by Ryan on June 12, 2007

in Anything Else

I don’t have kids.  But I know that some kids are overweight.  Back in my Gen-X childhood, we called overweight kids “fat.”  There was a stigma, and those of us who were fat (I was a little chubby) either became funny people or lost the weight (which subsequently happened with my adolescent growth spurt).  But for years, Millennials (slowly becoming America’s fattest generation, who are slated to actually decrease their life-expectancy because of obesity) have been told by their doctors that they were “at-risk” for being “overweight”.  My doctors used the term “obese” plain and straight.  Why?  Because we were!  Now, doctors are at a point where they’re ready to call kids obese again

I completely agree with this point.  Sure the kid feels great when you use words they don’t understand or may sound nice, but what happens when that kid has diabetes with heart complications at 12 and sucks the marrow from our health care system as he gets older, fatter and less healthy.  By stigmatizing obesity, we can coerce parents get more engaged in raising healthy kids.  With rare exception, fat kids are not fat on their own.  Parents keep buying sugary foods and plop their kids in front of flashy screens.  Bad food + little activity = OBESE.  And it’s not just me, it’s also the CDC and the American Medical Association that are ready to go “old-school” on obesity.  Childhood obesity is a real problem with long-term consequences that need to be addressed.  The politically correct word-Nazis are literally killing our children.

Pic from Offsprung.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 12, 2007 at 10:55 pm

I agree with you 100%…I see what these kids eat during lunch every day and their obsession with Mickey D’s etc (I haven’t been to Mickey D’s in 4 years!) and it’s flat out disgusting. A couple of years ago, I took my Model UN kids to Yale for a conference and was grossed out by the garbage they ate…it didn’t help matters much for them when they discovered where the New Haven Starbucks was located…they drank their calories as a result of a Frappuchino (420 cals in a small Mocha Frap!!!). BTW, it’s about 530 when whole milk is used as opposed to 2%…but i digress. Doctors do need to be frank when it comes to obsese kids because it will help them out later in their lives and society in general.

I will add an additional thought to this discussion. While a healthy lifestyle should be promoted by parents and doctors working as a team to educate children into leading a healthy lifestyle, what is not needed is the government-types injecting themselves into this argument. In New Jersey, a law was recently instituted where sugar products cannot be sold in school cafeterias. This is honestly a bit extreme and sadly came about due to lack of parent involvement in their children’s lives. It has gone as far, especially in NJ, to ban cupcakes from birthday parties in elementary schools! Again, school districts should promote a healthy lifestyle, especially in the phys ed/health curriculum, but should come up with a happy medium regarding the availability of certain foods in the school…and most importantly, parents need to step up and act like parents instead of peers.


Chris June 12, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Correction: 420 cals in a medium/grande mocha frap, not a small/tall.


sarah June 14, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Fat kids…Don’t get me started… As a certified personal trainer, with a B.S. in Exercise Science and Sport Studies I know full well what the horrific obesity trend that is growing (ha!) amongst adults as well as children. Good for NJ for banning sugar in schools! If a doctor is too much of a sissy to call a fat kid fat and a parent has bad eating habits themselves and has yodels and hot pockets lying around the house as an after school snack, then at least we know in some schools they are getting the slap on the wrist they need.
Children born within the last 10-12 years are the first generation ever to have a shorter life expectancy then their parents. Studies show that obese children as young as 10 years old are starting to show symptoms of heart disease and diabetes. Not only are these kids slowly killing themselves they are also depressed. In the United States one in seven kids are obese. (Obese meaning 20% or higher over your “ideal” body weight).One study has shown that obese kids are just as depressed as those adults who have cancer!
For the most part, I would have to say that the public is unaware of the growing threat of childhood obesity. The easy way out is to blame it all on genetics but the real truth is it is due to a lack of physical activity, lack of physical education classes, lack of a healthy diet and lack of awareness. Most of America is unaware that 2/3 of a child’s waking hours per week is spent in front of the TV or some other type of gadget run by electricity. Remember that time growing up when Mom said, “Go outside and play!”. Kids these days look at you like you have three heads.Most of America is also unaware of the actual amount of physical activity a kid may come in contact with in school. Phys. Ed is seen as a “special” in most schools. What makes it so special? You barely see it. Most “special classes” equate to nearly 15 hours a school year. Fifteen hours is not enough time to provide a clear understanding about physical education.
And yes futhermore…the soda and vending machines. One can of soda equals 10 teaspoons of sugar. One can of soda a day equals a total of 15 pounds gained in one year from the soda alone. There needs to be healthier alternatives in school and dare I say again good for NJ for stepping up and not allowing 10 teaspoons of sugar dropping out of the vending machine or school cafeteria. Good for NJ for stepping up and not allowing bags of cookies and marshmellows falling into our kids mouths. And as for the cupcakes…GOOD FOR NJ. It’s not like the kid’s birthday is going to be celebrated without a fatty meal and an ice cream cake that he will have for dessert for the next 4 days anyway.
In turn, please watch your diet no matter what age you are. Physical activity at any age can not only create a healthier you, but aid in preventing disease and increase life span. Thirty minutes per day of physical activity is recommended. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the store in a parking lot, and watch what you do because somewhere you may be setting an example for a child.


Mike June 14, 2007 at 8:41 pm

Those are all good arguments Sarah. They are good arguments that people shouldn’t spend their days sitting on the bottoms eating ho hos all day long and calling a trip to the mailbox a month’s worth of exercise. However, they are not good arguments that the state is to play a role.

Many people are completely capable of downing an occassional treat without packing on the pounds. They should not suffer because of the irresponsibility of others. Likewise, if a person wants be a slob and allow their backside to grow as large as the one on the Junior Seantor from New York, that is their problem. The issue is personal responsibility, which means just that, personal responsibility.

I agree with Ryan. Stigma can do more good in this area than anything else. Go ahead and make fun of that person who orders 2 Big Macs, large fries, a hot fudge sundae with extra fudge, apple pie, and a diet coke. Tell them such a lifestyle is harmful. Tell them they’re degrading themselves. Heck, laugh at them for all I care. But don’t ruin what most people are capable of enjoying in moderation. Don’t take away the rights of those who choose to ruin to their own health. Don’t take away the rights of others to have a good laugh at their expense.

And one point Ryan brought up that you didn’t mention. Don’t deprive the world of a potentially talented comedian.

SHAME ON NEW JERSEY. People are capable of living their own lives. And as far as those who aren’t, they aren’t our problem. They are responsible for their own actions. People shouldn’t have their rights taken away because a few parents can’t keep the Twinkies out of their kid’s mouths.


Ryan June 16, 2007 at 10:36 am

I agree with Sarah’s point here. As I see it, the schools 1) already control so much of the child’s day and 2) are controlled by the government itself, so I don’t feel food standards would infringe more than any other procedure during the school day. I am not for government dictates on this issue, but if brought up as a plebescite, I think it would pass.

Plus, the bell system, the lockers, the core content curriculum in the academic and athletic classes are all controlled and monitored by the town– it’s just the nature of our public school system. Making sure kids have healthy food available in school is not the same as banning sugary goodies from an airport terminal or at the mall, but I can sympathize with the slippery-slope argument. However, for now those places are open to the adult public, who have already learned and are aware (or not, honestly)of what they should/should not eat for a healthy lifestyle.

Schools are supposed to teach kids how to be good, productive citizens, and I think making healthy foods available is a part of that. Fat kids usually turn into fat adults, who are just as bad as smokers and drug addicts in the amount of money they eat up in an HMO because of their health problems. If less kids turn into fat adults, it helps the health care system, and quiets those kids who’d otherwise grow up to be fat voters looking for someone else to pay for their medical care.

I also think that on some level the parents teaching the kids good food habits argument is potentially flawed. Fat parents usually have fat kids because their bad habits get passed onto their kids. Think of one’s own experience, too. My parents never went to college, but I did. I know more than my parents do ONLY when it comes to book-learning and knowledge. So, by teaching kids good eating habits in an educational setting, we’re giving them more tools for making healthier decisions, like teaching civics gives kids more tools for better political decision making. Newt Gingrich is an advocate for changing our “treatment” health-care system to a “wellness” system. Rather than treat the illness only when it occurs, let’s focus on the things that can avoid disease. I believe my position, and Sarah’s, is consistent with that.


Mike June 16, 2007 at 11:19 am

lol. That comment was the blog equivalent of “yes dear.”


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