October is Children’s Health Month, an observance created to bring national awareness to the health issues children face today. Unfortunately, too many U.S. children suffer from our national epidemics of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease — problems that used to be very rare in children. Changes in society and poor health habits are increasing children’s risk of disease. Consider these statistics:
- In 1969, almost half of students walked or biked to school. Today that number is down to less than 15%.
- 31.1% of adolescents use a computer for activities other than school work (such as video games or computer games) for 3 hours or more on an average school day.
- In the 1970s, 5% of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 were obese, according to the CDC’s current definition; by 2008, nearly 17% of children were obese.
- 23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls.
- More than 30% of children eat fast food on any given day.
- In 1900, 2% of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50% were eaten away from home.
- Less than 4% of all children meet the nutritional standard of 3 or more servings of whole grains per day.
- Only 8% of 5- to 14-year-olds and 4% of 15- to 19-year-olds eat 2 or more cups of fruit a day.
- Less than 2% of children meet the guidelines of 2.5 cups of vegetables every day.
The Obesity Epidemic
According to the United States Healthful Food Council, obesity rates for children have tripled in the last 35 years. Today, 3 out of 10 children are overweight or obese (and FYI, 7 out of 10 adults are overweight or obese). Researchers are even finding a prevalence of overweight infants (aged 0-2 years). A 2010 study found that 9.7% of U.S. infants had a high “weight for recumbent length” (a measure similar to BMI, but for infants). And this isn’t just happening in the U.S., but in many countries all over the world. As other countries have adopted the “western lifestyle,” global obesity rates have increased 82% in the past two decades.
Obesity damages nearly every system in a child’s body and plays havoc on hormones that control blood sugar and puberty. As more and more children are becoming overweight and obese earlier in life, the diseases and complications that are associated with obesity are also coming at an earlier age — these include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, cancer, disability and more. This is a tremendous burden for a child. Children who are obese are more likely to be obese as adults and have a higher risk for chronic illness and disability later in life.
Fast Food, Family and the Brain
The CDC found that U.S. adolescents on average get about 17% of their daily calories from pizza and other fast foods and younger children, about 9%. Fast foods, full of added sugars and refined starches (such as white bread and potato products that instantly turn to glucose once ingested), not only affect physical health, but also mental performance. A study in Clinical Pediatrics found 5th graders who ate the most fast food had lower test score improvements in reading, math and science by 8th grade. Two-thirds of 5th graders studied said they’d had at least one fast food meal in the last week and 1 out of 5 said they’d had at least four fast food meals in the previous week.
Meals eaten outside of the home are typically of lower nutritional quality, contain more calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and less fiber and micronutrients than food made at home. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that family meals are also associated with improved adolescent psychological development. Research shows that kids who eat regular meals with their parents get better grades, form healthier relationships and are more likely to stay out of trouble — 42% less likely to drink alcohol, 50% less likely to smoke and 66% less likely to smoke marijuana. Sadly, on average most family meals only happen three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and typically involve watching TV and texting while each person has their own microwave meal.
Now Is the Time to Take Action
With the daily pressures of our fast-paced lifestyles, it’s difficult to find the time and energy to make the changes needed for our health and the health of our families. Make exercise fun — find activities you all enjoy outside, play volleyball in the backyard together, go on an adventure and take the kids on a hike. Seek whatever gets your bodies moving and your hearts happy.
Making sure kids get their full servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes every day is not an easy task, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Nothing is better than a diet rich in nutrients from real food. But we are human and the reality is we most likely won’t reach our nutrition goals every single day. Reliv Now® for Kids can help your family bridge the gap in their nutrition. It contains 26 vitamins and minerals, 5 g of protein, LunaRich® for the power of soy, omega 3 fatty acids, phospholipids for cellular development, and the powerful antioxidant grape seed extract. Now is the time to make a stand for your family’s health.
Reliv Now for Kids Features & Benefits
Feature: Reliv’s exclusive LunaRich® soy powder
Benefit: You’ve found a nutritional breakthrough — scientifically designed to maximize soy’s documented health benefits.
Feature: Broad base of basic nutrients and advanced nutrients
Benefit: It helps meet kids’ nutritional needs for growing bodies and developing minds and boosts energy and mental performance.
Feature: DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid
Benefit: It provides a nutrient critical for development and function of the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.
Feature: Phosphatidylserine and Phosphatidylcholine (PS & PC)
Benefit: It supports healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning and cognitive function.
Feature: Grape seed extract, a powerful antioxidant
Benefit: It protects against cell-destroying free radicals.
Feature: Delicious vanilla or chocolate flavor
Benefit: Kids will love the creamy, healthy shakes filled with advanced nutrition to fuel their day.
A Note from Dr. Carl:
The bottom line is too many kids are eating too many calories for their sedentary lifestyles. And too many kids have out-of-balance diets that are not giving them the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
Children’s Health Month may come once a year, but every parent knows that the difficult task of caring for a child’s health is an everyday job. Reliv was built by families who recognize the superhuman effort it takes to raise healthy children. That’s why we created Reliv Now for Kids. It gives a big boost of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and protein and kids love the chocolate and vanilla flavors. It’s a win-win for parents and their children — your kids will thank you for it.
To your health,
Dr. Carl W. Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer
This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- October is Children’s Health Month http://breathedc.org/october-is-childrens-health-month/
- United States Healthful Food Council http://ushfc.org/about/#fancy-form-delay
- Youth & Cardiovascular Disease http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319577.pdf
- Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2013 http://www.thelancet.com/global-burden-of-disease
- Global report: Obesity bigger health crisis than hunger http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/13/health/global-burden-report/
- Child Obesity http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-trends/global-obesity-trends-in-children/#References
- Prevalence of Obesity and Trends in Body Mass Index Among US Children and Adolescents, 1999-2010 http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1104932
- Fed Up http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home
- Many U.S. Kids Eat Fast Food Every Day http://www.cbsnews.com/news/many-u-s-kids-eat-fast-food-every-day/
- Caloric Intake From Fast Food Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011–2012 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db213.htm
- Less Eating Out, Improved Diets, and More Family Meals in the Wake of the Great Recession http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2014-march/less-eating-out,-improved-diets,-and-more-family-meals-in-the-wake-of-the-great-recession.aspx#.VgMcJN9Viko
- How Eating At Home Can Save Your Life http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/01/07/how-eating-at-home-can-save-your-life/
- Hidden Hunger: Micronutrient Deficiencies Are Prevalent Among US Adolescents http://www.dsm.com/campaigns/talkingnutrition/en_US/talkingnutrition-dsm-com/2015/03/nutrient_deficiencies_among_US_adolescents.html