Be Sure Your Child is Eating for Health

The future of our society not only depends on the education of our children but also on their health. If you listen to the news lately you can't miss hearing about the staggering growth of obesity and diabetes in children worldwide.

Diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related chronic diseases that are prevalent among adults have now become more common in youngsters. The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight and obese has skyrocketed upward in the last ten years with no end in sight. The Center for Disease Control recently predicted by the year 2010, fifty percent of children will be overweight. What you tend to hear less about, however, is that early childhood diets not only promote obesity and diabetes but also set the stage for cancers in adult life.

Carcinogenesis, the process that leads to cancer, is believed to occur in a series of steps. The first step is the development of cellular abnormalities, which eventually leads to cancer. This usually occurs during adolescence or soon after puberty as a result of poor dietary choices that occur even earlier. Studies have shown that early onset of puberty is a significant marker for increased cancer risk. It is common knowledge among physicians that the earlier a woman matures, as measured by the age of her first menstrual period, the higher her risk for breast cancer. Both early menarche and greater body weight are markers of increased risk of breast cancer.

Ominously, the onset of menstruation has been occurring at a younger and younger age in Western societies during this century. For example, the average age in the United States is now about twelve years; however, according to the World Health Organization, the average age at which puberty began in 1840 was seventeen. In addition, during the same time period, there has been an increased consumption of refined carbohydrates, soft drinks and cheese, and there has been a huge decrease in the consumption of high nutrient foods, such as vegetables, beans, fruits, seeds and nuts. A greater consumption of animal foods and junk food and a lower consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans leads to a higher level of sexual hormones and a cellular toxicity that initiates early life changes that lead to cancer many years later.

Women are not the only sex affected. The same increased risk, as a result of early maturation, is seen with both prostate cancer and testicular cancer. If we grow and mature more rapidly, we increase our cancer risk and age faster. We see the same pattern in lab animals. If we feed them so they grow faster, they age rapidly, develop cancer and die younger.

In other words, cancer is a disease whose predominant cause is our dietary practices when we are young. This is not a subject for political debate. This is now the predominant view of leading cancer researchers worldwide, and the evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. Every parent has a right to be informed of this and my book, Disease-Proof Your Child presents the fascinating research science and the solution; and it makes it fun and tasty. Please share this information with everyone you know. The future of our nation depends on it.

— Joel Fuhrman, M.D.