Childhood obesity rates soaring

| Post published on October 4, 2016
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However, the widespread warnings don’t seem to translate into action. According to the government’s national diet surveys from recent years, the average intake of saturated fat, sugars and salt in the UK is way above dietary recommendations while the intake of fruit and vegetables and complex carbs (such as wholegrains) is much lower. What’s even more alarming is that many children don’t eat any fruit or vegetables on daily basis and some only about once a week!

As a result, not only do we have an ever-increasing number of overweight and obese children, but these children also suffer from high blood pressure, impaired blood sugar control (which can lead to diabetes) and joint problems. And despite the abundance of food in their diet, children can suffer from malnutrition due to the poor nutritional value of sugar and fat-laden meals and the lack of healthy, nutrient-dense food.  This may be the first generation of children who will not outlive their parents!

The media are always quick to jump on any story involving a vegan child who might be lacking a nutrient but you won’t read about the crowds of malnourished overweight meat-eating children. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a growing number of vegan children, healthy and thriving. Vegan parents tend to be more aware of nutrition basics and make informed food choices which is why vegans tend to weigh less, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and suffer much lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

All children need healthy carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, wholegrains), protein (pulses, nuts and seeds), healthy fats (nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil), plenty of unsweetened drinks and a vitamin B12 supplement (in the UK a vitamin D supplement is advisable too). Those are the cornerstones of a healthy diet that will ensure a healthy development, strong bones and healthy weight. Healthy carbs also give children plenty of energy for physical activity, unlike the sugary and fatty snacks that can make them drowsy and gloomy.

Viva! Health doesn’t just promote a healthy vegan diet, we also offer a range of practical resources for people of all ages. To see what scientific studies and respected health bodies say about real-life vegans and vegan children, see Viva! Health’s Well-Nourished Vegans.

 

About the author
Veronika Charvátová
Veronika Charvátová MSc is a biologist and Viva! Health researcher. Veronika has spent years uncovering the links between nutrition and good health and is an expert on plant-based diets.

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