CHILDHOOD OBESITY or ARE YOU ABUSING YOUR CHILD?
As a physician in California I am dismayed at what I observe on a daily basis and I shudder to think of the future health prospects for all children and African American children in particular. African American children under 18 years of age are increasingly becoming victims of a new form of child abuse which results from parental negligence. The result of that abuse is a condition we classify as obesity. Though parents may be legally prosecuted in California for not feeding a child there is no legal basis for prosecution for over feeding a child or feeding a child a diet of junk food.
The California Black Health Network, Inc. reported that 28.6% of African American children are overweight and that 46% are classified as unfit in the State of California. A condition of physical unfitness in childhood in many instances may be characterized by a number of maladies ranging from 1) early onset diabetes, 2) high blood pressure, 3) high cholesterol, 4) joint pain, 5) inactivity, 6) fatigue, 7) inordinate sleep patterns, 8) low self-esteem, 9) sadness or depression, and 10) stress. These are not characteristics which typify healthy children. In the long run such maladies can and will shorten the life span of our children.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
The causes range from the consumption of junk food, lack of nutritional foods, lack of exercise, genetic factors, sharing destructive family behaviors, unhealthy lifestyle, high sugar, fat, and salt intake or a combination of all of the above often beginning at birth with the use of baby formula instead of breast milk from a healthy mother.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BEGIN REVERSING THE PROBLEM OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY.
You can begin to treat your problem or the problem of your children by changing your lifestyle, changing your diet, drastically reducing sugar, salt, and fat intake, ceasing the consumption of all junk foods, read to be mindful of harmful chemicals in meat and GMOs in vegetables, exercise daily even if only walking 2 to 3 miles daily with your child around the block of your neighborhood. Lastly, you may want to consult with your physician for a complete physical examination and a blood analysis if you have other concerns.
WHAT THE CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY MUST DO AND WHY
The State of California should expand current child abuse law to include parental responsibility for the physical fitness of children under their authority. There must be criminal law to compel parents to maintain their children in a physically fit condition. Because insofar as the state depends on a healthy population of children to assume the thousands of occupations necessary to build and repair the vast infrastructure of the State of California and to keep health cost down representatives at all levels of government should see child physical fitness as an investment in the economic future of the State.
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