Fatty liver in kids.
Plus: Recipes to stay on track this holiday season.
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Monday. I hope everyone enjoyed their extra hour of sleep over the weekend. Can you believe there was a time in the not-so-distant past when we had to manually turn our clocks back? Now, our phones and smart devices all do it on their own. Oh, how times have changed. Speaking of things changing, we have another health trend that is, unfortunately, moving in the wrong direction. Fatty liver used to be a disease of the old. Today, kids are also getting sick. Let’s dive in.
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Fatty Liver In Kids
Families all over the U.S. are now facing a reality they never would have thought possible. Their kids are being diagnosed with a condition that seemed impossible for someone her age: fatty liver disease. Once rare in children, fatty liver among younger and younger Americans has become disturbingly common.
What changed since the early 2000s, when this was a disease primarily found in adults with long-term alcohol abuse, is a mystery that scientists are urgently trying to unravel.
Pediatric fatty liver disease now affects as many as 10% of children in the U.S., a staggering prevalence rivaling that of asthma. This trend is not just a number; it has real consequences, with children suffering severe health issues and the rate of liver transplants in adolescents increasing significantly.
Liver transplants… in kids. That is crazy.
It is a distressing reality: Diseases traditionally associated with adulthood are now affecting children. Alongside fatty liver, young people are increasingly diagnosed with conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even gallstones. This is a telling sign that early death rates in the U.S. are not just about headline-grabbing issues like opioids and gun violence; the roots of these problems start much earlier in life.
The suspected culprits of this epidemic are multiple, with our modern lifestyle squarely at the center. The typical diet of American children has undergone a seismic shift from minimal amounts of processed foods to a heavy reliance on them, causing imbalances that can overwhelm the liver’s ability to cope with toxins.
It’s a mismatch between our genetic makeup and the contemporary diet that’s rich in ultra-processed and sugary foods, which are not only more accessible but often cheaper, especially in lower-income areas.
Experts argue that these foods, aggressively marketed and readily available, lead to hormonal changes and other bodily stresses that are particularly harmful to children. Of course, the food industry has been slow to adapt, and while there are calls for reform, with proposed legislation to help consumers make healthier choices, progress has been sluggish. After all, there are no financial incentives to actually improve our food and health systems.
The case of pediatric fatty liver disease has become an urgent call to action for a systemic change. As American dietary habits have evolved over centuries, our bodies, still tuned to a time when food scarcity was the norm, have not adapted well to this abundance of readily available calories and processed sugars.
The key takeaway? The need for a comprehensive approach to dealing with these issues is clear. We must address not only the medical aspects but also the societal and environmental factors contributing to this crisis. With obesity only being a piece of the puzzle, the focus must be on the bigger picture—a culture that inadvertently encourages health issues from a young age.
We need policy changes, increased awareness, and an overhaul of the food environment. The future health of America’s children depends on it, and time is of the essence.
1. Lemon And Garlic? YUM!
This chicken marinade is the best. Make enough for leftovers. Enjoy.
2. A Fun Dip!
Even the kids will love this dip. Save this recipe for Thanksgiving or any holiday party you have coming up.
3. A Smoothie Packed With Nutrients
Beets are SO GOOD for you. This smoothie is tasty and packs a nutritional punch. Enjoy.
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