A threat we can attack

On this sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, a much larger threat to our nation is rearing its ugly head. Researchers at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine have just reported a rising rate of high blood pressure among America’s children. Based on National Center for Health Statistics surveys of nearly 30,000 children, ages 8 to 17, the report will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

More than 400,000 American children are developing high blood pressure, a chronic precursor to heart attack and stroke that has traditionally afflicted only adults. The leading cause is the childhood-obesity epidemic brought on by a diet grounded in sugary foods and drinks and fat-laden meat and dairy products.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 90 percent of children consume excessive amounts of fat and only 15 percent eat the minimum daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. It’s no wonder that most children are overweight and one in six is obese. Childhood dietary habits become lifelong addictions.

Parents should insist that children consume more whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fresh fruits. They should work with their PTAs to demand healthy meals, snacks and vending-machine items in schools. Helpful resources are provided at www.choiceusa.net.

— Alex Chilter
Asheville

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