Monday, September 04, 2006

Alert for Mothers and Grandmothers: Obesity Pandemic Threatens Lives of our Children

I don't normally post twice in a day. But, I just heard this statistic, which I personally found alarming. According to MSNBC:

"Among the most worrying problems are skyrocketing rates of obesity among children, which make them much more prone to chronic diseases as they grow older and could shave years off their lives, experts said.

The children in this generation may be the first in history to die before their parents because of health problems related to weight, Kate Steinbeck, an expert in children's health at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said in a statement."

(Does that statement take your breath away? It does mine!)

I saw the headline about the children as I was watching the news, so I looked up the original article. It stated that a study in Australia shows that obesity is a pandemic that will soon overburden health care systems around the world. Shockingly, "University, said there are now more overweight people in the world than the undernourished, who number about 600 million." That really surprises me.

Of course, the wealthiest countries lead the way in this epidemic, which the authors of the study link to both overeating and under exericisting. But, the poorer countries are catching up. (Here in the U.S. it's often talked about that the poor are high risk for obesity, because (1) Fresh, healthy foods are more expensive than junk food and (2) the poor often are afraid to let their children play outside in dangerous areas.)

As wives. moms, grandmothers, future wives and mothers, we have a profound impact on what is cooked and eaten within a family. Of course, our husbands are the ultimate leader here, and we should never get into the mode of trying to "mother" a husband into eating the way we think he should. But, we can offer healthy, deicious alternatives and humbly suggest family times together that invovle physical activity.

My children are quite slim. But, DH and I both need to fight our own personal campaign against being overweight examples to future grandchildren (And young people in the neighborhood and church).

I don't want to be an alarmist in any area. So, rather than looking at the negative, I'd like to look at this as a wake-up call for women around the world. With God's help, we can change this. But, it's going to take more than encouraging our families to diet. It's going to take developing a way of life that heps us to be strong and healthy. And, it involves finding ways to help the less fortunate in ways that promote, rather than undermine, their health.

I know that Plain and Simple over at Echo from the Green Hills just wrote a post about developing temperance in eating that generated a lot of helpful comments. I think there are a number of web sites, blogs, and posts out there which have discussed the same issue. And, there are some helpful books. One of my favorites is French Women Don't Get Fat, though I'm not sure that I agree with everything in the book.


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