Give Youths Back Their Health

//Give Youths Back Their Health

Give Youths Back Their Health

Play, or mischief?

Play, or mischief?

The Wellness section of The New York Times recently published a blog about the climbing numbers of sedentary youth in the country. Despite all claims that we as a country are making advances in health, it is clear that our health is declining and longevity is falling. Young people are at risk for developing degenerative illness, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as cancer. In addition, 1/3 of our children between the ages of 6-19 are overweight or obese. There is a great concern that the U.S. is falling behind in education as well. There is a clear connection between being sedentary and a lack of interest or inability to learn.


Healthy people like to be active, challenge themselves, and learn. Throughout history, throughout the world, children have played outside without our involvement from morning until night, summer through winter. Why is it that our children no longer want to play? Being sedentary is a very clear indicator of poor overall health.


The article blames parents for not helping their children to exercise. That is not the solution. Healthy parents who are active and curious about life usually have children that grow up and foster similar attitudes and approaches. Health is a family issue. We learn about health through eating healthy foods at mealtimes. When healthy foods are reinforced at school, it becomes easier for children to make healthy choices.


Large quantities of poor-quality food do not encourage us to be active or foster an interest in learning.  We also have total access to unhealthy foods, but we have to seek out and make an effort to find high-quality, healthy foods.  Proper education about the long-lasting benefits of a plant-based diet and increasing access to healthy foods is the best solution for our youth and our future.


Michio and Aveline Kushi started the natural foods movement in the 60s by creating access to whole, natural, and organic foods. They encouraged the development of natural food stores and educational centers to make the food available and to teach people how to incorporate these foods into their daily lives. Now is a good time to make macrobiotic-style education more widely available so that a new generation of healthy children are better equipped to create a healthy future.


By | 2017-09-10T06:01:58+00:00 July 16th, 2014|Articles and Research|3 Comments

About the Author:

Denny Waxman is an internationally recognized teacher, counselor, and writer on health, natural healing and macrobiotics.


  1. Laura July 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    I have two teens (16 and 18) who are basically healthy and not overweight. It was 14 years ago that I turned to macrobiotics to address a health problem of my own. Since then we have shared many conversations about health while eating macrobiotic meals. We are not perfect practitioners, and my teens are as involved as anyone else with their computers, phones, and TV shows, but I am really grateful for all the ways macrobiotics has helped us.

  2. Chinatsu Konishi July 17, 2014 at 2:50 am - Reply

    ‘Excercise’ and ‘high quality health food’ are very important key words. But I think many people unfortunately misunderstand what they mean. Just as explained at SHI, do people have to spend fortune working on expensive excercise machines on a limited time, or are they better off enjoying playing sports?

    I think ‘high quality healthy food’ is also misunderstood. Just because the food is purchased at a huge national (worldwide, I’ve seen the store in Europe, too) health food store, that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. Many food items contain lots of unnatural processed chemicals. I feel like I am the little child in the bryer’s ice cream TV commercial whenever I try to read what’s in the food.

    A family lost their 13-year-old boy not too long ago. I was trying to introduce Denny as I found out. The boy had a rare form of cancer and was in the last stage. I was hoping that Denny would be able to help the boy feel better in the very bad condition. I did explain briefly about macrobiotics, but the parents were not interested at all. The mother was apparently vegetarian and didn’t eat meat since she’s a child. The parents didn’t show any interests in changing the boy’s diet. They automatically assumed that ‘macrobiotics equals no meat.’ I was told after the boy passed away that his fun weekly event at the hospital was to buy a candy bar from the cart that came around the hospital. I was so sorry to hear that. How could a candy bar help a sick boy in the last stage of cancer?

    I was so shocked and sorry that I couldn’t ‘convert’ the family and introduce macrobiotics. I don’t know how active or sedentary the boy was before he got sick. But I was disappointed that I’d failed to introduce how important natural food was.

    I would like to thank Denny and everyone at SHI for everything they do. I will be better next time.

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