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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Loving our Children to Disease

Loving our Children to Disease

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by Aya Fubara Eneli, M.A., J.D. AYA ENELI INTERNATIONAL

Our relationship with food begins in childhood. If I had a dollar for each time a person recounted a family tradition as the reason for how they view and relate to food today I would have a nice stash of cash. Given this truth, I must admit that it baffles me that the very same parents who so obviously love their children and want the best for them, could also rationalize that it is okay not to model healthier lifestyles and eating habits.

I realize that weight is a very sensitive issue; however, it doesn’t serve us as individuals or as a nation to ignore the impact our choices are having on the alarming obesity rates and the resulting health consequences.  Today, 2 out of every 3 adults are overweight and 1 out of 3 is obese. Amongst children, 1 out of 3 is overweight or obese and that trend is rising.

Since children (and everyone else as a matter of fact) learn more from what they see than just what is preached, in my mind, it stands to reason that all those parents who claim they cannot make healthier  food choices and cannot make the time to exercise must re-think their definition of love.

Here are some statistics regarding childhood obesity in America. Over 25 million kids in America are obese. More than 70% of these youth are at higher risk of heart diseases. Type 2 diabetes has reached to the levels of 8-9 %; a two-fold increase from the early 1980s. Obesity in children creates a higher risk of liver diseases, asthma and sleep apnea. Children with obesity have lower self-esteem, higher rates of depression and anxiety, lesser concentration levels and get tired easily. Obese children are prone to a lot more social discrimination which can cause them to become isolated and negatively impact their participation in various activities. They are also at the risk of developing arthritis early on in their lives. It is estimated that a family with an obese child spends 30% more in health costs and 77% more in medication costs.

Besides encouraging your child to have a personal relationship with God, I believe that the next best gift we can give our children is the gift of health. It goes without saying that it is so much harder to give or share a gift you don’t have in the first place. For this reason, I encourage all parents to re-examine their eating habits and lifestyle and ensure that they are modeling and supporting behavior that promotes health.
Shop the perimeters of the grocery store and limit processed food. Plan menus in advance and be sure to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand. Drastically limit deserts and sweets. Drink more water and limit juice to once a day. Eliminate soda; it has absolutely no nutritional value. Cook more of your meals at home. Consuming fast food and eating out frequently will definitely jeopardize your commitment to healthy eating. Limit computer and video games to the weekends and get you and your children moving for at least 20 minutes each day.

These may be tough changes for many of you. Bad habits die very hard deaths. However, there is no disputing that our children’s health and well-being is worth the sacrifice and the discipline it will take to unlearn our old habits and replace them with healthy options. Don’t go it alone. Seek help from your physician, a nutritionist, and a health or fitness center/gym. You have the power to impact the quality and length of your child’s life positively, why wouldn’t you? I wish you an abundant life.

 Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower and equip people to live up to their highest potential. Contact her today for a complimentary coaching session. For more information, visit www.ayaeneli.com, follow her on twitter @ayaeneli or e-mail her at info@ayaeneli.com.

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