Teaching Healthy Choice Habits to Our Children

 Teaching Healthy Choice Habits to Our Children

“A nation is only as healthy as its children.” Harry Truman (1946)


Over the last century, the primary burden of disease in children and young people has shifted from infectious diseases towards chronic conditions. Up to twenty million children and adolescents in the United States have some form of chronic illness or disability. Chronic refers to a health condition that lasts anywhere from three months to a lifetime.

The state of health among U.S. children does not reflect the standard of health expected for a child living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. According to a 2010 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, chronic illnesses in children doubled from 12.8 percent in 1994 to 26.6 percent in 2006. This alarming trend confirms an earlier Harvard study that found U.S. children were sicker today than their parent’s generation. It has been said that babies being born today are the first generation of children whose life expectancy is less than that of their parents.

The "big three" chronic health conditions for kids are obesity, which affected 5 percent of American children in the early 1970s but 18 percent of children today; asthma 10% percent prevalence, nearly double from the 1980s, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, an increase of 43 percent in the last 15 years.

The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) are obese. Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social, and emotional health. For example:

  • Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases that impact physical health, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease.
  • Children with obesity are bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers and are more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
  • In the long term, childhood obesity also is associated with having obesity as an adult, which is linked to serious conditions and diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and several types of cancer.

Childhood diabetes is one of the prime results of rising obesity rates, which in turn result from more sedentary behaviors and poor diets.

it is estimated that children with serious, complex chronic conditions account for 10% of admissions, but 41% of hospital charges in the United States.

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In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a comprehensive study that suggests more than 33% of diseases affecting children under the age of five are caused by environmental exposures, and that by preventing these exposures, as many as four million children’s lives a year worldwide could be saved. 

“The environment plays a role in 85% of all diseases. New science is showing that the effects of exposure to chemicals at low doses, and in combination, can have an impact on human growth and development.” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

The Self Care Awakening is about reducing our body burden of environmental toxins, staying well hydrated with clean healthy water, quality  sleep and maintaining a healthy weight. These are sound principles and vital to good health regardless of our age.  Teaching healthy choice habits to our children can be one of the most important things we can do as parents.

Be Healthy by Choice, not by Chance.