Obesity has reached global epidemic proportions with over 300 million people now classified as obese. Children are bearing the brunt of this and the epidemic is affecting men, women and children in both developing and non-developing countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates it’s possible that up to 22 million children aged 5 or under are overweight.
In the USA, the number of children aged 5-14 who were overweight has doubled within the past 30 years from 15 to 32%. This is no surprise given that more people are feeding their families inflammatory and processed foods than ever before. This includes breads, pastries, cereals, white rice, potatoes, pasta and dairy products amongst other foods.
Researchers have pointed out that all this junk food is damaging for our health in the long term. As junk food is so readily available in schools, this is one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity. The American Psychological Association has blamed advertising for this increase in childhood obesity with the emphasis being on promoting ‘junk’ instead of health promoting foods. 
Health promoting Really Healthy Foods consist of dark-skinned fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, grass-fed meats, fish and poultry, along with sprouted grains. All of these foods promote healthy development and can reduce the risk of disease later on in life.
Junk foods are everywhere and it’s about learning how to reeducate ourselves on health giving foods and their numerous benefits. Our children’s diets should be no exception.
Many women are aware of how important it is to feed their children healthy, life-promoting foods especially during pregnancy when it’s essential for supporting the health of your unborn child.
Research from The FASEB Journal in 2013 indicates how important a healthy diet is as pregnant mothers who ate junk food were found to have caused developmental changes in the brains of their unborn children. This caused significant changes within the opoid signaling pathways, causing decreased opoid sensitivity. The result of this was that the children were born less sensitive to the opoids after they were exposed to consuming processed and sugary foods. The babies from this research were born “addicted” to junk food and they needed to eat more to achieve the same rewarding sensation after eating. 
One study suggested that a processed food diet consumed in early childhood can lower IQ, while a diet rich in vitamins and minerals has the complete opposite effect. The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) conducted by researchers on close to 14,000 children discovered that a healthy diet leads to the highest IQ by the average age of 8.5 years old. 
Are You Ready To Improve Your Children’s Health?
Childhood obesity can be solved but it’s not an easy process. Junk food is everywhere and ultimately, it’s about knowing how to avoid it and go for healthier food choices. Changing dietary habits isn’t easy but if you want to reduce your children’s risk of disease in the future then you need to start by assessing their habits today.
Below are some health tips to get started:
1. Eating a healthy diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins is best for supporting brain development. This is known as the Anti-Junk Food Diet and is anti-inflammatory, therefore is of the utmost importance during pregnancy and the younger years – childhood and beyond.
2. A Really Healthy Foods™ diet may still be missing out on nutrients and for children this means receiving a full-spectrum of vitamins and minerals that can support your brain, behavioural and physical development at each stage of your life. Active Life contains 90 essential vitamins and minerals that can support overall health. These nutrients are best absorbed throughout the body with the aid of a powerful digestive support. Taking digestive enzymes such as Essential Digestive Plus can improve digestion and maintain gut health. When children take a daily probiotic it strengthens their gut barrier, providing natural resistance to infection, food allergies, sensitivities and any chronic inflammation that contributes to disease.
3. Get Moving. Daily activity in the form of exercise is important to decrease the risk of certain lifestyle conditions. Physical inactivity is one of the top risk factors for coronary artery disease and this increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke amongst other lifestyle conditions. Teaching your children healthy habits from a young age is important, especially making exercise a part of your daily life. Walking after dinner each night is a great way to relax and reconnect with nature, while reaping various health, physical and psychological benefits.
Getting healthy in the long term means following a diet consistently and choosing to make better choices on a daily basis. By making these simple changes at home, you can give your kids a priceless gift of a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life.
1. American Psychological Association (2004). Report of the APA task force on advertising and children. Washington, DC: Author.
2. J. R. Gugusheff, Z. Y. Ong, B. S. Muhlhausler. A maternal “junk-food” diet reduces sensitivity to the opioid antagonist naloxone in offspring postweaning. The FASEB Journal, 2012; DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-217653
3. K. Northstone, C. Joinson, P. Emmett, A. Ness, T. Paus. Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2011; DOI: 10.1136/jech.2010.111955