Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Child Obesity = Bad Parenting

This is a reply to someone arguing the above.

I think it is unwise to assume bad parenting without knowing the whole story.

Many children are fed by the state (breakfast and lunch in school) and no one is accusing them of abuse even though they provide more food to these children than many of the parents do.

The schools take away physical activity, push sweets as rewards, give so much homework there is no play time after school.

The marketing people teach children and parents what is healthy. "Snack foods" and "Junk foods" are marketed as healthy. "Low fat", "High Protein", "Whole Grain", "Heart Healthy"

Then there are the growing number of children with sensory problems and those on medications that affect weight.

It isn't safe to let kids "run the streets" like we did so if you can't afford or don't have the time for organized activities then it is a challenge to get regular activity.

It is widely know that stress affects weight, I have yet to hear anyone mention how stressed kids are nowadays. Be better in school, play an instrument, play a sport, volunteer, etc. Kids are over worked and under played. They have no outlet for their stress.

People have grown up thinking the food pyramid is healthy. That is what they were taught. They are using the knowledge they were given. Not everyone knows the information is bad. They are uninformed. They are doing the best with what they have.

Before the government starts blaming parents for the childhood obesity epidemic they should take a look in the mirror and realize that they laid the foundation by, among other things, allowing food companies to have input on Health campaigns, taking PE and recess out of the school and allowing deceptive marketing and research practices.

I think the obesity epidemic is a result of a bunch of small societal changes ranging from the structure of the school system, misleading marketing, environmental changes, performance expectations of children. They all work together to build the problem.

Assuming the world is full of parents that allow their children to drown themselves in Oreo cookies is not the answer.

I have a child who is considered overweight and I would be livid if someone accused me of being a bad parent without knowing the problems and trials my son goes through everyday.

TBH, I think blaming childhood obesity on bad parenting is no better than blaming autism on bad parenting. Unfortunately I have experience in both realms.

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