Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Can One Million Visitors to Nujoblog Do for America's Children?

In 2001, Surgeon General Richard Carmona, in his call to action, warned America that childhood obesity was a serious public health problem. Do something now or pay the penalty later, he said. Well, later is now and we are paying dearly. More and more children are becoming overweight and facing a future of costly and debilitating diseases.

Here is what scientists and public health experts are telling us:
  • One-third of America's children are overweight or obese. In some cities that number could be as high as fifty percent.
  • One in three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes at some point during their lifetime.
  • Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other serious health conditions, including cancer and premature death.
  • More and more children are being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of abnormal health conditions that set the stage for cardiovascular disease.
  • Overweight or obese children are often sad, depressed, socially isolated and bullied. They are also less likely to perform at their highest potential in school. Many do not want to go to school because of the social problems they encounter.
70,000 registered dietitians are unrecognized and underutilized; these nutrition experts, along with trained public health nutritionists must be mobilized to fight this battle that the nation is losing day after day.

You can do your part by making smart food choices for yourself and your children. If you have a child who is overweight or obese, insist that your insurance company, medicaid or other health insurance provider authorize coverage for professional nutrition services by a registered dietitian. You can find a registered dietitian in your area by visiting www.eatright.org, the American Dietetic Association website or searching online.

Send this blog post to as many people as you like and ask them to share it; and visit nujoblog.blogspot.com for daily nutrition updates. Each visit will bring us closer to providing children and families with the nutrition education, counseling and related services they need to stop this potentially deadly epidemic that is euphemistically called childhood obesity. In fact, it is more than just about fatness. It is about potentially fatal diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputations and more. These are the real risks that our children face.

"Let's move" towards better food, more physical activity and a nation of healthy children. Surely that is not asking too much of the greatest nation on earth, is it?

Let's organize for the health of our children - sharing and visiting nujoblog for daily updates. And send me your questions and feedback at drdorene@dailydietguide.com. If you are a childcare center or school, you might also be interested in services offered by CHANA Project, the Child Health and Nutrition Access Project.

"An investment in America's children is an investment in America."