Move over tree huggers and yogis, there may soon be a new generation of health fanatics in town. Well, for now most of our world’s youth still seems to take their health for granted but ‘going green’ may be the hippest new trend around the corner. Let’s hope becoming more health-conscious catches fire and smolders the perception and unfortunate reality of an obese America.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 | Coury Clemens PA-C, MPH
It’s never too late to start taking care of your health nor is it ever too early. We always find comfort in the fact that we can start eating healthy and working out “tomorrow,” but once our health deteriorates we have no way of altering what we did yesterday. At the end of each day, our health is all we have. That’s why everyone, young and old alike, needs to grab the reins on their health and steer in the direction of a healthier and happier life.
Finding ways to balance our work, student, or social life with fitness and health can be a daunting task. As increasingly active citizens we commit our time to an exhaustive number of extra-curricular activities. Our moderately busy schedules transition into ultra-efficient résumé building platforms. What we sacrifice along the way, though, is a diet founded upon nutritionally balanced snacks and meals. And the result is a generation of overweight consumers struggling with varying health conditions that prove even more difficult and time-consuming to reverse. The statistics on obesity, osteoporosis, and life-threatening cardiovascular conditions are scary enough. And what type of example is being set for Generation Y? With the right approach to ‘going green,’ healthy eating choices can become trendy enough for our youth to pick up organic snacks and healthy meals while putting aside the video games and fast food.
There is no excuse for leaving our health by the wayside.
Most people would agree it’s healthier and more economical to prepare our meals at home, but is it realistic? After a long day of work or school, is it more efficient to eat now or go to the gym first? I see so many young guys at the gym pre-loading workouts with horribly synthetic powders and following their regimen by consuming enormous protein bars loaded with ‘isolates’, high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and genetically modified organisms. To the naked eye their bodies are exhibits of muscular definition, but I can’t help but wonder what type of damage they’re doing to their internal organs. Habits like these need to be rectified immediately. It’s evident now more than ever that if healthy eating habits aren’t yet a growing trend in our younger generations, they need to be.
Be the example that defines the trend.
Too many young people are indifferent about their health. According to Reedy and Krebs-Smith (2010), “empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years…[with] approximately half of these empty calories [coming] from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.” With all of the information available to Generation Y, it’s important we refocus and get back to what we know works. Forget the high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and partially hydrogenated oils. It’s time we embrace the ingredients that are harvested from the soil without pesticides and grown on the farm without antibiotics or hormones. ‘Going green’ is soon to be the new cool thing in town. Keep the momentum by being a model of nutrition. As was said in one of my favorite books, 212°:The extra degree, “with awareness comes responsibility…responsibility to act.”2 It’s only a matter of time before this trend sweeps the country and the outlook on future health takes a favorable turn.
1) Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM. Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010; 110:1477-1484.
2) Parker S & Anderson M. (2006). 212°: The extra degree. Naperville, IL: Simple Truths.
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