July not only marks the month of America's birthday, but it also holds the title of National Make a Difference to Children Month. While we are celebrating and coming together with our families, it is very important to realize that not every child is fortunate enough to have a fun, healthy and safe environment in which to live their lives. In fact, it is estimated that every year, over 3 million children are victims of violence, and that is only what is reported. Children are special beings, full of imagination and spark that absorb notions about life from the world around them. Because the future of America lies in their hands, it is extremely important, this month especially, that we put a strong focus on this issue. Most parents seek to protect and provide for their children, yet somehow we are failing to give our children basic good health, one of the greatest needs of all.
As a health educator, mother of five and grandmother of twelve, so far; I know how difficult it can be sometimes to make sure our children are getting the nutrients they need to keep their bodies and minds healthy and fit. We live in a very toxic food environment. We are consuming too much of the wrong foods, larger portions or super-sizing, high consumption of fast foods, and it's not only causing obesity rates to soar, but causing malnutrition among our children, and our society. This malnutrition affects their learning and behavior. How can it be that we are the richest society in the world and yet we are malnourished?
The following statistics were obtained from various professional and medical groups such as the American Medical Association, National Institute of Health, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association to name just a few. Cancer kills more children than any other disease. Childhood cancer has risen over ten percent in the past decade with leukemia being number one. Among children beyond the newborn age group, cancer is second only to trauma as a cause of death. A study out of the University of California Medical Center in July 2002 found that children who ate more than 12 hotdogs a month had a nine to ten times greater risk of getting leukemia. And what preservative is in hot dogs???
By age three, children have fatty deposits in their arteries. By age twelve, 70 percent have developed beginning stages of hardening of the arteries and early stages of heart disease are found in virtually all young adults by age 21. According to a government report, one to three percent of the nation's children and adolescents are among the 50 million Americans who have hypertension. The report recommends that screenings begin at age three not only for hypertension but for cholesterol.
One in four children is obese. Obesity has doubled in the last 20 years. Nearly 50 percent of obese adolescents remain obese as adults. National studies have indicated that about 30 percent of American children are overweight or obese. Obese children spend more time in the hospital. Increasingly, we are hearing reports of children, especially obese children, being diagnosed with conditions once thought to be associated with middle age such as Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, problems with their hip, knee and ankle joints.
In the last 20 years Type II Diabetes has increased ten-fold. The Children's Center at the Texas Diabetes Institute in San Antonio has seen Type II diabetes show up in children as young as five years old. Over eight million children have asthma, up 232 percent in the last 40 years. Asthma deaths among children and young people have increased by 118 percent since 1980. Asthma is now the leading cause of hospital admissions for children.
There has been an increase in children's learning disabilities, attention deficit and other behavioral disorders. Seven percent of school age children are diagnosed as ADD/ADHD. It's a new American epidemic. Three to five million children have it and over 80 percent of these children are medicated. The drug companies made over $450 million net profit last year from these children alone.
For the purpose of the next few articles, I will focus on the malnutrition side of obesity, behavior disorders, and various disease processes. A great pediatrician once stated, "If we are at all serious about prolonging life and lowering our high death rates, the place to start is not after these lethal diseases strike, in middle or old age, but ... when our children are young". Right now are they old before they're young. Dr. David Katz, MD of Yale University says that we are seeing the first generation in which parents will likely outlive their children. Let’s “make a difference” and reverse this sad trend.
Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maryellajuiceplus.com