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Posted on 11-08-2017

I have now completed 6 weeks of training on helping families and children make better choices with their nutrition. I really enjoyed this course and its structure. With this journey I am taking 2 different types of schooling. One is to become a Master Certified Health Coach which is about working with people to change habits and create a healthier lifestyle. The other is Applied Functional Nutritionist. This is more of the science and looks for system imbalances and root causes to direct the course of care.

One thing that really concerned me as I was taking this training on families and children was seeing the future that so many children are facing. Today’s American diet is so full of sugar and processed foods and this is what our kids are eating. We also live in a day full of advanced technology which keeps our kids glued to the game system, iPads, phones, etc. Kids are not getting enough exercise. Combine the diet and lack of exercise and you get overweight or obese kids. So I did a little research to better prepare me to help families who need to make better choices. I am not really into scare tactics but I do think people need to have a little bit of a jolt of reality.

The CDC states that the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity. Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases that impact physical health, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease. Obesity as a child often leads to obesity as an adult with on-going health issues. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

Almost 90% of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity. http://www.obesity.org/content/weight-diabetes

Diabetes will remain a major health crisis in America, in spite of medical advances and prevention efforts. The prevalence of diabetes (type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes) will increase by 54% to more than 54.9 million Americans between 2015 and 2030; annual deaths attributed to diabetes will climb by 38% to 385,800; and total annual medical and societal costs related to diabetes will increase 53% to more than $622 billion by 2030.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27124621

I have family members with diabetes. I have lost family members to diabetes. My dad has Type 2 and I have watched him over the years with diet struggles, constantly testing his sugar levels and having to do the shots. His latest struggle is with wounds on his feet. He has been under medical care for around 9 months and they still are not completely healed. Several times there has been the concern over losing a limb. I think he would tell you rather quickly to make changes in your diet and lifestyle now so that you do not develop this issue.

In September, I went to a functional nutrition seminar on sugar balancing and weight loss. One of the first things he spoke about was diabetes. This is one of the main reasons I took the time to go to this. I will never forget what he said to us and I have put a lot of thought into it since. He said “in many cases diabetes is not a disease. It is created with bad habits. Health is a responsibility and the choices you make determine which path you go down. Most people know what they should be doing. You are here to help them down the right path.”  I was so inspired by that. I am definitely not a specialist in diabetes and will never claim to be. But I think it is very promising that with proper nutrition and knowledge you can work to prevent it from happening. I certainly want to keep myself from going down that path and I hope to be able to help others keep from it too.

“In many cases diabetes is not a disease. It is created with bad habits. Health is a responsibility and the choices you make determine which path you go down. Most people know what they should be doing. You are here to help them down the right path.” 

When you are trying to balance out the way your body handles sugar you have to stick with complex carbs. These are your vegetables and whole grains. Although your body needs carbs to function properly you want to stay away from simple carbs as much as possible. You want to make eating breakfast a priority. It should contain the right balance of complex carbs and protein. I know for some this is easier said than done. I am one of those people. I am usually racing out the door. The easiest thing I have found is to make a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter. I take a banana for the drive to work. Having a healthy breakfast starts your day off the right way. It steadies the blood sugar which in turn balances your mood and behavior. It helps your brain work better. It also helps to better control weight. It is important for kids to have a nutritious breakfast too. If the go to breakfast in your home is a sugary cereal or pop tarts you really need to change it. Giving your child this kind of breakfast will spike up their energy and then you will see them crash. It can cause them to not be able to function well at school and affect their mood. Try apple slices with peanut butter or a whole grain cereal with fresh fruit.

Get your kids moving. I was fortunate enough to never have this problem with mine. We didn’t have all of the electronics when they were younger either. We were outside a lot. Kids today need to learn how to play and be active. Make it fun. Put it on your calendar to do a fun activity 2 to 3 times per week that gets them moving. There are so many benefits to being active. It builds strong muscles and bones. Playing builds a healthy heart. It helps to prevent you from getting sick and helps to keep you lean.

Take control of your family’s health now. 

Make the changes fun and always put a positive spin on it. Create healthy habits at home now to give your kids the best chance as a healthy adult. Don’t become part of the statistics.

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