As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.
Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.
I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.
My name is Laura Koniver, MD and I am a physician. Of course childhood obesity has many different reasons and factors that contribute, but one of the main factors that is extremely overlooked is that children are no longer in direct contact with the earth for any measurable amount of time. Kids are spending all day in school, and even when they are outside getting fresh air or playing sports they have shoes on that have a rubber sole that effectively cuts off contact with the earth. We drive in cars, live in homes, sleep in beds and exist, basically, completely off of the earth.
The earth naturally heals our bodies and soothes our soul… it literally is an anti-inflammatory and anti-stress platform that naturally grounds and supports our entire body. Contact with the earth sends negatively charged electrons throughout our entire body which neutralizes inflammation and free radical damage to our organs and tissues, and reduces stress and tension in our entire body.
Because we live so far removed from the earth now, our bodies are full of inflammation and stress. Even when our children are outside getting fresh air, rarely are they spending long quantities of time actually touching the earth. They are driven to school in a car or a bus, walk with shoes on into the school and spend all day indoors, play sports or walk outside with thick rubber soles on their feet, and spend all night indoors and off of the earth. As a result, children’s bodies are under more stress and receiving more oxidative damage without the anti-inflammatory benefits of the earth to reduce this burden. We may feel that our body is off but not really realize what we are missing when we miss this contact with the earth. As a result, children (as well as adults) feel a yearning to ground their body to the earth but we don’t recognize it as such. What we wind up doing is eating in an attempt to ground our body. *Eating is a way of making our body feel more centered and secure and grounded… when we eat we feel that we are nourishing our body and centering our energy lower into our body to satisfy this natural instinct to connect with the earth.
If kids spent time each day in direct contact with the earth, the urge to feed the body and ground through food would go away. As little as ten minutes of contact with the earth each day would do wonders to sooth their body and make children feel more grounded. Ten simple minutes of going barefoot… or just sitting on a blanket on the ground, or laying up looking at the stars at night, or clouds during the day, a picnic at lunchtime, any direct contact with the earth… would feel more satisfying, reduce stress levels and inflammation levels in the body, and satisfy us on a much deeper level then food ever could.
Touching the earth is the ultimate craving that food does not fulfill. It is that craving that we are trying to satisfy but instead of connecting with the earth we misinterpret it and we reach for food. Childhood obesity would be greatly reduced if children were encouraged to get dirty instead of stay clean… if they were allowed the time and space to walk barefoot in the school yard… if they understood that the craving they have to get centered and get grounded could be fulfilled with the simple touch of the earth.
My website is www.IntuitionPhysician.com if readers would like to find out more!
Thank you so much,