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What About The Children?

Posted by Dr. Michael Raeburn, on May 13th, 2011


If you asked one hundred parents what their willing to do to protect their child’s life I bet one hundred would say “Whatever it takes!” So why is it that one of the fastest growing health and economic concerns in the United States today are overweight and obese children? It’s estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that currently one in three children are either obese or overweight. The CDC further states that childhood obesity has tripled between 1980 and the year 2000. There are several reasons for this sudden lack of health in our children including diet, lifestyle, genetics and medical illness such as Cushings syndrome or hypothyroidism to name a few.

A recent study published in the December, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal noted that the use of medications normally associated with adult disorders is on the rise in our children. The article was based on a study conducted by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which determined that roughly 25% of children ages 0-9 and 30% of adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 are on meds for some kind of chronic condition and 7% of those are taking two or more prescriptions. Looking at the most commonly dispensed medications shows that these prescriptions are largely diet and lifestyle based and therefore preventable.


According to the same study 30,000 prescriptions for non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes were given to children between the ages of 0-9, and 394,000 prescriptions written for ages 10-19. Statens are a type of drug used to control high cholesterol, and 94,000 children ages 0-9 and 11,000 children ages 10-19 were dispensed staten drugs to control their cholesterol levels. These numbers are truly frightening. These medications are designed for adults and adult metabolism; there is not a lot of research to conclude secondary effects on young children. It seems exercise and diet may be a cheaper, safer and better solution.


The consequences of childhood obesity may include but are not limited to:

  • Breathing problems such as sleep apnea or asthma.

  • Fatty liver disease, gallstones and gastric reflux.

  • Joint and musculoskeletal problems.

  • Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

  • Increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

  • Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.

  • Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.

So the bottom line is this, if you want to be a friend to your child the best thing you can do is make the right choices for them. Take the soda away, take the fast food away, and take the computer away. A child does not have the capacity or the experience to understand the long-term implications of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

Don’t let your child pick their own food, it will likely be high calorie low quality. Don’t let your child sit in front of a video game or the internet without at least 60 minutes of physical activity in their day. Even little changes in daily activities and diet now may dramatically improve your child’s emotional and physical wellbeing, and improve their chances at long term success and happiness in life.


Article by: Dr. Michael Raeburn
Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician
Ph: 503-719-7742

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