Chapter 13: Childhood Obesity

Aug 30, 2019

 

Here is a link to a replay of the Facebook LIVE discussion. 

You Will Learn

  • Why childhood obesity is on the rise. 
  • How is the tendency to gain weight inherited?
  • The best thing you can do to improve your child’s weight and reduce their risk of disease. 

 

About Dr. Fung, Author of The Obesity Code and The Diabetes Code

Dr. Jason Fung is a medical doctor, nephrologist by trade, who specializes in kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. He acknowledged that traditional medicine wastes time and resources attempting to treat symptoms of disease, rather than the cause of disease. 

You can purchase The Obesity Code book HERE.

Overview of the Book

Here is the outline of the book. This post covers chapter 13 in Part 4. 

Part 1: “The Epidemic,” explores the timeline of the obesity epidemic and the contribution of the patient’s family history. It highlights the underlying causes of obesity. 

Part 2: “The Calorie Deception,” reviews the current caloric theory in depth and highlights the shortcomings of the current understanding of obesity. 

Part 3: “A New Model of Obesity,” describes how hormones are involved in the development of obesity. These chapters explain the central role of insulin in regulating body weight and describe the vitally important role of insulin resistance. 

Part 4: “The Social Phenomenon of Obesity,” dives into childhood obesity and why obesity is associated with poverty. 

Part 5: “What’s Wrong with Our Diet?,” explores the role of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, the three macronutrients, in weight gain. In addition, it examines one of the main culprits in weight gain - fructose - and the effects of artificial sweeteners. 

Part 6: “The Solution,” provides guidelines for lasting treatment of obesity by addressing the hormonal imbalance of high blood insulin through proper nutrition, sleep, and stress management. 

 

Rising Rates of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates have been on the rise for the last couple of decades and is a predictor of increased mortality. The good news is that it can be reversed! Children who were obese but developed a healthy weight as an adult have the same mortality risk as those who were never overweight. 

Not only are the rates of obesity rising in children, but so are rates of type 2 diabetes (which used to be called adult-onset), and high blood pressure. Dr. Fung states on page 148 that “those who are obese in childhood have more than seventeen times the risk of obesity going into adulthood.”

 

Eat-Less, Exercise More is NOT the Answer

Eat less, exercise more makes complete sense to lose weight, only it doesn’t work. Take infants for example. Birth weights are on the rise, out of the womb! Infants eat on demand and mostly breast milk or formula, they are not old enough to exercise. Why do they have a weight problem? 

In the womb they share blood with the mother. If the mother’s insulin levels are high, the babies insulin levels are high. High insulin leads to obesity. 

We are spending time, money, and energy on the wrong solution, advocating our children eat less and exercise more (this can take on the form of various marketing messages). We don’t have a lack of willpower or resources, there is a general lack of knowledge. Rather, the knowledge is out there but is being drowned out by big marketing campaigns trying to get kids to eat their processed food and move more. 

 

The Best Thing You Can do to Improve Your Child’s Weight and Reduce Their Risk of Disease Is... 

Dr. Fung said the best thing you can do is eliminate pop. Pop is pure sugar and will lead straight to obesity. 

While I agree that we should eliminate pop from our diets, I’m taking a different stance on this one. I think the best thing we can do for our children is to set the example we want them to follow. If we are making healthy food choices, so will they. 

Kids don’t go to the grocery store. Kids don’t cook the meals. Kids don’t have the ability to determine what a healthy food choice is. Adults have the power here. We can educate ourselves, train ourselves to buy and cook healthier food. And for goodness sakes, get the pop out of the house. Many parents say they have a picky eater. I would ask them what their eating habits are. Are they also picky eaters? Are they being a healthy role model? If not, as Michael Jackson said so well, start with the man in the mirror. 

 

Bottom Line

  1. High insulin levels are the root cause of obesity for infants, children, and adults. Mothers can pass on elevated hormone levels to their children in the womb. 
  2. Eating less and exercising more is not the answer to solve childhood obesity. 
  3. Getting pop out of the house can be a great intervention to reduce your child’s sugar intake. Further, take a look at your own health habits and try to be the best example you can for your children, in health and all areas of life. 

 

References

  1. Chapter 13. (2016). In J. Fung, The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. Vancouver: Greystone Books. 

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