For one thing, they're losing a sense of connectedness with the world --- not surprising in an age when computer games are their playmates and the television is their babysitter. But even more, it means that instead of getting their life-lessons from trusted adults, they depend more and more on the media to provide them with their image of the world.
As a single, working mom, I find this disturbing. As a professional in the filed of nutrition, I find this actually frightening! The media, and the corporations who sponsor it, are not concerned with our children's well-being --- they are interested in their bottom lines. And their priorities put them in direct conflict with many of the principles that we, as parents, know we must uphold.
It is not in our children's best interests to abandon them to a life in which an addiction to technology, a sedentary lifestyle, and an over-reliance on junk food are the order of the day. As parents, we must be committed to teaching them how to make choices that improve their chances for a healthy, happy life. And there's no time to waste! Childhood obesity and the diseases associated with it are on the rise, and eating disorders are reaching epidemic proportions among our nations young people.
That's why I wrote this book. It is my mission to educate parents about what they can do to ensure proper nutrition and healthy physical activity throughout childhood and adolescence, in the face of all the media and social pressures to the contrary. I want to provide parents with a realistic approach to achieve these goals so that our children do not grow up to be forever at the mercy of the latest advertising gimmick and food and fitness fad.
My interest in these issues comes from a very personal source. I suffered from obesity as a child, and although I eventually succeeded in overcoming that devastating problem, I found myself battling eating disorders during my teen and young adult years. These experiences led me to a career in nutrition and fitness, where I came to more deeply understand the wide range of factors that lead to these conditions in children. I became powerfully committed to working towards a future where our children can grow up well-nourished, fit, and happy, and out of this commitment I developed a program that I call Designs for Healthy Lifestyles.
A design for a healthy lifestyle is one in which children and adults work together to promote good nutrition and fitness, thus preventing childhood obesity and the health problems associated with excess weight, both during childhood and later on, as adults. It is one in which parents can work with an already-at-risk or obese child to work toward a healthy weight without triggering an obsession with weight that can lead to eating disorders. Most of all, it is one that promotes strengthened relationship bonds within families, helping every member to realize the healthiest, happiest lifestyle possible.
But I am aware that it isn't easy to fly in the face of all the pressures of modern living and to make the kind of changes required in order to get started on a healthy lifestyle. It requires challenging traditional assumptions about food, family and fitness, and sometimes means making some pretty basic changes in the way we go about our day-to-day lives. Still, the goal ---the health of our children--- is so important that I believe most parents will be willing to make the attempt. With this book, I hope to help you to take the first steps in designing the healthiest possible lifestyle for you, your family, and, most of all, for your children! ....... Let's get started!!!