Passionate Instigator, Dynamic Problem Solver
March 14th, 2014 05:00:00 am
Today's kids are less fit, but everyone is celebrating because childhood obesity is down. In the last decade, obesity in children age 2-5 is down 43%. But let's not launch the parade yet.
In the last 30 years, childhood obesity more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. The numbers of obese children age 6-11 increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012, while the percentage of adolescents age 12-19 who were obese rose from 5% to almost 21%. More than a third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012 (CDC).
The percentages and reports read like obesity just suddenly happened to these kids, these helpless statistics. What no one is saying is this: this is child abuse.
The United States ranks number one for most drugged children on the planet. Today, more than 17 million children worldwide are prescribed psychiatric drugs so dangerous that regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia and the US issue warnings. Warnings for what? Here's an example: parents with children or adolescents taking antidepressants are warned to watch for suicidal tendencies and hostility.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Concerta can cause suicidal as well as violent, aggressive, and psychotic behavior. These same drugs can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death.
So why are we prescribing these to children? According to Fight for Kids, out of the 17 million children, 10 million are “prescribed addictive stimulants, antidepressants, and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for educational and behavioral problems.”
Today, children 5 years old and younger are the fastest-growing segment of the non-adult population prescribed antidepressants in the U.S. Children as young as 4 have attempted suicide while influenced by such drugs and 5 year olds have committed suicide. Between 1995 and 1999, antidepressant use increased 580% in the under 6 population and 151% in the 7-12 age group. In 2004, the FDA ordered that a “black box” label be placed on antidepressants warning that they can cause suicide in children and adolescents.
Increasingly medicating kids so they “fit in” is child abuse. Recess and physical education has been decreased in favor of increasing classroom time. Yet research studies show that minimizing time for physical activity has negative impacts. Recess decreases stress, bullying, and hyperactive behaviors within the classroom.
Educational institutions (backed by a corrupt government) and parental ignorance and apathy are the biggest abusers of the children of America. We tolerate a system that ignores the damaging effects of bad diets, lack of activity, and standardized testing. We say nothing as governments kowtow to lobbyist dollars and doctors hand out prescription slips. We stand back and watch as children ingest medications that have no interest in keeping them healthy or alive (and in fact sometimes contribute to death). We live in a corrupt system that encourages parents to drug their children, rather than hold them accountable for how they parent, or hold their government accountable for their role in a broken educational system and a thriving pharmaceutical industry. A government that is owned by a minority of people and companies, rather than consisting of elected individuals who actually listen to and serve the voices of their constituents, with their best interest in mind.
If doing away with the broken system in Washington seems like too big a task, let us begin on the ground. Change can start on the individual level, with parents. Adults need to read labels and be held responsible for the consequences of a toxic diet. Parents and adults need to practice good parenting skills, which includes being present more often than not, as well as advocating for the child. Parents need to take action against the brainwashing of our children (and ourselves). This brainwashing leads us to ingest things that make us fat, sick, and psychotic. It also leads us to spend too much time with technology, even allowing television and other adults to raise our children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state that infants age 0-2 should not have any exposure to technology. Ages 3-5 should be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 to two hours. Why? Exposure to too many hours of technology has been linked to aggression, depression, obesity, and sleep deprivation. All of which lead to doctors handing out prescription slips for drugs that further a vicious cycle. Let's step out of it. Let's stop abusing our children.