SPOTSYLVANIA, VIRGINIA — According to the United States Census Bureau, supermarkets and grocery stores are a $466 billion industry. With nearly 65,000 stores nationwide, supermarkets are designed to meet the needs of those looking for the convenient foods to those who want to cook everything from scratch, and everything in between. With so many choices people can become overwhelmed and lose sight of the fact that what they put in their grocery cart can directly impact their overall health. Dr. Nimali Fernando, a pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project, names five things you may be putting in your cart when you opt for unhealthy, processed foods.
“When it comes to feeding a family, there are choices we can make at the grocery store that can make us healthier AND save us money,” explains Dr. Nimali Fernando. “It’s time for us to stop considering the price per calorie of our food choices. Of course junk food may seem like the better value. But most Americans these days should consider the value of the nutrients per dollar and how full their food makes them feel. A banana has fewer calories than a bag of chips but delivers more satiation and nutrition at a similar price. Stocking your grocery cart with healthy fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be expensive, and it’ll be worth it health-wise for both you and your children.”
When you reach for many quick, pre-packaged foods, you may be choosing foods that will be detrimental to your health. In fact, Dr. Fernando advises that you may be adding these five things:
- Early onset of diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 16 percent of caloric intake for children and adults comes from added sugars. A typical teenager in America is ingesting 35-45 teaspoons of added sugar a day, and many pre-packaged foods and beverages they eat and drink contain high amounts of sugar. We are now seeing record numbers of type 2 diabetes in children, which can be much harder to manage than diabetes in adults.
- Obesity. With the one third of children now overweight or obese, we should be less worried about how many calories our dollars buy and more focused on how many nutrients we can buy. Extra calories are leading to weight gain in children, leading them to have back pain, flat feet, and poor self image.
- Constipation. Most processed and convenience foods are devoid of fiber, which could lead to trouble in the bathroom. Today, many children suffer from constipation that lasts for months or even years. Constipation can even lead to problems like bedwetting and chronic urinary tract infections.
- Early coronary artery disease. The consumption of all the added sugars, according to the CDC, has been associated with cardiovascular disease, even among adolescents. In one study almost 100 percent of 10 year-olds in America already had fatty streaks in their coronary arteries. When we choose healthier options we are not just preventing heart disease in kids, we may be reversing the disease they already have.
- Shortened lifespan. Some experts predict that this generation of children will be the first have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. This is due to the nature of their diet and sedentary lifestyle, which leads to illness. For instance, obesity now is the number one risk factor for cancer, and so much of our risk factor for cancer in adulthood is established in the first two to three decades of our life. If we can teach kids to make healthy choices from a young age, we are ultimately giving them the best chance for a long, productive life.
“The simple act of choosing healthy foods that contain vital nutrients and vitamins can make a serious impact in your long-term health and your children’s health,” affirms Dr. Fernando. “Teaching your children how to shop healthy will be essential to helping them maintain a long, healthy lifestyle.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit the site at www.doctoryum.com.
About The Doctor Yum Project
The Doctor Yum Project is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Dr. Nimali Fernando, a pediatrician. The mission of the organization is to raise awareness about the benefits of feeding children healthy foods and encouraging healthy lifestyles, thereby reducing childhood obesity and diet-related illnesses. They offer kids cooking classes, a cooking club, a preschool nutrition program, and more. For more information on The Doctor Yum Project, visit the website at:www.doctoryum.com.
Source: The United States Census Bureau. Economic Census: Industry Snapshot. http://www.census.gov/econ/census/pdf/Industry%20Snapshot%20445110.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consumption of sugar. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db87.htm>