I thought this would be an appropriate topic right after Halloween! Re-think your actions before you over-indulge in the bowl of candy..
Our bodies need sugar, but Americans are consuming WAY too much. Stick to non-processed foods as much as possible to avoid excessive sugars, even though this might be challenging! We are surrounded by processed foods through the media, in grocery stores, and in most of our own homes. We need to start nourishing our bodies and treating them right– not like garbage cans.
Sugar is hidden in unlikely foods, from salad dressing to crackers. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends most women get no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day. That’s about six teaspoons, or 100 calories. However, the average American woman eats about 18 daily teaspoons.
In the past four years, cereal brands have cut back on sugar, the milk industry recently lowered amounts in the chocolate milk served in schools, and Walmart is aiming for 10% less added sugar in select foods by 2015.
Sugar takes a devastating toll on your health. In fact, excessive sugar consumption may be the largest factor underlying obesity and chronic disease in America
The roots of chronic adult disease such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are based off of a person’s childhood developments. American children and adolescents have higher blood cholesterol levels and higher intakes of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol compared to other countries. Studies have shown that early coronary atherosclerosis begins in childhood and adolescence. Prevention of cardiovascular disease in children older than 2 years of age are the same for adults:
No more than 30% of calories from fat (10% or less from saturated fat, up to 10% from unsaturated fat and 10-15% from monounsaturated fat)
No more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day
Cholesterol screening is recommended for children with family risk factors
The American Heart Association have recommendations including:
A diet low in saturated fat and trans-fatty acids, increased fish intake, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and limited juice and sweetened beverages
60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily
No more than 35% of calories from fat
Osteoporosis prevention begins early by maximizing calcium retention and bone density during childhood and adolescence which is a time when bones are growing rapidly and are most sensitive to diet and exercise. Studies show that in order to reach the maximum calcium balance during puberty children may need to consume more than the recommended amount. Because food consumption surveys show that children are drinking more soft drinks and non-citrus juices and less milk, education is needed to encourage young people to consume the appropriate amount of calcium from food sources.
Education about fiber and disease prevention has been focused mainly on adults and only limited information is available on the intake of fiber for children. Fiber is needed for health and normal laxation in children. Most children are consuming less than the DRI, studies have shown. Education is needed to help increase fiber intake in children.
A decreased level of physical activity in children has also been a problem for decades and is seen as a big contributor toward obesity in children. School physical education programs have declined and generally decreases with age. Regular physical activity improves strength and endurance, enhances self-esteem, and reduces anxiety and stress. It’s been said that exercising for at least 60 minutes a day is recommended for children.
Mahan, L. Kathleen., and Sylvia Escott-Stump. Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2008. Print.