As parents, we want what is best for our children. We would never intentionally harm them — in fact, we make sure to get them the best possible care, read to them, play with them, and ensure their safety at home, at school and at play. But when it comes to feeding them, somehow we don’t know what’s best. Our kids seem finicky and eat nothing but cheese or pasta or chicken fingers or milk and cookies, and we let them. At the same time, we notice that they are frequently ill — they suffer from recurring ear infections, runny noses, stomachaches and headaches. We take them to the doctor, who prescribes yet another round of antibiotics. We assume, because we also see it happening with friends and family, that it is par for the course when bringing up children. It doesn’t have to be so.
This scenario may be “normal” for kids today, but it is not normal for humans or any other species of animal that eats nutrient-rich natural foods. Scientific research has demonstrated that humans have a powerful immune system, even stronger than that of other animals, that makes our body a self-repairing, self-defending organism with the innate ability to defend itself against microbes and prevent chronic illness. The system operates at its best only if we give it the correct raw materials to work with. When a young body doesn’t receive its nutritional requirements, bizarre diseases occur. Of late, there has been an increase in cancers that were unheard of in prior human history. Most of these can be linked to improper nutrition.
Despite our very best intentions, today there are health risks that well-meaning parents inflict on their children without being aware of it. Every day in small ways, we may well be causing harm to their precious little bodies through the choices we make about what we decide to feed them.
There is an issue of vital importance that most well-meaning parents are not aware of: the modern diet that most children are eating today creates a fertile cellular environment for cancer to emerge at a later age. Trying to prevent breast, prostate, and other cancers as an adult may not be possible because most risk factors cannot be changed at this late stage. The bottom line is that in order to have a major impact to prevent cancers we must intervene much earlier, even as early as the first ten years of life. In other words, childhood diets create adult cancers. When our children eat junk food instead of fruits and vegetables, the groundwork is being laid for cancer and other diseases to occur down the road.
Additionally, many children today are very often recurrently sick with ear infections, allergies, and then, later in life, may develop autoimmune illnesses such as lupus, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Kids become ill, not because they just naturally pass around germs or have bad genes, but because their diets are inadequate. Medications cannot prevent these problems — only a diet of nutritional excellence can.
The most recent scientific evidence is both overwhelming and shocking — what we feed (or don’t feed) our children as they grow from birth to early adulthood has a greater total contributory effect on the dietary contribution to cancers than dietary intake over the next fifty years. American children and most children in developed countries eat less than two percent of their diet from natural plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. American children move into adulthood eating ninety percent of their caloric intake from dairy products, white flour, sugar and oil. Amazingly, about twenty-five percent of toddlers between ages one and two eat no fruits and vegetables at all. By fifteen months, French fries are the most common vegetable consumed in America!
Childhood diets are unhealthy, but the issue goes beyond simple nutrition. Recent, compelling, scientific evidence over the past two decades has shown links with precise dietary factors and autoimmune illnesses, such as Crohn’s Disease and lupus, as well as later-life cancers. This means that we now know what helps to create an environment in our bodies which is favorable for cancers to emerge later in life and we understand how what they eat now can prevent cancer in our children’s future. While the scientific evidence is in, parents haven’t been informed that what their children eat during their growth years has such a profound effect on their later health, and the first ten years may be the most critical. Unfortunately, many parents are unwittingly feeding their children dangerous, cancer-provoking diets. My goal is to inform parents, so that they can give their children the greatest gift of all: the opportunity for a long and healthy life.
Disease-Proof Your Child reviews the scientific evidence and explains that the vast majority of adult cancers are avoidable if an excellent diet is begun and maintained from early childhood. Unfortunately, pediatricians and family physicians rarely discuss diet with parents, encouraging the perception that what a child eats does not matter. Parents also are uninformed that following an anti-cancer diet-style can free their children from repeated trips to the doctor, endless courses of antibiotics, and the curtailed living that comes from being frequently sick.
While the science may be alarming, the solutions are simple. Eating to prevent common illnesses as well as to prevent life-threatening illnesses of the future can be easy and taste good. You and your family will discover that the right foods can protect against obesity, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is my mission and my passion to get this vital information out to all parents, and I am not going to sugarcoat the message. The truth is too important. This book will show you the science and the solution — and you won’t believe how easy and tasty it can be.
This book has the answers. Not only will it explain what a healthy diet is, it will show you how to implement the best diet for your children in such a way that they will love it, eat it, and adopt a healthy approach to nutrition that will last a lifetime.
Combining what I know as a physician and what I’ve learned as a parent, Disease-Proof Your Child brings you up-to-date medical and scientific information along with practical advice on how to use the best of that information in your own home. Being a father to my four children is the most meaningful and pleasurable part of my life. Our children are our most important and loved part of our world. Giving them the potential for a happy and healthy life is one of our greatest gifts to them.
This article is a condensed version of the introduction to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s latest book Disease-Proof Your Child.