By Tina Van Horn, Reliv Product Marketing Specialist
We are raising children today in a different society than most of us were raised in. Each generation faces their own unique set of challenges and today’s youth are no exception, especially when we look at nutrition choices and their impact on short- and long-term health.
Physical Health Risks
We are facing a battle – the media and food industry have a powerful influence on children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children spend 4 hours per day watching television and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games(1). Over the course of a year, children are being exposed to more than 30,000 commercials, half of which push candy, sugary cereals and fast food. With the fast food industry spending more than 4.5 billion dollars annually on ads promoting junk food, it’s no wonder children are growing up thinking that it’s reasonable to eat fast food several times a week(2).
The influence of the processed food industry is one of the contributing factors to the obesity epidemic. Obesity rates in children and adults have tripled in the last 30 years, with obesity now being the number one health concern of parents, surpassing smoking and drug abuse(3).
One solution to overcome the dietary imbalances that accompany today’s fast-food culture is nutritional supplementation. Reliv’s nutritional formulas, like Reliv Now® and Reliv Now® for Kids, contain micronutrients, protein and omega 3 fatty acids to fill nutrition gaps and meet the needs of growing bodies. These exclusive formulas also contain advanced ingredients to boost energy, support immunity and enhance cognitive performance.
Sedentary behaviors are also leading to heavier kids. Not only are children spending more than 4 hours per day watching TV, but they are also spending an additional 4.5 hours per day engaged in other forms of digital media. These sedentary activities have replaced the physical play and recreation that young people need for proper energy balance and physical development. According to a recent study, published in Pediatrics, less than 8% of adolescents are getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate activity daily(4).
As a result of these lifestyle choices, we now have children being diagnosed with chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 Diabetes. For the most part, these are preventable, lifestyle-related conditions that can often be prevented or reversed with dietary intervention and exercise.
Mental and Behavioral Health Risks
It’s easy to pretend these problems don’t exist and pass off anxiety as a normal part of growing up. However, it’s important to recognize that 13-20% of kids between the ages of 8 and 15 have a diagnosable mental or behavioral disorder like ADHD, anxiety or depression(5). While many of these children are being treated with prescription therapies and counseling, the impact of nutrition is often overlooked.
The first place that micronutrient deficiencies are likely to show up, especially in young people, are in mood and behavior disorders. There is also no shortage of evidence that ties proper nutrition to cognitive function and academic success. A recent study found that 5th graders who ate the most fast food had lower test score improvements in reading, math and science by 8th grade(6).
Healthy lifestyle habits from an early age are important for their epigenetic programming that sets them up to prevent and/or delay the onset of diseases typically associated with aging. Because of the growing research surrounding the field of epigenetics, we now understand that early life exposures, environments, and lifestyle choices program our DNA to either activate or suppress some of the genetic vulnerabilities that we each have inherited. Armed with epigenetics, today’s youth have far greater control over their long-term health than previous generations!
A Note from Dr. Carl Hastings
Supplementation for children is just as important as it is for adults, and likely even more important to meet the nutrition demands of developing bodies and brains. Our fast-food culture struggles to meet these needs on a daily basis and the health of our children is compromised as a result. Reliv provides that solid foundation of nutrition support that kids need to perform their best now and grow into healthy adults. Healthy kids are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults and Reliv can help them through all of the developmental milestones along the way.
To your health,
Dr. Carl Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer
This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- How TV affects your child. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tv-affects-child.html
- Measuring Progress in the Nutritional Quality and Marketing of Fast Food to Children and Teens. November 2013. Fast Food Facts 2013. Publisher: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- Top 10 U.S. Children’s Health Concerns in 2015. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 2015, University of Michigan, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Disease.
- Carlson, J.A. (2016). Locations of Physical Activity as Assessed by GPS in Young Adolescents. Pediatrics. 137(1).
- Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States, 2005–2011. May 17, 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 62(02).1-35
- Purtell, K.M. (2015). Fast Food Consumption and Academic Growth in Late Childhood. Clinical Pediatrics. 54(9) 871-877.