The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the likelihood that your children will experience chronic disease in their lifetime.
The four key risk behaviors that cause chronic disease include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption, according to the CDC.
The CDC states that most Americans do not have a healthy diet.
Having our children avoid the Standard American Diet (SAD) and consume more whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, legumes, and lean protein sources like fish, can help them get the nutrients they need for proper growth and development, and also avoid chronic diseases.
The SAD is characterized by daily consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-deficient processed food products like boxed mac-n-cheese, chips, cookies, and soda, which are designed for longer shelf-life.
Further, the SAD is associated with conditions like obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and many cancers.
A 2019 study, published in The Lancet, evaluated the consumption of major foods and nutrients across 195 countries and found that the (sub-optimal) diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor globally – including tobacco smoking. Further, the leading dietary risk factors for death (mortality) are diets low in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds, and high in sodium. Further, this study found that improvements in diet could prevent one in every five deaths globally.
You can read the 2019 Lancet study here.