”Baby Fat” Forever
A couple of years ago I went to Italy on holiday. I spent 10 days in a beautiful little city called Vieste. I remember losing myself through the narrow street when I saw a beautiful Italian woman pushing a stroller with a boy that appeared to be about 5 years old. The boy seemed to be healthy, nothing visible that would affect his walking. I gave the woman a sympathetic look to which she responded with a confused stare. As I continued my walk I encountered another stroller that was seating a little girl that seemed about the same age… Poor kids I thought to myself… But the third stroller made me realize… WTF? These kids were healthy! Their parents decided to spare them from walking although they were at an age they could run circles around them. Everywhere in Italy I found the same thing and I was outraged. What happened to the days children got exercise and ate well?
Parents love their children more than anything in the world. They would do anything to protect them and ensure they’ll be healthy and have a good life, yet they neglect such basic principles. In a child’s early years, his body is developing. He’ll never be able to reach his full potential if the foundation isn’t laid right. And it’s not just physically he’ll be affected. Neurons and connections in his brain develop in the first three years of life. How is his brain supposed to develop right if he’s not getting the right nutrients? He might go to the best schools and have the best teachers but he won’t learn as easily as a healthy child.
We see our kids getting fatter and fatter and we say it’s baby weight. Well, it is baby weight. But only for babies! We spare our children from dangerous sports and physical activities because we want to protect them, but instead we leave them unable to ever practice a sport, to ever run without gasping for air… isn’t that sad?
We blame genetics for everything that goes wrong; we say the weak immune system is to blame; and let’s not forget the hostile environment excuse…. But let’s get real! Why is the immune system lacking in the first place? What 4 year old kid has cellulite because of his genes? They surely play their part, but bad nutrition and lack of exercise is to blame for this one!
I look around and I see kids developing asthma at such an early age… 12 year olds are having heart attacks and let’s not forget diabetes… In my opinion, neglecting a child’s health is like setting him up for failure. You want him to be strong, yet you’re preparing him for a life of weakness, you’re shielding him from the environment he’ll be thrown into, you’re condemning him to a life of pills and drugs.
Where did all the good habits go? When did parents replace fruits with sweets? That’s like writing ‘currently awaiting diabetes’ on the kid’s forehead. When did they start drinking sodas? We forbid them to see R-rated movies, but we give them sodas with aspartame that is linked to bad brain development, bladder cancer and so on… Is it just me or is this a bit hypocritical? But forget the cancer, obesity or other life threatening conditions. Why are sweet bad? Because they ruin teeth… This just makes me want to cry….
When did children start needing chocolate, ice cream and cake? Why did they start demanding Coca-Cola or decide that playing outside is too tiring? I know it’s hard to refuse a child if he’s asking for a particular food, but he won’t need it if he doesn’t get it in the first place…
I grew up eating fruits, salads and lean protein. Yes, I had the occasional chocolate, but look at me now… I grew up enjoying these foods and I still do. I do eat the occasional fast food, but I love a raw crunchy salad, apples and carrots make my mouth water and I can’t go a day without eating some lean protein. And sports…? I might have had a tough time every now and then but I grew up strong and beautiful and now I’m capable of anything. Now I’m addicted to sports and I can’t see my life any other way.
You see, you don’t just influence your kid’s physical development in his early years… You plant the seed for all his future habits. So how do you want him to grow up?