Will your child die before you?

What is the greatest tragedy that can befall parents? It’s that a child will die before they do. It’s tragic when this happens and we may see it more often.

Many years ago I attended a service in Westminster Abbey in London, England. I can’t recall the sermon. But I do remember seeing chubby choir boys. I realized then how obesity was starting to affect children.

Since then several studies have shown the growing extent of childhood obesity.

One study involved 5,517 Gr. 5 students in 291 public schools in Nova Scotia. Of these students 32.9% were overweight and 9.9% obese. One in 10 is a frightening figure.

We don’t need any more reports of what common sense should tell everyone. Students were less obese when schools had regular physical education classes. Several asinine reasons are given for why they no longer exist. Some school boards in low-income areas claim to have no funds to purchase recreation and gymnastic equipment or no time for such activity.

But preventive measures against obesity don’t all require money and time. We know that children of families who eat together regularly are less likely to be overweight or obese.

Dining together prevents children from eating in front of television. Researchers found that TV munching often leads to what they called “mindless eating”, with increased caloric intake. We’ve all seen that scenario.

If a child is driven to school instead of walking, this routine adds pounds. So do soft drinks if they’re available at school. And the study shows that if the household income is under $60,000, there’s a greater chance a child will be overweight.

The problem that should worry parents and society is that obese children are starting to show medical problems that used to be seen primarily in adults. Dr. Noel Merz, a Los Angeles cardiologist, reported this problem at a meeting of The American College of Cardiology.

She pointed out that today’s children are now exposed to a diet high in calories. And further that, “Only in North America can we manufacture a reduced-fat Oreo (cookie) that actually has more fat than the original one!” Today doctors are now seeing fatty degeneration of the liver in teenagers.

Another California study showed that 37% of Latino children had elevated blood cholesterol and 14% suffered from rising blood pressure.

This portends big trouble down the road. Already there’s shocking physical evidence of what’s happening. For instance, Dr. Jacques Bart, another California researcher, reported that ultrasound of carotid arteries showed thickened atherosclerotic walls in 11% of adolescents studied. This finding would normally be seen only in adults.

The presence of thickened carotid arteries also means thickened atherosclerotic coronary arteries. The terrible truth is that obese children are developing adult diseases early in life. And it does not take deep thinking to predict that many will succumb before their parents from diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

It should be top priority for health authorities to find the funds for schools in low-income areas to encourage children to participate in sports. It makes no sense to penny-pinch on schoolyard equipment and then spend millions later treating fatal diseases that should never happen.

But in the final analysis it’s parents that must become proactive in school matters. Remember it’s your child that’s in danger. I know one group of parents in Toronto who recently raised $20,000 for outdoor school equipment.

There’s no secret to prevent clogging in children’s arteries. Common sense tells us that children should start using their legs and stop mindless munching in front of TV.

Parents should toss out packaged foods loaded with sugar and salt. And how many kitchens have a calorie book to show how calories mount up? Or a bathroom scale to monitor weight? It’s biologically unnatural for children to die before their parents, especially from preventable causes. Regrettably it will happen.

See the web site For comments, go to

Just Posted

Rebels, Hurricanes kick off their WHL playoff series

Game 1 starts the series Friday night in Lethbridge

The Lending Cupboard lands new location on north end

New location - 7803 - 50th Ave. to be fully operational by August

Lacombe Generals punch their ticket to Allan Cup

6-1 win over Stony Plain finishes off series in 5 games

Local Legions will be presenting the award-winning play Jake’s Gift

Acclaimed play has received rave reviews from critics and audience members alike

WATCH: What’s Up Wednesday – March 21st

A summary of the week’s news

WATCH: What’s Up Wednesday – March 21st

A summary of the week’s news

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Province releases Budget 2018 Thursday afternoon

No major funding announced for Red Deer Hospital expansion

Ice fisherman hooks massive catch from Sylvan Lake

Ron Rivard caught the 43 inch jackfish this morning

Break and enter to Ponoka farm home while resident was inside

Caucasian suspects quickly entered the home and stole several items Tuesday afternoon

10-15 cm expected for parts of Central/Northern Alberta

Lacombe and south can expect around 2-7 cm of snow today and into tonight

Heavy ice off Canada coast strands pod of dolphins, fixating small town

The small Newfoundland community, Heart’s Delight, is fixated on plight of trapped dolphins

Foreign election interference a reality, says Trudeau after Putin re-election

Trudeau said the heavy use of social media and interference by foreign actors are the new reality in elections.

Canadians joining #DeleteFacebook amid fears of electoral meddling

Privacy experts say numerous Canadians are taking to other social media platforms to join in on the #DeleteFacebook hashtag

Most Read