Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ask Dr. Ellouise Intro Column 3-7-08

It seems like such an uphill climb, can I really make a difference in my child’s health?
You can make an incredible difference in your child’s life by teaching him or her to make healthy lifestyle choices. These choices can make a difference not only today, but they will also make an enormous difference 40 or 50 years from now as your child ages.

So, the first, and maybe the most important way to help your child is to be aware that YOU are making choices! Everything you eat, or don’t eat, is a choice and everything you eat, or don’t eat, is teaching your child—even when you think s/he’s not watching! By making healthy choices for yourself, you are modeling healthy choices for your child.

Many of us just drift along when it comes to making lifestyle choices. We do what we’ve always done, we do what is convenient, we do what is inexpensive and/or we do what we’ve been told by the media is what we need (which usually has more to do with their profit margin than it does with our healthy eating).

So, how do I change what my child eats?
Healthy lifestyle choices are not just about what your child eats. They also include how much physical exercise s/he pursues, how much sleep s/he gets and much more. There are also some things to remove from your child’s lifestyle and some things to add to your child’s lifestyle in order to help him/her to be more healthy. We’ll address more so these issues in future articles.

But, let’s begin by talking about what you might already know. Most of us know that sugar is not a healthy choice and that more fruits and vegetables are a healthy choice. Most of us know that more physical exercise is a healthy choice and sitting around on the couch is not a healthy choice.

Unfortunately, what I found when researching for my Ph.D. dissertation was that our actions were not aligned with our knowledge! Many of us aren’t making the above healthy choices even though we know what those choices should be.

Well, why aren’t we?

I believe that both the adults and the children in America have been miseducated by the millions of dollars of advertising on our ever present TV’s. As stated in Eating for A’s: “Our children are educated about nutrition in ways that are disastrous. They get their information from the 13,00 food and soft drink commercials they watch over the course of a year.”

Many of those commercials have “studies” that show how healthy their product is. However, I also believe that “when a manufacturer or supplier stands to gain financially from convincing people to eat their product, the chances of an honest evaluation (study) of that product’s healthiness are slim.”

The old adage “You are what you eat”, couldn’t be more accurate. And, most children in America today are eating in abysmally unhealthy ways.

In future columns, we’ll discuss some strategies for making a change in YOUR child’s life… matter what’s going on in the rest of America!

No comments: