Teach your children

One message reinforced at the ArCOP immersion training I attended yesterday and today is that it’s time to teach our children well about the dangers of obesity, an improper diet and lack of exercise. Sadly, children born in the 2000s are the first generation of kids who probably have shorter life expectancies than their parents. 

If you don’t know that, I hope it shocks you, shocks you into doing something, because it is avoidable. Lack of exercise, eating too much and eating the wrong things is taking a toll on our nation, but particularly on our children.

Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes are showing up in elementary-age kids. As a grandmother and someone who cares about all children, that horrifies me. What’s even more horrific is this: A new study shows that Type Ii diabetes is resistant to treatment in children that young.

You can read about the study in the New York Times, which I’ve linked here, but the crux of it is this: The disease progresses more rapidly in kids and is harder to treat, and an oral drug used to treat the disease stopped working in a few years in about half the kids in the study, who were aged 10 to 17.

Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity, in case you didn’t know. Before the 1990s, it just wasn’t seen in children.

But back to ArCOP. That stands for the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention. We aren’t winning in prevention so far, but it’s not for lack of enthusiasm, effort and good ideas, and ArCOP won’t go away. Check out the website; cool things are happening. It’s voluntary, too, so you can join, if you’re so moved.

One of the best things we got to do was see previews of HBO’s coming four-part documentary, The Weight of the Nation, which is compelling, well-researched and so important that HBO will be unlocked so any cable subscribers can watch it. (I assume that goes for satellite and Uverse as well, but can’t swear to it. Check with your providers.)

It premieres May 14 and 15. A companion book is already out, and, yes, I already ordered it. (Compulsive book buyer. Guilty.) You can like TWofaN on Facebook, if you’re a user, and get updates and useful info, too.

In a related note, I’ve been preaching about the dangers and general ickiness of high fructose corn syrup for years. Many people, even scientists, say, “sugar is sugar is sugar,” but it’s just not so.

My Biology of Aging professor, a former research scientist at NCTR, told us any corn syrup is linked to pancreatic cancer, and recently the Georgia Health Sciences University released the results of a study of 559 14- to 18-year-olds that shows that “evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat,” (Baker, Jan. 24, 2012).

Further, “heavy consumers of the mega-sweetener also tend to have lower levels of cardiovascular protectors such as such as HDL cholesterol and adiponectin, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University.”

Yes, fructose is fruit sugar – but wait! There’s more:

“Fructose itself is metabolized differently than other sugars and has some byproducts that are believed to be bad for us,” [Dr. Vanessa Bundy, an MCG pediatric resident who worked on the study] said. “The overall amount of fructose that is in high fructose corn syrup is not much different than the amount in table sugar but it’s believed there’s something in the syrup processing that plays a role in the bad byproducts of metabolism.”

If you’ve seen the documentary King Corn, you know that making high fructose corn syrup looks like what you might suspect making meth looks like. 

We don’t allow HFCS in our house.

I’ll get off my corn crate and stop preaching now, but, please, watch The Weight of the Nation, watch this amazing video that shows you the single best thing you can do for your health, (click here), and teach your children that broccoli is yummy and exercise is fun.

It’s a code you can live by.

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