The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines on cholesterol and fat intake for our kids. I think these guidelines are a sad commentary not only on the state of our kids health, but on the way we approach disease.
We don’t have a health care system in this country, we have a sick care system. We are way more about “fixing” the problem, or maybe more accurately, treating the symptoms, than we are about education and prevention.
What’s easier – giving someone a pill, or taking the time to educate them on making good choices to improve and maintain health? I am not necessarily blaming all medical professionals. Because of the way the current system works too many of our health care providers do not have the time necessary to spend on such educational efforts. Ways to fix this challenge is a discussion for another day.
The thing that disturbs me most about the new guidlines is the focus on prescribing cholesterol lowering drugs to kids as young as 8 years old. The guidelines from 1992 suggested that drugs be prescribed AFTER 6-12 months on a nutritional protocol designed to lower cholesterol. As far as I can tell, this has been thrown out the window in favor of a more immediate call for drugs.
Now proponents will tell us that this is only in “high risk” kids, but we have been down that slipperly slope with a wide array of drugs for both adults and children. I have also seen it stated that these drugs are needed because over 15% of our children are obese, with many more overweight. That may be, but is prescribing drugs treating the symptom – obesity, or the cause – poor nutrition? I think the answer is obvious.
We are in a health care crisis in this country not because of the quality of the system, but because we have become sedentary and undernourished. Not under-FED, but undernourished. With the US population now approximately 66% overweight, we have a real problem, and it’s only getting worse.
Children need activity and exercise, not TV and Xbox.
Kids need fruits and vegetables, not soda and snack cakes.
It starts at home. We must take personal responsibility for our own health and the health of our kids. Don’t feed them junk, and don’t let them vegitate in front of the idiot box. And keep your kids off drugs – even the “good” kind.
Nancy has done a great job over at http://ourfamilyfitnessblog.com/ putting together real world tips and recipes to help the cause. Do yourself and your kids a favor and check it out.
For more information on kids and cholesterol lowering drugs, please take time to read this interview Newsweek magazine did with Dr. Peter Belamarich: http://www.newsweek.com/id/144960/page/1