Do Parents Really Love Their Children

By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

No Parent Wants Their Children To Suffer Ill Health, But From The Way They Feed Them, You’d Think They Do!

Correct me if I am wrong. Isn’t it the parents who bring the ice cream and cupcakes into the classroom on holidays and on their kids’ birthdays? Isn’t it the parents who shove the junk food onto kids’ plates, and who sell cookies and cakes at every school event to raise money? What example do the Girl Scouts set by asking kids to sell candy and cookies? Why don’t they just sell cigarettes to raise money?

Parents serve the cancer-causing diet to their own kids at home at every meal. I joke around at lectures and ask the audience, “Raise your hand if you want your child to get cancer.” Nobody raises their hand. But I taunt them. “You guys are lying. How come all the most powerful cancer- causing foods are the ones served on the kids’ menus at restaurants in this town? And look at what is offered to kids for lunch here. Instead of calling macaroni and cheese, processed meats and cheeses, fried chicken nuggets, french fries, hot dogs, and sugary cereals kid-friendly, why don’t we call them cancer-friendly? These should be the last foods you would want to feed to your children.” Parents obviously do not realize that their children’s growing cells are formed by the foods placed in their mouths.

Although parents love their children, their ability to think rationally is taken over by their addictions. People don’t want to give up the foods that they love and that they are addicted to. People love their children, but, apparently, not as much as they love their junk food. They like the appeal of the Atkins and South Beach diets; they like that they can have all that meat, cheese, and butter and still lose weight. You always can find some huckster claiming that: “Saturated fat doesn’t promote heart disease and cancer. It is just a lie by the authorities in power. It is really fruits and vegetables that cause heart attacks. Those deadly, high-glycemic carrots are the villain.”

This is the nonsense that sells books and pleases the media darlings. The most popular stuff is always some version of “Eat anything you want and still lose weight. You don’t have to diet, you don’t have to eat healthfully, you don’t have to give up any of your food addictions, and you don’t even have to exercise to lose weight.” Fads, gimmicks, promises, and magic pills sell best.

While I was waiting in my car to pick up my daughter at school, I noted a group of high school students drinking soda from large, 2- liter bottles and smoking by the edge of the school parking lot. Who led these kids in the wrong direction, dooming them to diabetes, lung cancer, and other serious medical tragedies? What parents allowed their children to do this to themselves? I can assure you the parents of those kids are not the ones with the best parenting skills; they are much more likely to be smokers, serve soda with their fast-food dinners, and spend little quality time with their kids.

Yes, I am sure most parents really love their children, but most of them don’t yet have the knowledge to know that this is a fight worth fighting. They haven’t yet connected the dots between the diets kids eat and diseases in later life. For those of us who know better, we must fight for our children and fight junk-food purveyors at every turn.

What Can We Do To Help?

First, we must start in our own homes to develop some basic skills and make a cohesive family unit against dangerous food items. Then we can move further out in the battlefield and enlist allies to fight with us.

We all want to raise healthy children, whether our children are overweight or not. We have to make healthful food taste great and make it fun. We have to make our children proud that their family eats healthfully.

Set aside time around mealtimes for the family to gather together. Try to eat together as a family, involving the children with food preparation. For many, preparing food and cooking as a family can satisfy a hunger deeper than the physical. It fulfills an urge to create, to express affection for family and friends, and it can launch an adventure through interesting recipes and new foods. Try to enlist the whole family to do this together.

Then we have to start from the ground up and enlist allies in our communities. We must form groups of concerned parents in every school and town across the nation. Search for like-minded parents, and form local groups to get the word out. Approach teachers, especially school health teachers (including the school nurse), and ask them to learn about these issues. Only after a significant number of parents join in the fight is it worthwhile to attempt to revamp school lunches and school curriculum.

Over time (and with much patience), there is a good chance you and your allies will be successful in getting junk food out of the classroom and off the athletic field. Your group can petition the schools to ask parents not to bring junk food to feed other children on birthdays or holidays. Society must recognize that junk food causes cancer and other serious conditions; it is not just about obesity. This is a serious problem in our nation that, at the present time, overwhelms drug use as enemy number one.

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