Kidz: Well Fed = Well Read?

As salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.  I’ve found the following article very interesting……..

Well Fed, Well Read: Are Your Kids Getting What They Need?
Robert Needlman, M.D. (Health Section)


When I’m working in the general pediatric clinic, I see a lot of children who are struggling in school. Many of them hate reading. They see it as boring, frustrating and meaningless.  I’m willing to bet that most of these children did not grow up on a steady diet of bedtime stories. Instead, they learned to love cartoons and video games. Compared to the fast-changing images in those flashy media, books are dull indeed.

Three afternoons a week, I see children who are referred for weight loss. Working with these children, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that overweight children are all different. Some are couch potatoes, but others are athletic; some are isolated and shunned, some are popular; some feel defeated by life, others are full of ambition. 

One thing most have in common, though, is that they enjoy the “standard” US diet high in meat, fat, and refined carbs. And as a result most are malnourished. It might surprise you to think of a too-big kid as malnourished, but how else can you describe a diet that is lacking in the complex mix of vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals found in whole fruits, vegetables, and grains? Most of the overweight children I see are not only overfed, they’re poorly fed.

I wonder, what is the connection between what we feed children’s brains, and what we feed their bodies? Is it just a coincidence that the “junk” stimulation of nonstop TV and video games seems to go along with a diet of too much junk food?  A few things I’ve noticed:

After reading for a while, most children feel the need to get up and move around. TV and video game screens somehow do not have the same effect.

There aren’t many advertisements for fatty fast foods, sugary cereals, and calorie-laden beverages in children’s books. TV is, you could say, another story.
Parents who limit their children’s access to TV and video games also tend to limit their access to French fries.
What do they know that other parents don’t?
Parents who stock their shelves with books often stock their refrigerators with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fresh food and books aren’t cheap. On the other hand, neither are video games and premium cable channels. Per ounce of protein, a bag of dried beans is a better bargain than a bag of burgers.
We can complain about what our fast-food, fast-image culture feeds our children. But in the end, the choice of what we bring into our homes is ours to make. My hope is that someday all children will grow up well fed and well read. 

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