Poor eating habits are contributing to the rise of type 2 diabetes and obesity in children and adolescents. One of the major nutritional culprits is the high consumption of sugar contained in soda. The amount of sugar in soda is astounding.
According to The American Heart Association, sugar intake should be limited to six teaspoons per day for women (equivalent to about 100 calories), nine teaspoons per day for men (about 150 calories) and three teaspoons for children (about 60 calories) . There are numerous drinks available on the market containing as much as 14.6 teaspoons, or 73 grams, of sugar in a 20 oz bottle. A single 20 oz bottle therefore has almost 5 times the recommended daily sugar allowance for a child, 2-1/2 times the recommended allowance for women and 1-1/2 times the recommended allowance of sugar for men.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey shows that due to unhealthy eating habits the average teenager consumes 119 g or about 28.3 tsp., of added sugar per day. This sugar intake equals 476 calories, or about 22% of an average teenager’s total caloric intake.Excessive calories in the diet, whether in the form of sugar or other carbs such as bread, rice, potato, noodles, crackers or cookies, become fat in the body if not metabolized for energy. Research has shown that it is harder for adolescent girls to metabolize these excess calories making them more likely to gain weight, compared to teenage boys. Every mother knows how hard it is to keep track of the types and amounts of food their children are eating. Some experts suggest that part of the responsibility of shaping children’s eating habits should lie within the school system. Making sure that children learn healthy eating habits is a great way to improve their overall long-term health. However, since eating habits are primarily developed within each child’s household, parents must take responsibility to ensure their children have ample opportunities for exercise and are provided with a proper diet that leads to a healthy lifestyle.
If parents must take the lead in teaching their family to eat properly, what techniques exist which are simple, effective and inexpensive? The Colors, Shapes and Sizes ( www.cssdiet.com ) system can make it fun and easy to teach the family how much of the right foods to eat. Serve a meal once a day on these plates with no need to turn your kitchen into a classroom. The dinnerware teaches the lesson by itself. A few weeks on the program may be all that is needed to create a new awareness of portions and food types helping a child avoid becoming another statistic in the rising epidemic of obesity and diabetes. And the parents can lose unwanted pounds in the process!!