You’ve heard of Generation X and you’ve heard of Generation Y, but have you heard of Generation XL? That is the name given to the generation of children that, on account of obesity and its related diseases, will likely die before their parents.
Many students entering the Health Fitness Specialist degree program want to work with Generation XL. They’ve researched Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative, they’ve watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and they want to be part of a solution.
Some students have worked with local elementary schools to provide after-school activities and games for kids. Others have worked with strength and conditioning camps, parks and recreation or even organizations like AKA Sport.
But can we do more to target the most important age group?
In episode 5 of The Skinny on Obesity, Dr. Robert Lustig and Dr. Elissa Epel discuss the new epidemic of obese babies. Now, we all know that babies don’t have gym memberships or that they aren’t typically on a diet, so how in the world did we get here?
Dr. Lustig explains, “A baby lays down your fat before being born and what determines how much fat a baby lays down is the baby’s insulin.”
And what determines the amount of insulin a baby has before being born? The answer seems fairly obvious; the mother’s diet.
Dr. Elissa Epel demonstrates that because of this, “young women are shaping the health of the next generation.” The data has proven that childhood obesity typically translates into obese adulthood and the corresponding maladies: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, lipid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome, dementia, fatty liver disease and cancer.
What do we do about it?
Dr. Epel and Dr. Lustig both call for education for not only pregnant women, but adolescent and pre-adolescent girls and women of childbearing age.
If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or know someone else who is pregnant, encourage them to connect with a nutritionist if they have concerns about their diet. (And please guide them toward a forward-thinking nutritionist who is not going to use the USDA food pyramid as a guide.)
John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition site certification has a link where you can find a certified professional in your area.
Think of it as your gift to future generations.
Learn more about the Health Fitness Specialist degrees at Globe University.