Will today’s kids be the first generation to reverse U.S. longevity gains?
Posted Aug 24 2008 7:30pm
Interesting article I read today about health and kids. I for one am guilty of letting my kids watch a little too much TV at times. But....this sort of article makes one think. We as parents definately need to care for our children, but ensure that they are healthy. This includes enough exercise and the right kinds of foods. It definately gives one food for thought and makes you think about how our kids live their lives.
Our family has gone to ordering organic produce and we love it. Not only that, but the kids love the taste as well.
"Thanks largely to medical and public health advances, Americans are living longer than ever. The average life expectancy in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, was nearly 78. That's up from 47 in 1900 and 68 in 1950.
But even as the market for anti-aging pills and products has never been hotter with Americans seeking a longer life, some experts say we as a nation are doing ourselves in with our couch-potato culture of eating way too much and exercising far too little. Some health professionals even raise the controversial notion that today's generation of kids like Justin — about a third of whom are overweight or obese — may be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.
'Like advanced aging'"All of the signs are pointing in the wrong direction," says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Young kids are getting what have traditionally been adult-type diseases — type 2 diabetes and heart disease," she says. "It's like advanced aging."
"These kids are headed for real trouble," agrees S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of public health and a researcher at the Center on Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their parents may not be faring so well, either, he says. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.
What's your chance of reaching a very old age? That can depend on when you were born and even where you live. Click to find out more.In 2005, Olshansky and colleagues published a paper in The New England Journal of Medicine predicting that in the coming decades, the obesity epidemic and its health consequences would reverse the upward longevity curve in America over the last century, slashing life expectancy by two to five years — more than the impact of cancer or heart disease.
Olshansky says he's particularly concerned about obesity in children, which has tripled since 1970, because they could be dealing with diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related health problems for a longer period of time and face a greater toll. "
I for one will do my part to work on this with my children.