CHILDREN ARE GETTING FATTER
Like every child in the USSR, I went to kindergarten, where I had to choke down porridge and fish oil. Now (and again like everyone else), I live in another era and country. Yet with all my love for this new country, I can’t say that I’m happy about some of the data I’ve found.
Despite the fact that we already know about the uselessness of industrially processed foods, things have changed for the worse. Obesity is growing. 40 years ago, 1 child out of 40 was overweight. Now, it is 10 out of every 40. High-fructose corn syrup has become ubiquitous and diabetes rates have tripled, so the first time in many years the life expectancy of Americans has shrunk. The reason is empty calories.
And there’s more surprising data. Three years ago, Cambridge University conducted a global study of the world’s healthiest diets. 9 out of the 10 countries with the healthiest food are in Africa (Chad, Sierra Leone, etc.), where greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains are the basis of home cooking, while in the States 60% of calories we consume are from processed foods, with only 1% from greens. But let’s not rush to use the African example, because they’re also experiencing a famine.
It is extremely important how children eat – bad habits tend to stick with a person their whole life, paving the way for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Getting the feeling that the attitude in Western countries toward fast food is changing, the companies that manufacture it are moving to countries that aren’t as educated about it. Everyone remembers the famously long line at the first McDonald’s in Moscow (late 1980s?), which far exceeded the line to Lenin’s mausoleum, but now they’re already in the know. And in India, for example, it’s a paradox – outside of Mumbai, a semi-poor family eats healthier foods (and homecooked) than the middle-class family in the city, where a Domino’s pizza costs $13… a whole 3 times more than the father of the poor family makes in a day.
The moral of the story: try to prepare your food at home and teach your children to enjoy “slow”, homecooked meals, weaning them off fast-food. And don’t forget to bring them to the ophthalmologist once a year.
Photo by Niklas Rhöse on Unsplash