Sugar. It is everywhere and in everything. You can’t escape it and as a parent it is almost impossible to limit your children’s intake of it.
I hardly give my children any sugar but everywhere I turn people are offering my kids candy. You can’t go into a store or visit someone’s house without them being handed a treat. Why is this? Are people just trying to be nice or maybe people are so desperate to be liked that they want to give everyone candy?
Maybe my thoughts on this are too timely with Halloween tonight and all the candy that will be consumed. But after Halloween comes the whole Christmas season where even more chocolate, cookies and candy canes will be served.
According to data from the most recent Canadian Community Health Survey, kids consume 33 teaspoons of sugar a day. That is far above the World Health Organization’s recommendation that sugars ideally make up between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of a person’s daily calories.
Research is also suggesting that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing worldwide in youth.
In 2013, 42 million infants and young children were overweight or obese worldwide and 70 million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if current trends continue. The Childhood Obesity Foundation reported that most adolescents do not outgrow this problem and in fact, many continue to gain excess weigh. Adults who have unhealthy weights are at increased risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes and type 2 diabetes.
So, what are we setting our children up for? As a parent how can I politely decline offers of unhealthy treats, especially when people ask me if my kid can have a candy … in front of the kid?
This usually happens when I’m out and about and I want to spare a temper tantrum. I don’t want to go as far in saying that this is an epidemic, but I feel like we are on that path.
Treats should be just that, treats. A special occasion. I’m not even sure Halloween is all that special because children are given candy all the time anyways.
And don’t even get me started on all the chocolate bars, candy and gum that line the cash registers at the grocery store. Grocery shopping with little kids is stressful enough and you think you’ve almost made it but the check-out is a hallway of disaster.
I’d shop at a store that kept their candy in the candy aisle. Or at least had one kid-friendly register with no candies lining the aisles (at kid eye level!)
Am I being overly dramatic? Maybe. Or maybe I’m just frustrated that society is telling me I’m a bad mom if I give my kid sugar but society is literally shovelling it into their mouths.
Let’s change the narrative. We need to be good examples for the younger generation and eat better ourselves and stop offering treats to little ones like they are going out of style.
Marisca Bakker writes for the Smithers Interior News