Last week while I was in Entebbe at a Medical Center, a Mom and Dad brought their 11-year-old son into the emergency ward. The boy had been running around on the playground with his friends when he felt a tightness in his chest and shortness of breath.
The Doctor did a thorough evaluation, including an EKG and a chest X-ray. (The boy put his iPad aside so that the Doc could examine him.)They found everything normal. They concluded that the cause of his chest tightness and shortness of breath was “deconditioning” which is a fancy word for “out of shape”.
Now, this week we are sending our sons back-to-school and I have been thinking a lot about that incident and that particular boy.
Parents, have you ever wondered why many of our boys are no longer strong like we used to be in those days? Have you ever wondered why many of our sons are obese? Have you ever tried to find out why many of our sons get sickly just 2 weeks into the term?
Imagine a boy going back to school for 09 weeks and you buy him
- 4 Cartons of flavored milk,
- 4 Kgs of Brown Sugar,
- 2 Big Tins of Nido
- 1 Big Tin of Blue-Band,
- 3 Cartons of Packed Juice,
- 1 Carton of Redbull / Bomba Energy Drink,
- 2 Cartons of Soda
- 2 Cartons (preserved) cakes
- 1 full kiveera of duddies,
- 1 tin of Rayco (to add in the school beans)
- 6 Tins of Pringles
- 4 Cartons of noodles
- 6 cartons of cookies
Now think about it, what kind of effect can all these foods have on a boy’s diet? Have you noticed that many children now days do not want to eat school food? They call and complain to their parents that the food is bad, in response the parents send more pocket money for them to keep buying chapati & mandaazi for lunch and dinner. It has been noticed in different schools that many boys do not want anything to do with school food. They feed on junk which we have provided for them and later we complain that they are weak and cannot even carry a 20-liter jerrycan.
Dear parents, what happened to the grub that was prepared at home and we proudly took the same to school? Do you know why our parents limited assorted foods but gave us a lot of cereal foods? It’s because they knew that in addition to school food, these edibles would add more value to the child. In those days, you would pack:
- 3 Kgs of hard-corn
- 1 Kg of gnuts
- Maybe a Kg of (Roasted) Soya Bean
- Maybe a Kg of Bushera/ Nsaano
- Maybe 1 Kg of well-fried duddies (without excess oils)
- Maybe a Kg of Sugar( Just to add in porridge)
- Maybe a litre of Appetizer( since many schools had a culture of not frying beans. They preferred boiling)
- Sometimes but not always a box of family biscuits.
These parents made sure they encourage us to eat school food. They did it in such a way that when you called home to ask for more grab, they would ignore you or delay your request until VD. Sometimes they would say that the grab you took should be able to last you throughout the term. Their idea was to encourage us to eat school food. Many boys were so healthy and energetic. But what happened?
Dear parents, as our sons are going back to school, we need to ask ourselves what we are sending them back with. Is it really necessary? Why do we waste a lot of money buying these packed foods yet we know very well how they are affecting the growth of our children? Why the many oils and sugars? Why all these eats? Have you taken time to find out the chemicals there-in? Why not teach your son to go natural. To make his own duddies, to roast or fry his own hardcorn, to roast his own g-nuts and much more. I feel disappointed that we’re buying a lot of unhealthy foods from groceries and supermarkets yet we feel it’s cool and stylish.
If this goes on unaddressed, we’re going to see a lot of “deconditioning” cases just like the story above.
Mind what your sons eat. I need a health expert or a nutritionist to weigh in on this but for now, am so concerned with what’s happening to our boys. Banafu nnyo nnyo nnyo.