Malnutrition in the US

Today I read an article about the growing problem of malnutrition in developing  countries. According to the article in voanews.com,

Hungry and under-nourished children find learning difficult.  Their growth is stunted, their brains fail to develop properly and they suffer life-long health problems.

Although we have an abundance of food in this country (we have a staggering amount of obesity), the quality of food available today is pathetic.  In developing countries children go without food because of the lack of it and in turn end up malnourished.  Here in the United States many children end up malnourished even though they are eating three or more meals a day.

The devastating effects of under-nourshiment not only impacts the individual but the economy in which they live. They end up earning less for themselves and by extension their economy. This cycle only makes it harder for the people of said economy to reap the benefits of living better.

Poor health and impaired mental and physical development associated with under-nutrition reduce people’s ability to learn and work. Economists estimate that every child whose development is impaired by under-nutrition will lose up to 10 percent in lifetime earnings, according to the article. You can read more here.

Now granted, this may not create huge changes in the way we live here in the US, but is that really the point? The point I’m making is that it is a shame we live among such wealth and opportunities that children of all classes can be under-nourished.

Take a look at the labels of most prepared or packaged food. If you are shopping the average grocery or warehouse store what you will find is mass produced crap. Air, garbage, empty calories and chemicals (read: fake food), make up a large portion of those products. We spend loads of money on them and in turn it makes us fat and stupid and lowers our children’s health.

It isn’t easy to eat better. I have spent a lifetime in the health and fitness world. I returned to college to become a dietitian and sports medicine doctor and even I get stumped by the ingredients list.

We have to learn to read and think for ourselves, so what I propose, since most of us don’t have a degree in bio-chemistry, is that if you can’t pronounce at the least the first five ingredients, put it down.

Start there and in six weeks look into your pantry and see if it’s different. Then follow me, I’ll be looking for good real food and easy recipes and maybe together we can help our kids get the nutrition they need to be at the top of their game.

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