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  1. #1
    Satisfy's Avatar
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    Lightbulb why we need to educate children!

    Primal Fuel
    Hi,

    My names Anton and I'm writing to you because i feel i can add value and want some feedback on the growing obesity epidemic of our children. I know we can blame parents and blame fast food outlets but i do not want to do this. I do not blame parents of the children because it is out of the children's control, if a parent has grown up with bad eating habits it is only natural that this is passed on to the child. I do not want to blame fast food outlets because they are a multi-million dollar organization and have devised clever advertisement and funds into making the public believe their food is not that bad. I know it's bad but it's to big of a beast to combat and out of my control!

    I want to know if there is a way we can educate the kids in a classroom setting. I have taken nutrition into my own hands and surpassed my parents and a lot of people i meet in healthy eating. This could be as simple as not eating white bread! I like to believe that education can help children make the right decision in life. I do not think their helpless and i think more pressure should be put on them to take responsibility for their health. I know kids are smart, most times smarter than adults.

    The same old advice is given over and over and that is to eat more fruits and vegetables. What i would like to know is:
    -Do these children recognize the fruit/vegetable looks like?
    -Do they know the health benefits of the fruit/vegetable?
    -Do they know why they shouldn't eat hamburgers and processed meat?
    -Have they been shown how to prepare and cook their food themselves?
    -Do they know what causes obesity and diabetes?

    For me to pose these questions on a child is something i have no shame in doing. We live in a world where the temptation of bad food is everywhere. These questions are not hard for a child to understand. Education is the key and its vital to provide the opportunity for children to learn about healthy nutrition.

    I do not believe in diets however i do believe in lifestyle choices. If we replace a bad food eating habit with a good food eating habit then we have just fixed a problem. I feel guilty inside when i think about how a 10 year old child is diagnosed with diabetes. Surely it's impossible for them to understand how this has happened, and when they find out I'm sure they will be frustrated at the world.

    If i could prevent one child from becoming obese. If i could make one child become aware of what they are putting into their bodies. If i could make one child decide to take responsibility for their own health and ignore the mass of people eating fried chips. That would be the greatest gift we could offer.

    I have not bothered preaching advice on healthy eating and tips because there is so many resources out there it's a giant ocean of information! What i wanted to entice out of you is that it is our responsibility to give our children the knowledge to combat the bad influences. This is a world where we have a choice and we need to educate our children on how to make the right decisions.

    I've heard of times when school cafeterias only had brown bread and they needed a note from their parent to receive white. I've heard of times when TV did not exist and kids socialized and played outside more. Well times have changed and I'm not one to sit back and complain. I'm here to adapt and evolve and move forward. I'm here to tell you that we should be making a stand against the disease & epidemic of society and teach our kids how to remain healthy throughout their whole life.

    It is rare for a person to live to old age (80years) and have great health. They always have similar advice that we can follow. I'm sure they told their friends at the time to not smoke and not eat from fast food outlets, now their dead though so that person got the last say on the matter. One of the best things to take from this is that prevention is the best medicine. We cannot live the mentality any longer that going to the doctor after a lifetime of abuse and taking some pills is going to cure a problems. We cannot believe that technology is going to cure our worst diseases. If we had prevented them in the first place this would of never happened.

    People always tell me the world is getting faster and to not rush. I don't know what to say on the matter. I also have people telling me how much the weather is changing and how strange it is. For me to listen to these people and agree is something i certainly cannot do. Sure i can agree but i cannot just sit their and complain with them, jump into their shoes. What i do instead is acknowledge their perspective and then move on. You can only fix things in your control at the time and one of them is to realize that sitting their talking about how everything is bad is not one of them.

    I can only do so much on this planet with my time. There is so many issues out there for examples:

    -global warming
    -wars
    -con-artists
    -corruption
    -motor vehicle accidents
    -diseases
    -over population

    If i had to invest my time into one thing then it would have to be health. To help people live longer and then contribute to this world in a better way would be great. I believe the place to start is with our children and setting them on the right track to have healthy lifestyle choices until the day they die. Once we have health settled and taken care of then we can take on problems. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes i sit back and think their is so much to the problem it cannot be fixed. For me to be thinking this and for me to be taking action means there will be people out there just like me. It's now up to me to cross paths with them and help in any way possible.

    I don't have any kids, I'm 21 years old. I'm healthy and took life into my own hands at an early age. I have no interest in having kids anytime soon. I do however have interest in adding value to society in anyway possible. I'm passionate about helping people and i think health should be a priority in every bodies life. To me this means educating children while their young so they don't end up obese at 18 and unable to climb out of their deep seated bad eating habits.

    In regard to feed back i really want to know what you guys think about all the thoughts i have. I also want to know if theirs anyway to further my path in this area. A first step could be to introduce cooking & nutrition classes into public schools though i don't know how to tackle this. In reality I'm just the minority and people with think I'm crazy if i said don't give your kids white bread.

  2. #2
    Lewis's Avatar
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    In regard to feed back i really want to know what you guys think about all the thoughts i have.
    There's such a lot there ...

    I'll take one comment and say how it struck me:

    I feel guilty inside when i think about how a 10 year old child is diagnosed with diabetes. Surely it's impossible for them to understand how this has happened, and when they find out I'm sure they will be frustrated at the world.
    If you really do ... well, you shouldn't. It's not your fault. Arguably, it is the fault of mainstream health education, medicine, etc. For the most part, that's simply because the answers were there and no one thought enough, researched enough -- did the work -- that would have told them that their "health education" advice was part of the problem. The answers were out there; the ethnographic data pointed in a different way; earlier responses pointed in a different way; but people didn't know, because they didn't look closely enoigh and broadly enough. They were lazy.

    Some are more culpable than that, of course -- the pharmaceutical companies that chose to pretend that their products were the answer when they must have realized that really they weren't.

    But in any case, it's not your fault.

    Is our age uniquely awful in terms of rates of sickness and early death anyway? No. A couple of hundred years ago you might have been lucky to make it out of infancy. In the tenth century even a king could probably expect to expire around fifty.

    That doesn't mean you should stop trying to make things better. And it doesn't mean that our age doesn't face some peculiar problems that earlier ones didn't. But the problems aren't necessarily worse than in the past -- and certainly no reason for despair -- they're just different.

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    The same old advice is given over and over and that is to eat more fruits and vegetables. What i would like to know is:
    -Do these children recognize the fruit/vegetable looks like?
    -Do they know the health benefits of the fruit/vegetable?
    -Do they know why they shouldn't eat hamburgers and processed meat?
    -Have they been shown how to prepare and cook their food themselves?
    -Do they know what causes obesity and diabetes?

    Most schools used to have Home Ec classes. Kids would learn how to sew and cook. Schools have gotten rid of these classes and now do computer technology. They do still require health classes in most areas, but if the kids don't know how to cook then they probably don't have any idea of what to do with good food when they get it. Chances are, if the parents are not showing them how to cook healthy, the parents are also not watching cooking shows on TV that would teach them how to cook better. (I am thinking of stations like PBS, or Create, which are free.)

    As to what causes diabetes, well, that is up to debate. They probably learn conventional wisdom, which according to this community is all backwards.

    If you want to help kids, find a group of middle school kids. Give them the Primal Blue Print book, and tell them that they can use the data in that book to argue with their health teacher. My 13 year old daughter read it this summer and is a convert.

  4. #4
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    Oh, getting Home Ec back will be difficult due to liability issues. There is the possibility a kid could cut him/herself. Or burn themself. Also, most schools no longer even cook lunch on campus - it is delivered, and they aren't even allowed to have stuff that can't be eaten raw. So no meat, no egg and such.

    If you have a Boys and Girls Club in your area you might want to check them out and see if the director would be willing for you to lead some cooking classes or such after school. B&GC has a membership fee of about $20 a year, and is very affordable for most families. They have scholarships for kids who can't afford. I think you probably would be hitting the target kids that you want.

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    Chiming in as a former teacher here...

    Quote Originally Posted by Satisfy View Post
    The same old advice is given over and over and that is to eat more fruits and vegetables. What i would like to know is:
    -Do these children recognize the fruit/vegetable looks like?
    -Do they know the health benefits of the fruit/vegetable?
    -Do they know why they shouldn't eat hamburgers and processed meat?
    -Have they been shown how to prepare and cook their food themselves?
    -Do they know what causes obesity and diabetes?
    Yes, they know. At least the kids I worked with, once they reached a certain age (that coincidentally being the age at which they're usually able to start making dietary decisions for themselves, buying lunches and snacks, expressing preferences to parents, etc), they know all of this. There are two problems that come into play, though and I saw them both teaching at two different schools:

    1) They can't afford healthy food. There are literally people who cannot afford fruits and vegetables. They have EZ-mac for dinner every night, or the free pizzas or KFC their older brother brings home from the part-time-job he's working to support his parents and siblings. It's not that they don't know how eat healthy, it's that they've got enough to worry about just trying to eat enough.

    2) They don't care. Yes, my middle schoolers all knew that those Monster energy drinks they bought on their lunch breaks at the corner store were bad for them. They knew that sugar and junk food cause major health problems. But kids that age are naturally very focused on the moment. It's not giving them diabetes now, so they figure they can live on the edge while they're young and start eating right later (and if it is giving them diabetes, they're hiding it from everyone so they won't be made fun of). What we need to educate them about, what has a better chance of getting through to them, is the immediate health effects of their dietary choices.

    Case in point: A student has ADHD and is allergic to red dye. When he has anything with red 40 in it, his ADHD symptoms get way worse, and he becomes belligerent and argumentative. When the message he receives from the adults around him is, "Here kid, have a pill," he dutifully takes his pill and makes bad choices (and still goes haywire, and gets new pills, etc, etc). When the message he receives from adults is, "You know you're happier, calmer and get along better with everyone when you don't eat Doritos," he actually makes good choices and has a better time!

    So yes, we need to educate kids about diet. But in order to do so, we need to figure out what's important to them (not what we think should be important to them) and tailor our message accordingly. And we need to make sure kids have access to healthful foods in the first place.

    And I'd maybe add a third thing: All of the kids I knew who started smoking in middle school or high school KNEW that it was bad for them - that it would, in fact kill them. But the common thread was that their parents smoked. You can educate kids until the cows come home, but if they see their parents making bad decisions, those decisions become acceptable to them, even if they know better.

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    I applaud you for wanting to make a difference. I believe you feelings of responsibility/guilt are not your's to have. You could become a nutrition teacher, but you have to teach what the USDA says to teach. So, you would be teaching and encouraging the Standard American Diet, which is heavy on processed foods, the same ones that are making the children fat in the first place.

    You could become a PE coach, unfortunately PE has been altered, so there isn't enough time to teach health and fitness, rally against bullying, get students in "touch" with their feelings, and then of course, run off to teach a math class later.

    Our school systems are broken, and good money is thrown in after bad. It's what we got, but it ain't great.

    You want to tackle so much, some real problems, some not so real. Be a good example to others. Help where you can.

    Good luck, Anton.

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    jo's Avatar
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    All I can do is report on things I have seen in schools.

    At one school I went to a group of children were taken along to the local supermarket. They learned about what fruit and vegetables were and then were set a task to dicover how many teaspoons of sugar were in a range of grocery items. The kids were amazed at how much sugar was in some things.

    My mum is a Principal at a school in a very poor area. We don't have school meals here in NZ, so the kids get to eat what their parents give them. Sometimes this is NOTHING. If parents are sending kids to school with no lunch, and probably no breakfast, what do you think dinner looks like!! Anyway, my mum's school gets sponsorship from a company to provide free breakfasts. She has banned junk food from the school shop (many kids are sent with money) but she can't control the shops that are off school property. Kids come into school with a packet of biscuits and a litre bottle of sugary pop for lunch. Some parents are just poor, but many of these are extremely poorly educated, and some are on drugs or alcohol.

    A colleague who developed type 2 has tried to educate his teen kids, but they just won't listen. They buy sugary soft drinks and he says 'do you want to end up like me?' The problem with teens is that they don't think they will get fat and sick!

    Well there's some food for thought anyway. I hope you really can make a difference.

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    Thanks for the replies guys! It's really interesting for me to hear your perspectives. I just recently had a look at university courses and found one called 'health promotion in society'. This is a four year course and would give me a degree. It would teach me nutrition and how to promote health and have a lot of real experience opportunities. From there i can specialize! It's exciting for me, it's good being in Australia because you get a lot of opportunities.

    As far as i'm concerned everything i'm doing is with good intentions and for the better. All i can do is stay strong, positive and try. 'Sasha the cat' I like how your thinking. We need to improve our teaching techniques so that just means trial-and-error by trying different strategies. The great thing about the internet for me is that it can give you the cream of the crop on any subject which is absolutely gold!

    Have a Merry Christmas
    -safe is the new risky

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha the Cat View Post
    1) They can't afford healthy food. There are literally people who cannot afford fruits and vegetables. They have EZ-mac for dinner every night, or the free pizzas or KFC their older brother brings home from the part-time-job he's working to support his parents and siblings. It's not that they don't know how eat healthy, it's that they've got enough to worry about just trying to eat enough.
    I don't mean to be argumentative, but I don't think this is true. Or, at least, it's not the cause of obesity.

    It is easy to make this argument in, say, the East side of Cleveland. Drive around those streets and it's easy to say "Oh, look at all the Burger Kings! Notice that there are no supermarkets!" and then make policies about 'food deserts" and blame that for obesity.

    Here in south Florida I do my produce shopping at a store that caters to the immigrant population. It's the type of place where the signs that are in English still require some translation. Over two-thirds of this store is straight-up fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes they have bags of baby carrots, but other than that it is all loose, and all dirt cheap. 20 limes for $1 cheap. I sometimes (stupidly) shop there on the weekend when there are large families all together doing the grocery shopping. The families with the grossly overweight kids have as much fruits and veggies in their cart as "normal" families in the expensive "white" grocery stores. This store also sells meat by the family pack (also rather cheap, though I don't buy my meat there), and other staples. The "staples" in this store are large cans of tinned legumes, Lard (the hydrogenated kind) in 5-gallon buckets, "fruit" drinks (I thought Sunny-D ceased to exist, but then I realized they just changed their market), and vegetable oil by the gallon. Low quality UP dairy is also common, both refrigerated and canned.

    Another argument is that poor kids don't have access to playgrounds and outdoor activities. But after shopping at this market on a recent weekend day, I went down the street with my son to an extensive public playground, which was absolutely packed with families from the same communities that were also at the grocery store. The same percentage of kids there were also overweight.

    So, in south Florida at least, poor communities do have access to fresh fruits and veggies at a low affordable price, and they also have access to public playgrounds, and use them. But they still evidence a great amount of overweight people, both adults and children.

    So, why? If it's not the access to fruit&veg and playgrounds, then what is it?

    Is it the tendency to fry everything in their cuisine, and now they are frying in corn oil or hydrogenated lard?

    Is it the lack of quality dairy products?

    Is it because of an overconsumption of sugary "fruit" drinks?

    It's easy to blame an absence, because then we can try to fill it. It's harder to blame ourselves and our own over-production of inferior protein sources and unhealthy corn products.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahW View Post
    So, why? If it's not the access to fruit&veg and playgrounds, then what is it?

    Is it the tendency to fry everything in their cuisine, and now they are frying in corn oil or hydrogenated lard?

    Is it the lack of quality dairy products?

    Is it because of an overconsumption of sugary "fruit" drinks?

    It's easy to blame an absence, because then we can try to fill it. It's harder to blame ourselves and our own over-production of inferior protein sources and unhealthy corn products.
    You're right, lack of access to healthy foods is not the cause of obesity, even among financially disadvantaged populations. And all of the things you mentioned are big, important contributing factors.

    But it really is an issue. Yes, you can stock up on healthy food for much cheaper than a lot of us realize. But I'm not talking, "We eat at McDonald's because we can only afford their dollar menu." That argument really doesn't hold water. I'm talking, "We eat at McDonald's because I'm disabled, can't work and my son got a job there so that he could bring us home free food." I'm talking, "We're having EZ Mac for dinner tonight because that's what they had at the food bank." Not everyone who lives in a "poor neighborhood" is in such dire straights, but a shocking number of children are.

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