In the past few years we have all seen an alarming trend...We see America as a whole getting fatter, but what is more alarming is the rate and the age of the children that are considered to be obese.

Across the U.S. over 20 million adults and children have diabetes and the cost to our nation, as a whole, is greater than 132 billion dollars per year to treat this disease and its associated conditions.The average health care costs for a person with diabetes is almost 2 1/2 greater than someone who does not have this disease.

Over the last 30 years childhood obesity has increased over 100% and the rate of children diagnosed with Type II diabetes closely parallels this number. Type II diabetes is strongly associated with obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet. Diets that are low in fiber, high in sugar and fat. Refined sugars and refined carbohydrates are undeniably linked to the development of Type II diabetes. Think about what is in your pantry right now. That "vitamin fortified cereal" that your kids eat for breakfast...Look at the ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, refined flour a bunch of stuff you cant pronounce? How about that loaf of white bread or the so called "natural' snacks. Once again, I say LOOK AT THE INGREDIENTS! if you cant pronounce it, you probably shouldn't eat it.

The major problem is kids today do not get enough exercise and their diet is horrific. So many of the foods they eat are processed, refined and preserved, not just what they snack on or eat at home but their school lunches too. Lots of cheap empty calories and not much nutritional value. Add to that a sedentary lifestyle (video games) and you have the perfect recipe for a child who will suffer from obesity and possibly diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, etc. And I'm not just talking about having these conditions as an adult, we are seeing more and more kids with these conditions and some.......may not make it to adulthood. If they do, they will be plagued with increased healthcare costs, be more likely to have chronic illnesses and have an increased chance of emotional disorders or job discrimination due to the social stigma attached to being obese.

Now we have to ask ourselves, does my child fit this profile, is he or she overweight? What am I feeding my kids? Are my kids getting enough activity? If you see this trend in your kids. the time to act is now! Get them up and moving, at least an hour of physical activity a day, throw out the sodas and kool-aid, get rid of the sugary cereals, start shopping on the outside isle of the store (the fresh foods). Don't be fooled by the term "Natural" (high fructose corn syrup is natural). Have them eat fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, hormone free meat and fish. 6 small meals a day are better than 1 or 2 big meals. Eat an appropriate amount of calories based on your activity levels. You must eat to live, not live to eat, but you must eat good wholesome nutritional foods.

Save a child's life and lets help stop this trend.

Yours in health

Dr Joe