Junk Food: Just Stop It Already!

Junk Food: Just Stop It Already!

A study in the April 2006 edition of Pediatrics caught the national media’s attention, and for good reason. It reported that many young children are too heavy for standard car-safety seats, and manufacturers are starting to make heftier models to accommodate them. Based on national growth charts and the 2000 Census, at least 283,000 children ages 1 to 6 are too heavy for standard safety seats. That includes nearly 190,000, or almost 5 percent, of U.S. 3-year-olds. The research confirms the widening impact of today’s obesity epidemic.

While I typically focus my articles on fitness and exercise, I can’t think of obese children without the words “junk food” ringing in my head. “Junk food” has come to encompass foods that offer little in terms of nutrients, lots of calories from sugar or fat, and tend to be high in salt. We’re talking about high-sugar, low-fiber, and high-fat foods that attract us and our children like magnets and put enormous stress on our healing system. The big hitters include fried fast food, salted snack foods, carbonated beverages, candies, gum, and most sweet desserts—all of which are incessantly promoted to our kids on television and other media.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one-third of the average American’s diet is made up of junk foods. Because junk foods take the place of healthier foods, these same Americans are depending on the other two-thirds of their diet to get 100 percent of the recommended dietary intake of vitamins and nutrients. And you and I know that doesn’t happen.

Such patterns of eating have long-term, even life-threatening, health consequences, and they start with us as we pass along our junk foods to our kids in hefty model car seats. Just stop it already! If you have any question about the nutritional value of a food, judge it by the Nutrition Facts label found on packages. If sugar, fat, or salt show up as one of the first three ingredients, get rid of it before it gets rid of you or your child.

About John e. Peterson:

JOHN PETERSON, internationally renowned strength and fitness coach and creator of the Transformetrics™ Training System, knows the painful reality of struggling to overcome physical adversity. At the age of four John was a victim of the dreaded disease polio, which left him with horribly misshapen legs that doctors were forced to break and reset—all without anesthesia for the ...

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