trainer.

    I am now eating heathy foods. No sugar or wheat .The fridge is overflowing with fresh fruits and veggies. I am eating them. I have lost about 5 lbs.

    Again welcome back. Good column. My grandkids run and play and the cousins are wild when they get together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the welcome. Glad to be back.
      Sounds like you have really turned things around while I was gone. I am very proud of you. Keep up the good work.
      People have a tendency to look for the “ONE” thing that changes the big picture in life. In most cases, it is a compilation of things that help BALANCE a person’s life. We are dynamic creatures requiring the ability to adapt to change. We generally prefer status quo, but that is commonly not reality. Those willing to embrace change and adapt to it have an easier time.
      Life is certainly challenging, but so worthwhile!
      Stay healthy and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I went to the Chiropractor in severe pain, the whole body. He started pushing on trigger points and even non-trigger points and while I was yelling he stopped joking and said I am serious. You are doing this to yourself. I had just had a 2 week sugar, wheat binging party. I couldn’t eat anything with out severe stomach pain and its wonderful accompaniments. I had acid reflux every night. We had a serious talk. He started listing every thing I couldn’t eat. It was almost everything in the world and you can probably guess what he said I could eat. His short list of fruits, veggies, meat, not a lot of read meat. A product called “Naked” that contained everything in a smoothie, but I didn’t need a juicer or a 1000 lbs of veggies and fruits I hate… It contained Kale and all those green things and fruits. Tastes a little like pineapple juice and is thick from all the ingredients listed on bottle. There are a ton of fruits and veggies in every bottle. I would eat one of them, now I also get the ones I won’t eat.

        Thanks for the support Jonathan. Hope Dad is doing better.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. welcome back Doctor, very happy to see you. Hope all is well at your side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the warm greeting. Great to be back. Looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of things and bringing new messages of hope and inspiration to the community. In turn, I hope life has been treating you well. Keep smiling!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You too keep smiling and best wishes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Sure nice to have you back….another great post….kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to be back. I’m ready to help stimulate more brain cells! Thank you so much for all your support.

      Like

      1. really nice to have you back…..

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Heyyyy! Welcome back! Insightful post as usual! Light and Love, Shona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the welcome back. Battling family health problems reinforces my commitment to share my messages to help others avoid the heartache and pain often caused in part if not totally from poor lifestyle choices.

      Looking forward to getting back to reading your wisdom and motivation as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love love love this post. It is so right it makes me want to swear and use lots of bad words because I have finally met someone who REALLY gets it. Someone who understands what I have been banging on about all of these months.
    A great post Jonathan.
    If this is the standard that you come with after a break then as much as I like to see you here everyday, I think you need to take a break more often because this is the BEST post I have read in months.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love to see you all fired up with emotions. It’s an important message we share and feel deeply about. Glad to have a friend across the ocean fighting the tough fight with the same goals.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Welcome back! You have been missed. Wonderful post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to see you as well. Looking forward to your healthy meals and wonderful sense of humor.

      Like

  12. Welcome back! Glad your father has reached 90 and has U to help him get the most out of life at any age.

    The quotes and the political topicality work well in this post. Yes, WHO oversimplifies drastically. Like many other phrases with that dangerous 1st little word, “the fundamental cause” raises a red flag for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to be back. Thank you for your personal message. It meant more than you may realize. His independence is a little challenging, but certainly understandable.
      When simplifying solutions increases compliance and results, I support these approaches. In this case, it leaves out a large component of the problem and offers an ongoing failed solution. Getting members of society to recognize the importance of their involvement and commitment to this horrific epidemic also possess a problem since they are typically unaware how they can help. This problem needs to be addressed within the family, school system, community, religious institutions, state and federal government. Approaching it in this manner offers greater support and awareness and provides various venues for people to become involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have seen the lives my kids touch by helping others be healthier. They get asked all the time, what can they do to be healthier. People see the energy they have and a certain zest and I think it rubs off. I am thankful they share with others all the things they have learned. Though there is one question that does disturb me that both my kids get asked…”Are you on drugs?” Not only does this make me sad, it makes me mad. All because they have an extra bounce to their step and a readiness that shows in their actions, they are accused of taking drugs. I too have been told this so I feel their pain. I find it a sad state where vibrancy is made fun of. Though for every “are you on drugs”, there are the ones that say…”you have good energy about you”, “your energy lights up the place”, etc. I’ve seen the bumper sticker…”mean people suck” and they do, but it won’t stop us from helping others whether it be a smile to brighten their day or come walk with me and together we will get fit! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When people are intimidated by others, they lash out in an attempt to feel better about themselves. It puts a big smile on my face when people say they’d hate to live my disciplined life. It translates in my brain to mean, they feel incapable of achieving the level of health (and happiness) I have been able to achieve. By the time my brain fully unravels their words, I can only respond with, I’m glad for you you’ve found better options to achieve the level of health and happiness you desire. 🙂

    Like

  15. My husband and I would like to have 4 kids and I’ve always known that I’m going to do my best to ensure that they are healthy and active. It’s easy when you’re going to be “that” parent who refuses to buy your 8 year old a phone, so the only thing to do is go outside and play…with your siblings, because everyone else is inside on their devices, lol.

    I’m fortunate that I have like-minded friends who have children. When we get together weekly, we cook healthy food, we go for hikes, and we engage in play. It reminds me of when I was a kid versus how I see most kids behaving nowadays (that made me sound and feel old). I’m prepared to have my kids “hate” me for not letting them be “cool” but at least they won’t be obese! Well, until they grow up and have their own money and could choose to defy me with cell phones and McDonald’s…but at a certain point you need to pick your battles or you will drive yourself crazy. Ultimately all parents can do is give children a good foundation and then let them make their own decisions (and mistakes).

    I’ve never really considered what I could/should be doing now when I don’t have kids. I guess I’ve never really thought it was my problem because I don’t have kids yet, so what am I going to do? Other people are going to raise their kids how they want to. But now I realize that’s kind of a terrible attitude, isn’t it? I will start by continuing what I already do with the kids I know and consider how I can expand that with other children.

    PS: I’m happy to see you’re back and glad to read that your dad is doing well. That’s awesome that he’s lived to be 90 years old and counting! Hey, maybe that will be the title of my blog one day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since I am aware of your difficulty with patience, I assume you will have all 4 children at one time. 😀
      I’m certain the two of you will be terrific parents and face the typical challenges of raising a family. Your knowledge and willingness to place your future child’s health and well being ahead of your need to “friend” your child will be a gift they can never repay. I always say that life is about BALANCE. Learning how to “go (change) with the flow” to maintain a balanced lifestyle is difficult, but rewarding.

      On a certain level, I’ll bet my father is glad that I’m back home as well! 😀 He is a special person that has provided me with a great deal of support and love over the years. His character has helped shape the person I continue to evolve in becoming. I will always be thankful for this gift.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would like to at least have three at once…it seems more efficient that way, no? 😀

        I think that friendship with your children comes much later in life. When they’re growing up, they need guidance, rules, boundaries, and limitations. I have enough friends and now it’s time to raise functional and healthy little humans! I can’t wait for that next phase of our lives (of course I can’t wait! Who wants to WAIT?!).

        I feel the same way about my dad. It’s comforting to know that he lives on through me. I hope to see his traits in my future children and even though he won’t be here to meet them, I will know that he can still indirectly influence them through what he’s taught me.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I had no idea you had posed so much since being back, as WP for some reason has been leaving you posts off my Reader. 😦

    Very good word here Jonathan and you’re speaking my language by telling folks to stop looking for government officials to save the day. We all should take responsibility for our own health and for the kids in our lives we can influence. Shoot just getting them away from their gadgets and outside is a major step in the right direction.

    Society has a quick fix mentality that seeps in to health issues where taking a pill seems easier. We do our children a disservice by teaching them this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you completely. This issue will NOT fix itself. Parents must begin to equate good health with love instead of food with love. Helping children gain unhealthy profiles that lead to diseases and a shorter life expectancy is an enabling attitude; not a loving attitude. Although I do not believe parents intentionally create these outcomes, they must be willing to face reality and change their approaches to their children’s health. We can no longer afford to keep our heads buried in the sand and watch our children suffer the consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

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