When I hear parents say things like, "my child will only eat chips or chicken nuggets," I am dismayed to think that their child has access to such rubbish daily. I am equally distressed when parents insist that their child will not eat healthier food choices like fruit and vegetables etc. In my experience, most children eat when they are hungry and it is parent's who choose what is available, not babies, toddlers and kids. Parents also decide what to consume in front of their children; where to take them to dine and what groceries to allow into their homes. If you want your child to get the maximum out of every aspect of their life, be a strong healthy role model and ensure that your child has access to a healthy diet every day. Educate your child to understand the benefits of eating correctly and the detriment of eating junk food.
Too many parents fail miserably when it comes to providing their children with a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. I am constantly shocked and disgusted when I shop at the supermarket and see the amount of flavoured sodas, potato chips, starchy sugary white breads and processed frozen foods in people’s trolleys. Even driving past fast food outlets and seeing people inside with their children makes me feel nauseous, (you may as well feed your kid the cardboard box their meal comes in; just add copious amounts of sugar, fat and salt). Junk food and fast food are not cheaper options than fruit and vegetables; especially when you to add the extra medical and dental bills for health issues associated with poor dietary decisions. Cakes, sweets and such 'party' foods aren't really necessary, however if your child has them on rare occasions, they will appreciate them more anyway.
Regardless of how many media articles feature the detriment of excess sugars, fat and additives to our diets, people see fit to have their fill of these empty artery hardening calories. They make up excuses that are not remotely plausible and many of them blame external influences for their choices. It is one thing to deny yourself an adequately nutritional diet, however to role model such disgraceful eating habits to your child is worse. It is arguably criminal, (yes, some countries are considering legislation regarding obesity etc) to continually provide junk food to your children. Our kids are not garbage compactors, they are little people who have living cells, arteries, muscles, bones and brains that require nutritious fuel to enable them to reach their full potential physically and mentally.
In an article I wrote called Global Guardians - Protecting All Children a while ago, I summarised some of my basic ideas on child negligence. “Neglect: This can be the failure to provide basic necessities, for example: Adequate care; safe environment, appropriate shelter, nutritional food, educational opportunities medical care, and emotional support, are some examples. It also includes failure to leave a child in the supervision of safe adults, and abandonment.”
It is not only neglectful of parents to make the choices that lead to this disease amongst children; it is abusive and child protection agencies are beginning to recognise it as such. Even if your child does not look fat, if you are constantly letting them eat fatty, sugary processed foods, they aren't going to be in the peak of health. No child would choose to be over weight, ridiculed, weak, sleepy, hyper-active, diabetic, die young or any of the other side effects of malnutrition from a diet of junky fat and sugary food and drinks. How could a parent who claims to love their child make that choice for them and get away with it? Governments should not have to make legislation, or foot the bill for the medical strain poor parenting decisions have on the health of our population. It is up to parents, guardians and other role models in our children’s lives to step and be accountable for the ongoing health and happiness of ours and future generations. For help with this, see Yummy Healthy Tummy - Kids Healthy Eating Guide.
© 2010 Luisa Foliaki – Proud Mumma of MicroMe & MissyMe
Further reading on this topic:
Yummy Healthy Tummy - YummyHealthyTummy.com
Nutrition and The Brain - Neuroscience For Kids
Child Obesity and Abuse - AMA Doctors4Health
Wallet vs Waist: Fast-food Cost Per Calorie - MSN SmartMoney
Obesity and Related Illnesses - Free Online Health