Children in preschool are suddenly the only age group showing an appreciable drop in obesity. From ages 2-5 years old, preschoolers are carrying less extra weight around their middles than ever before; 43 percent less in the past decade. All of the other age groups either stayed the same or increased in weight.
According to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, the consumption of too much sugar is the real culprit in the fight against obesity. Society is inundated with sugar. It is everywhere and in everything. Fructose has always been considered the best form of sweetener, and it is the primary sugar in fruit. It creates a low insulin response—as opposed to the type of fructose that sweetens most processed foods today— sodas, energy drinks, some juices, snacks, and even some canned goods. High Fructose Corn Syrup is a derivative of corn, not fruit.
This sweetener is highly fat-inducing as it converts quickly into either glucose or triglycerides in your system. When that happens, the body’s insulin response is triggered and that insulin begins storing fat. High triglycerides increases the threat of obesity, especially in children, as the amount of soda and sweets they consume is out of proportion to their body weight. These habits keep insulin working overtime, which can also predispose a child to Type 2 diabetes. It is a common sight to see young kids walking around with a can of soda in their hands. Combine that with a hamburger and fries, and you’ve got the makings of a weight bomb … not to mention the nightmare of bad food combining. That would explain the obesity issue with teenagers.
With preschoolers, it is the constant ingestion of candy and sweets that has created overweight problems in the young set. Children are like sponges, absorbing everything and anything around them. They have not learned how to maintain fitness or to know what foods are healthy or unhealthy. They eat what tastes good. If they are allowed to eat cake and ice cream for breakfast, they will consider that normal and proceed to enjoy it and want it often. Without being taught what is healthy, what is good for their bodies, they would always choose what they like best. That is normal for a child, especially those of preschool age. That is where the parents come in.
It is up to the parents to teach children from the day they begin eating real food what kind of meals and snacks are healthy, as opposed to foods that will make them fat. Early habits can prevent health issues as children mature into adolescents, then adults. In this new study of preschoolers, it was found that children who nursed as infants had less chance of becoming obese than those who were bottle fed from birth.
The other obvious element in warding off obesity is exercise. Preschoolers definitely have the upper hand there, as they have not yet learned all the bad habits that promote weight gain, and many pre-schools have exercise time and play time. Children in this age group actually enjoy exercising. They are taught how to stretch and jog in place, and they are being taught that daily exercise will keep them healthy. Developing these good habits early will help them mature into strong, healthy adults.
In this study, preschoolers rule in the fight against obesity, but the percentage of obese teens and adults in this country has not changed significantly. It is heartening to see the dedication of the first lady, Michelle Obama, to her healthy eating and active lifestyle program, which targets American children with the aspiration of showing them how to have a healthier, more energetic way of life.
By Christine Schlichte
New York Times