Wake Up, US Families!By
If abysmal, dismaying and frustrating don’t come to mind with these stats, then I don’t know what will (do tell me how you respond as these are my reactions to this data).
Dr. David Katz, pictured here has stated, “Our children will suffer more chronic disease and premature death from eating poorly than from exposure to alcohol, tobacco and drugs combined.”
According to data analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the average teen eats fruits and vegetables 1.2 times/day.
Only 1/3 eat veggies less than once per day and 25% eat fruit less than once per day.
This information came from survey of 10,000 high school students, which shows a wide range of ethnicities, and this is what was pulled for various backgrounds:
-black teens eat even fewer veggies
-Hispanic teens eat veggies 1.1 times/day
-white teens eat veggies 1.4 times/day
All of these groups eat so few vegetables that their differences are negligible. The USDA My Plate recommendations are really a minimum at best. The reason why “Fruits and Veggies: More Matters” has replaced the “5 A Day” campaign is that there are over 4300 studies showing enormous benefits to eating fruits and veggies. If you put a minimum down of what one needs to do, then naturally most will aim for mediocrity, right? That’s just human nature. Let’s call it the “Law of Medicrity.”
But at least the USDA is on the right path, and that I will not discourage!
Now, back to the analysis. Overall there were few kids eating closer to government guidelines: 16.8% eat fruit more than 4x/day and 11.2% eat veggies more than 4x/day. (Again, the “Law of Mediocrity” here plays a role.)
The definition of fruit included fruit juice (insert exasperated sigh here) and veggies included potatoes (not fried or chips – thank heaven!). Don’t you wonder how the stats would go down even further if these two items were eliminated from the standards?
What’s wrong with fruit juice? Well, it is NOT fruit. It is dead, sugary liquid with no enzyme life as compared with juicing your own fruits. It has been pasteurized, which means those helpful digestive enzymes were cooked out of it .
Any shred of fiber has been eliminated, which means it takes almost no time to convert to blood sugar quickly (read: future diabetic). What is more, the sugar is concentrated versus eating a piece or two of fruit as it takes more fruit to juice. But if it were pure juice that would not be so bad. Most fruit juices have added the extra sugar because Americans like their sweets and food makers know it.
So, stay away from juices for yourself and your family! You can save the money anyway, and who doesn’t want that in this economy?
Potatoes are not such bad things, however, we tend to consume the conventionally grown variety, which absorbs lots of pesticides & herbicides, according to the Environmental Working Group (http://ewg.org) and has been on their “Dirty Dozen” list of what NOT to buy for quite a while now. Potatoes also present little fiber, if the skin is removed, and lots of starch, which converts relatively quickly to blood sugar.
When eaten with a balanced meal, potatoes are a good choice, if not fried or in chip form. The fact that we are ignoring green leafy veggies and multiple colors of vegetables every day, makes potatoes an over-used choice. Think color when eating produce. The color has significant functions in the body (that’s for another post).
Despite what the political celebrities are trying to accomplish, little is actually getting accomplished. The bottom line is that nutrition, like anything that requires education and good habits, starts at HOME. Michelle Obama, our queen of all things healthy, can have little influence over mom and dad as can other politicians, who are whipping up quite a bit of excitement and money to fight childhood obesity.
Now, before you get all offended here, let me just explain something. Yes, fighting obesity and disease is a worthy cause (that is MY purpose), but very little will actually get accomplished when the government and politicians enter the scene. We can look forward to pork barrel laws and pay-offs as the bandwagon travels the country. Perhaps another unnecessary government agency can be created to funnel money into and restrict choices. Call me skeptical, but we have only to look at the “Patriot Act” to see what mess that has created.
The fight starts and ends AT HOME. Period. It doesn’t take a genius or political leaders to influence our eating decisions. It takes education person-to-person and resolve to DO something about it within our own homes.
What can YOU and your family do to eat a minimum of 13 servings of veggies per day? For starters watch these videos and get started on Juice Plus to build your immune system now before the brunt of flu season hits. You may be eligible for the Children’s Health Study, which has already impacted over 530,000 children, and receive your children’s Juice Plus at no cost to the household.
For my household, we are going two straight years without the stomach flu since taking Juice Plus. That says it all.