Monday, June 10, 2024

Save Our Black Children: Why and How?

September 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, News, Weekly Columns

( The saying goes, “Our children are our future”, but what if our children don’t outlive us? Frightening statistics tell the story. According to The American Obesity Association, 30% of kids ages 6-11 are overweight and 15% are obese, setting them up for increased risk for diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

More notably is that sleep apnea in children in fact may be even more prevalent in African Americans because obesity, a strong risk factor, tends to be more common in this group. This is disturbing because the numbers have increased by more than 120 percent among African Americans as compared to 50 percent among whites within a decade. So if they are suffering with these serious health challenges at age 11, will they be around to see 30, 40 or 20 even?

What is at the root of the problem? There are several root causes. Researchers at the Harvard school of public health have conducted studies showing increase in consumption of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages as one reason. They were able to determine its precise impact on children’s body weight.

Other causes include lack of physical activity, lack of parental guidance in this area, changes in what the schools are offering our kids for lunch. Also there are too many accessible vending machines, and of course eating too much fast food. They are not active enough during the day because a lot of the required physical education programs are being cut out, thus decreasing the amount of activity. Despite these facts, we are not powerless. Here are five steps to save our children:

1) Make sure they always eat a nutritious breakfast before going to school so their bodies are not in starvation mode, making them more prone to eat junk.

2) Pack them a lunch from home that includes all the food groups i.e. (whole grains, protein.

3) Have them engage in at least 1 hour of physical activity daily such as walking or running.

4) Get them involved in a program-There are some wonderful non-profit national and local organizations that educate the entire family on healthy living.

5) Parents we can up the ante by being a role model for the children. Children do as we do; not as “we say”. We teach them healthy eating habits by the way we eat and the way we live.

Too often, unhealthy eating habits are passed down generation to generation. We can reverse this ugly trend when we save ourselves – by saving our children!

Written By Makeisha Lee

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