According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between 1980 and 2002, the number of overweight adolescents tripled and the number of overweight preteens more than doubled. Long-term increased risks associated with childhood obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.
The term “childhood obesity” refers to a medical condition that affects children and adolescents. Experts say that young people who are overweight have a 70 percent chance of being overweight as adults.
Childhood obesity may be related to a number of factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, advertising campaigns directed at young people, and the availability and affordability of healthy foods. The U.S Centers for Disease Control says: “Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.”
Children, adolescents, and adults would do well to take a close look at their eating habits. Without going to extremes, a few simple measures can make a difference. Consider, for example, a young man named Kris, who found that adjusting his eating habits brought enormous benefits to his health and welling-being. “At one time I was a junk-food junkie,” Kris admits. I spoke with Kris to find out how he changed.
Question  WHEN DID YOUR PROBLEM WITH FOOD BEGIN?
When I graduated from high school. About that time, I began eating out a lot. There were two fast-food restaurants near the place where I worked, so I ate lunch at one or the other almost every day. I found it much easier to go to prepare my own food.
Question  WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU MOVED AWAY FROM HOME?
My eating habits got worse. I didn’t know how to cook, and I didn’t have much money; but my favorite fast-food restaurant was just two blocks away. Eating there seemed like the easiest and cheapest option. In addition to eating the wrong kind of food, I ate way too much food. I wasn’t satisfied with a standard fast-food meal. I ordered more French fries, a large soft drink, and an extra hamburger –whatever I could afford –in the largest size available.
Question  WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT FOR YOU?
When I was in my early 20’s I started thinking more serious about my health. I was overweight. I felt sluggish all the time, and I lacked self-confidence. I knew that I needed to make changes.
Question  HOW DID YOU GET YOUR EATING UNDER CONTROL?
I took a gradual approach. First, I reduced the amount of food I ate. I would tell myself, “This isn’t my last meal; I can always eat again.” At times I literally had to walk away from the dinner table. But I felt good afterward, as if I had won a victory.
Question  DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE ANY DRASTIC ADJUSTMENTS?
Some things I gave completely. For example, I eliminate soft drinks and drank only water. That was difficult. I loved soft drinks, and I hated water. After I drank a glass of water, I would take a couple of sips of juice, which put some flavor on my palate. After a while, water itself became more appealing.
Question  WHAT DID YOU DO BESIDES ELIMINATING UNHEALTHY FOODS?
I replaced them with better options. I started with fruits –apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and melons. I also added lean proteins to my diet, such as chicken or tuna. In time, those foods became some of my favorites. I try to eat more vegetables and less of the rest of the main course. I find that I’m less likely to overeat at mealtime if I have healthy snacks between meals. Over time, my craving for junk food has diminished.
Question  DID YOU I COMPLETELY GIVE UP EATING OUT?
No, I still do go out to eat occasionally. But when I do, I control how much I eat. If the portion I’m served is too big, I ask for a take-out box. Then I put half of the meal in the box before I start eating. That way, I consume a reasonable portion instead of eating more, simply because I feel guilty about leaving food on my plate.
Question  HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM THE ADJUSTMENTS YOU HAVE MADE?
I’ve lost weight, and I have more energy. I feel better about myself. Best of all, I’m happy to know that by taking care of my health, I’m honoring God who gave me the gift of life. I used to think that living a healthy lifestyle would be boring. But now that I’ve started to eat right, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
DIETARY FAT DULLS THE MIND
A fatty diet can clog your brain as well as your coronary arteries. To understand the effects of a high-fat diet on the brain, researchers in Canada; fed one-month-old rats a diet rich in either animal or vegetable fat until they were four months old.
A control group was fed a low-fat diet. Both groups were then given learning tasks. The results? The rats on the two high-fat diets performed much more poorly than the lean rats.
Researcher Gordon Winocur said: high-fat diets impair performance on virtually all our measures. It’s remarkable how impaired these animals are. According to the report, the researchers feel that;
Fat prevents the brain from taking up glucose, possibly by interfering with the action of insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar level.
People who on average spend six hours each day watching TV can expect to live 4.8 years less than those who no TV. Put another way, every hour of TV reduces a sedentary adult’s life expectancy by about 22 minutes.
THE BEST ADVICE: ENJOY A GOOD WALK
WEAR comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. For warmth, add layers that are easily shed. Use flexible, lightweight shoes with a cushioned low heel and roomy toe box. They should be somewhat larger than your usual dress shoe.
If you plan to walk for more than half an hour and there will be no drinking water on your route, you may want to take a light container of water with you. Warm up by walking at an easy pace for the first five minutes. Maintain an upright posture, keeping the elbows and knees slightly bent and hand cupped, not clenched.
After warming up, fall into a natural, brisk stride in which the heel of the foot strikes the ground first, rolling through the step to the toes. Flexible shoes are thus needed. Does all this sound like a lot to remember? Relax –most people walk this way naturally. Your pace should allow you to carry on a full conversation without getting breathless.
If you are new at walking, build up your time, distance, and speed gradually. Cool down by slowing your pace near the end of your walk. For those interested in burning calories, going from a 12-minute kilometer will use up 30 percent more calories per minute. Increasing the pace from a 9-minute kilometer to a 7-minute kilometer will burn up 50 percent more calories per minute.
Most fitness walkers cover a kilometer in about 7 to 9 minutes. It may be best to consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, or some other medical condition.
Nearly half of cancers diagnosed in the [United Kingdom] each year –over 130,000 in total –are caused by avoidable life choices including eating the wrong things, smoking, drinking, etc.