It is an epidemic of huge proportion to the U.S. and the rest of the world. The health of our young is at an all time low and the statistics, no matter where they come from, are truly staggering. Some believe that this could be the first generation in American histor to live shorter lives. To highlight just a few facts:
- 70% of obese youth have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease
- 2,600,000 people each year die as a result of being overweight or obese
- 42,000,000 children under the age of 5 are overweight. Did you get that, over 42 million children!
- Low-income, preschool-aged children between 1998-2008 had an obesity rate of 1 out of 7
- Only 3 out of 10 of high school seniors report eating green vegetables "nearly every day or more"
- Almost one in four children does not participate in any free-time physical activity
The list goes on and on. It is amazing how over the past several generations we have allowed this to happen to our children and the adult population. Many fingers can be pointed and many things are to be blamed, but no one can question that we must do something to stem the tide of this tragic decline.
It starts in the home, with healthy eating habits and limits placed on non-physical activities such as TV and Computer time. But there is also a burden to be placed on the government. Have we allowed our food supply to be taken over by big Agro business. Is the American shopper a slave to the high tech marketing technique found in the supermarket? Techniques that push us to buy junk versus fresh.
As I have traveled I have not only seen the affects of this in the US, but also afar. I remember finding myself on a First Nation reservation in British Columbia last year. Talking to some of the elders it was obvious that they were under incredible duress due to a rapid rise in diabetes. Having strayed from their generation old diet of eating off the land, one trip to the market was all that was necessary to understand part of the cause. As one walked in, you were immediately presented with chips, candy, soda, and lastly beer. No wonder kids and adults reach for junk before fresh.
I won't solve this problem and neither will you. However, together we can take a stand and do something, anything, to help turn this around, to make a difference. As I cycle around the US, I will use my travels as a platform to get in front of parents and adults, talking about the benefits of getting out and enjoying nature. The benefits of getting out are profound; healthier bodies and a new found respect for Mother Earth. I will also use my travels to talk about the benefits that we all get from removing all the processed food from our diets.
It is my opinion that we, the American people, have been scammed by big Agro. Our store shelves are inundated with items full of sodium, sugar, soy, and all kinds of other un-healthy things when consumed in massive quantities. We must step back and away from the overwhelming amount of processed food that we and our children consume. My challenge to you, look in your cupboard and read those labels. It is amazing that soy is in everything and that the sodium levels in processed food is through the roof.
If you live in an area that I will be travelling through and would like to schedule a presentation and sideshow for the youth of your community, please drop me a note so that we can arrange for the visit. Lets start now and make a difference in the future of our children's lives.