It’s our national obsession. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We now live in a time where we’ve passed our weight obsession onto our children, rather than leaving them to get on with the very important business of just growing up.
A new study has found that 1 in 4 children are on a diet at any given time, with 1 in 7 being of ‘healthy’ weight.
We must all be hyper aware of the pressure our children are under trying to live up to unobtainable social media images like at no other time in history.
But my main concern is that our children’s bodies don’t support the stressors of modern life and that is also contributing to their poor mental health and the obesity crisis.
Obesity in children is still rising, albeit more slowly than in recent years. But mental health issues are rising far faster as is the prescribing of antidepressants to children.
Depression and anxiety are not just symptoms of mental issues but also symptoms of vitamin deficiencies. In particular deficiencies in vitamins D3 and B12 which are vital for maintaining good mental health. D3 deficiency is a product of not getting enough sun exposure. And B12 deficiency has come about with the misguided scaremongering of the dangers of red meat.
If a child has depression, then they are stuck in a negative cycle of not being able to contemplate participating in activities that they would enjoy. If their brain is not chemically balanced because they are malnourished from the 21st century food environment, then how can we expect them to lift their mood?
This generation is a product of the poor dietary choices of their parents who have been brought up in the 70’, 80’s and 90’s who themselves have been an experiment eating industrially processed foods. They are born malnourished!
We must also recognise that 95% of the feel-good hormone serotonin is manufactured in the gut and the carbohydrate, factory-made and chemical heavy UK diet is causing gut bacteria imbalance. If we allow children to have an overgrowth of sugar fed bacteria, we are doing them a nutritional disservice.
The brain is 60% fat and as such, if children were fed with foods high in natural fats their brains would be boosted with wellbeing.
I believe that the situation has been made worse with the introduction of the National Child Measurement Programme in 2006. To single out children for their height and weight has been catastrophic in my opinion. There are guidelines as to how much a child should weigh and what their calorie intake should be. But calorie counting and diet culture should not be a concern for children or anyone for that matter. It is creating stigma that will affect self-esteem for many years to come.
But if we overhauled the ridiculous advice from the current low fat, low protein, high carb guidelines to a focus on full fat real food, we could let children’s (and adults alike) bodies take care of themselves. They’d have brilliant energy levels (and therefore little need to spend time on social media ruminating on airbrushed imagery) and have natural body-weight balance.
I feel like I’m repeating myself here!