After battling the expanding waistline of our nation for decades, health officials are celebrating a small victory this week.
There has been a decline in the number of babies and toddlers considered “chubby.”
The trend was found in a study of children up to age two who were enrolled in a U.S. nutrition assistance program for low-income women and children, the Associated Press reported. Half of all infants up to 12 months old are enrolled in this program.
Over a four-year observation period, from 2010 to 2014, the percentage of youngsters at risk for obesity fell from almost 15 percent to 12 percent overall in 2014 — and the decline was seen across almost all ages studied.
The results were unexpected. “People are thrilled,” said lead author and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher David Freedman.
But will the numbers really amount to much as these children get older, become more sedentary, eat the typical high-fat and high-sugar American diet — and are handed an iPad to stay quiet and well-behaved?
A report last week warned that our life expectancy, for the first time in at least 20 years, has reversed. We’re not living longer. And it is because of our lifestyle choices, said Dr. Rosemary Stein, a pediatrician in Burlington, North Carolina.
If you teach kids from an early age to eat right, exercise, and take care of their mind, they think that’s the way everyone does things.
“It makes me sad. We have the science, the data to understand diabetes and all of these pathologic processes and how to take care of them. But we have forgotten how to build strong human beings,” Stein told LifeZette. “What good is all that science if we’re not going to be able to apply it? That [report] made me really sad. We’ve come so far in science but we can’t do that last thing — which is mind over matter.”
Build healthy habits for children when they are young — that’s the right start, she said. If you teach kids from a very early age to eat right, exercise, and take care of their minds, they think that’s the way everyone does things.
It won’t be overwhelming for them as they get older.
“The foods that they’re eating, the activities they’re participating in, the quality of things they put into their brains — which are much more electronic-related than imagination, reading, conversation, and interaction with others — all of these things lead to a different outcome, a different product. That’s what is leading to not only a decrease in life expectancy, but also in a decreased quality of life,” Stein added.
“It’s like Proverbs 22:6. ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.’ It counts for everything. It’s not just biblical and teaching children about the Lord — it’s about everything,” said Stein. “Think about is this way: Is this productive for my child to be able to live the healthiest, longest life possible? If you see the things that you’re doing through that lens, than you might be doing a very different job.”