A random thought popped into my aging brain yesterday as I watched one of my students eat doughnuts for breakfast: We are providing job security for the medical profession, now and forever.
We say that our children are our greatest asset, yet we feed their little brains and bodies with the worst food we can buy.
We say that we care about our children more than life itself, and yet we shorten their lives by giving them junk food.
We say that we are promoting healthy eating at school, and yet corn dogs are still on the menu.
We say we want our children to have a brighter future, and yet we teach them the mistakes of our past.
I don’t know a single adult who isn’t aware of the fact that the sodas, chips, “chicken” nuggets, fast food burgers, candy, and the like are not healthy foods. Many will tell you that they only allow their children to eat those foods occasionally. That’s mostly a lie we tell ourselves for our own benefit. It helps us feel less guilty. And I did say “we”, although my children are long past the stage when I have any influence over what they eat. I can also plead a bit more ignorance of the consequences of feeding them junk, since much of that research was done after they were grown. However, there were some things they routinely ate as children that I knew they shouldn’t have eaten.
Parents will tell you that their children are “picky eaters” when in fact they are just exploring the world of food and making decisions about what they like and dislike. It’s a process that alarms adults and so they either insist that their children eat whatever they have offered them or try to make their children “happy” by letting them eat only what they want. After all, they might starve! (Been there, made both mistakes!) Most are addicted to sweets and junk by the time they reach school age. And adults have only themselves to blame for that. No two-year-old child goes to McDonald’s on their own, yet that is the starting age for the fast food industry’s customer base. If they begin that early they are most likely to become life-long consumers, the ultimate goal of every fast food chain. Once they are addicted to the taste of greasy, salty, sugary processed food, real food seems boring and bland by comparison.
If you look around at any large group of children these days it doesn’t take long to notice that many of them are already overweight at very early ages. Many already have compromised immune systems and suffer from frequent bouts of illness. Many already have difficulty participating in sports and other activities. Blood sugar and blood pressure problems will likely be part of their future. As I said, job security for the medical profession.