Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whose Responsibility Is The Health Of Your Child?

Can you be sued in the future for what your child is eating

Scenario: Two or three decades from now, scores of adults
with health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular disease
and obesity will be suffering serious self esteem issues and
spending tons of money on medicine and treatment. This will
have been caused by what they were fed in their daily
activities during their childhood.

These obese adults burdened by mountains of bills and
feeling ostracized by their healthy peers will then band
into support groups and in their frustration look for
someone to point an accusing finger at- their parents.
Looking for a way to lighten the medical expenses, they then
press lawsuits against the ones responsible for the bad diet
and lifestyle habits they formed in their youth- their
parents. You know what? They might even win because given
the number of junk food-eating kids these days, the judge
will most likely be obese and sickly too.

Such a story may be funny, but believe it or not, it might
really happen. Young adults these days have been blaming Mom
and Dad for their current problems and health and dietary
issues might easily include this. One thing's for sure, the
US government or the American fast food industry won't be
taking the blame for it.

Believe it or not, the diets of a lot of babies and toddlers
these days are actually as bad as those of their chip n
dip munching teenage counterparts who dine mainly on
fast-food. The American Dietetic Association published a
recent study proving this in one of the journals.

Researchers from the Tufts University School of Medicine
held a survey and discovered that 33.3% of the respondents
did not have vegetables or fruits as part of their diet.
Even worse, most of those that did declare vegetables in
their diet were referring to French fries which doesn't really
qualify as healthy food.

It's bad enough that a lot of children these days aren't
getting much exercise sitting in front of the boob tube the
whole day watching cable TV, but researchers also discovered
that some parents were even pouring soda into baby bottles
designed for milk. Cola drinks and other types of carbonated
drinks are a major cause of obesity in adults.

As can be expected, 25% of preschoolers are obese and those
numbers are increasing every year. Given that eating habits
are formed during the ages of 2 and 3, you can bet the
statistics will get worse. Most cases of diabetes and
cardiovascular disease stem from unhealthy food and lack of
exercise in a person's formative years.

The situation may appear bleak, but we are not at all
hopeless. As parents, we can set guidelines that promote
healthy habits early in our children's lives and be good
role models by adopting a healthy lifestyle ourselves. Being
good examples can have dramatic effects on the well being of
our family's health.

Perhaps a few decades from now, babies that have had the
fortune of developing good eating habits and healthy
lifestyles will grow up and praise their parents for playing
a major role in letting them turn out to be smart, fit and
healthy adults. Wouldn't this be a better scenario than
seeing your offspring in court because of the bad stuff they
ate during childhood?