April 29

A cause of childhood obesity?

2  comments

cartoon_eat.jpg

“Can Johnny come out and eat?”

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  1. Darnit, I saw the headline in my newsreader and figured it would be some informative article you’d written on the topic, with some new perspective, like the one about fibre being bad for our colons.
    I wrote a blog entry, not to terribly long ago, where I accused the government/establishment obsession with childhood obesity of being a cause of childhood obesity. I noted that they get all hysterical about “30% of children being over weight”, therefore generically urging us to control our children’s diets, cut back on their fat intake, et cetera, even though this means we are needlessly doing that to the 70% who are, by their definition, not overweight in the first place.
    The most likely way for a kid to grow into an adult who has healthy dietary self-regulation is for the kid to be allowed to regulate his diet. Either making a kid eat less OR clean his plate is a setup for either overeating or eating disorders.
    Kids should be given a range of healthy food choices, but be allowed to choose what, and how much, from within that range.
    Treating 100% of kids as if they need strict dietary control, when 70% of them aren’t even overweight, is more likely to cause dietary issues.
    Even among the overweight, calorie restriction diets just set the body’s goal fat store higher, so even among the 30% the hysteria may well be causing more obesity, not less.
    The reason childhood obesity is lower in other countries isn’t purely because our kids are fat and decadent…it’s as much or more because other countries have less access to food and leisure. Complaining about Fat Americans is a sort of global socialist Sour Grapes.
    Hi Kaz–
    I sort of agree with you on this one, especially the part about giving kids a range of healthy foods and allowing them to choose what and how much.  But there is something else going on.  When I was in grade school a long time ago, there was maybe one fat kid in the class.  Now a full third or more are fat by anyone’s estimation, so I know more is going on than governmental manipulation of statistics.  I”m willing to believe the worst of our ‘leaders’ in Washington, but in this case I think they’re right about the problem, but wrong about the solution.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  2. I still maintain that 100-30=70, and seventy percent of kids NOT being overweight is not nearly as bad as they’re making it sound.
    If most kids are not overweight, then the focus should not be on changing “children”, only the small minority who are.
    And, even then, a lot of the proposed solutions are worse than the problem.
    Note that I’m not saying the thirty percent statistic is government manipulation, or at least am not concerned about whether or not part of it is. I’m saying that even if it’s true, it’s a small percentage of the whole, and in part it’s a result of things being better here than in the rest of the world, not a sign of some special fault with American culture.
    If the socialist governments of other countries didn’t effectively prevent the kind of prosperity we have here from happening there, THEY would be facing the same “problem”.
    It’s an embarrassment of riches, probably the best kind of problem to have.
    Hi Kaz–
    It’s 30 percent who are obese, but more like half who are overweight to some extent.
    When I was a kid I ate like a hog as did all my friends.  We all ate ice cream, mashed potatoes, bread out the wazoo, and all the stuff I recommend people avoid today.  And we were all thin–at least as kids.  There is something going on now that’s different.  And I’m not sure it’s just that kids are eating more because society in general is more affluent.  In fact, the largest rates of childhood obesity are in the children of the least affluent.
    We need to seek the cause because I fear that it is going to lead to a large health care problem down the road.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

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