Today's kids have advantages most of us couldn't have dreamed of... yet when it comes to health, they're in far worse shape than we ever were.
One new study finds that just two sugar-sweetened drinks each day is all it takes to make a kid overweight.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that 39 percent of 5-year-olds and 32 percent of 15-year-olds who drink at least two sugary drinks each day are overweight.
Now, that study's really a no-brainer – sugar makes kids fat, sick and more. But most parents think a couple of juice-like drinks each day are harmless.
Clearly, they're not.
If you're a parent, get your kids off this junk. If you're a grandparent, I know stocking the fridge with drinks the kids love is almost instinctual — but you'll be doing them a bigger favor if you replace the juice and soda with filtered water.
If you want to spend money, buy them a toy or a book instead.
I wish that was the only dietary problem facing kids today, but sugar isn't just in their drinks. Their food is positively packed with it, too.
A Yale University study finds that the average American preschooler sees 642 cereal ads each year – and most of these are for heavily sugared products. The study also found that kids' cereals have 85 percent more sugar than cereals marketed to adults.
Most of these cereals have meaningless claims on the box that they're fortified with small amounts of vitamins, or made with whole grains (not OF whole grains, just WITH some).
Rice Krispies boxes recently declared, "Now helps support your child's immunity." Thankfully, Kellogg is removing this absurd claim from those packages.
These health claims are put on labels for one reason alone: So parents can justify buying sugary cereals with almost no nutritional value for a child on the verge of a tantrum in the cereal aisle because of all the commercials that have brainwashed him or her into wanting it.
If the packages had labels that said "packed with sugar and empty calories" or "get your nutrients from fresh food and real vitamins, not sugar-coated cereal," then parents might be more likely to think twice.
But if all these products really did have so many health benefits, as those labels claim, then why are our kids so unhealthy?
British kids – who are in similarly poor shape – are now facing a wave of scurvy. That's a vitamin C deficiency that pirates used to get. It simply shouldn't exist in industrialized nations today.
Are American kids next?
Sadly, they probably are.