child obesity

Fines for child obesity are a bad idea, but...

"Puerto Rico doesn’t have the answer" is the headline of Morgan Downey’s recent post about an island proposal to fine parents whose children are obese. Worst idea ever, he says.

Right up front: I don’t want to fine parents of obese kids either. Bad idea, in every way. But the post has enough meat to chew on that it’s worth checking in anyway. Here’s Downey’s comment upon disclosing the idea:

"Oh, that will help! 'Parents: Starve your children and you save a few bucks!' Wow, what a deal! That will overcome the cries of hungry children.”

I’ll dispense with the dumb crap before getting to the worthwhile issue: Starvation? Cries of hungry children? Is there no middle ground between starvation and obesity? One doesn’t starve children into good health, any more than one does to overfeed, or poorly feed, or exercise no control over food choices.


Skewed assumptions from an esteemed research outfit

Quite some time ago, researcher Brian Wansink invited me to periodically stop by the website operated his Food and Brand Lab at Cornell, and I keep forgetting. The upside of my failure is that there’s plenty to peruse, instead of just the one or two conclusions posted since my last visit.


More reason to bar marketing food to kids

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Research published in the Journal of Pediatrics says that obese kids are more susceptible to Big Food’s marketing come-ons, which should surprise no one, since they’re the ones (apparently) acting more often on those messages.

Ten overweight kids and 10 healthy weight kids were shown 120 logos, half of them to do with food, so their brain responses could be observed. From a synopsis:


A friend at the UN

Olivier De Schutter is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food, and one of my new best friends, even if we've never interacted. Via the BC (British Columbia) Food Security Gateway and the COMFOOD e-mail loop, I've just read De Schutter's five ways to tackle disastrous diets, and it hits bullseye after bullseye.


It's *still* not shaming, to me

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This time, it's the National Eating Disorders Association targeting a campaign against child obesity in Georgia

Back in April, it was the website Sociological Images, attacking the same campaign for the same reason, that it shames children. This morning's press release leads off...


Further word from BED pioneer

I recently came aware of therapist Amy Pershing via a blog post on psychcentral.com in which she was interviewed. I found a lot to agree with in what she said — that binge eating isn’t diet failure but is an eating disorder deserving of treatment, not societal scorn, for example.

But one passage bothered me enough to track her down for a few more questions. Here’s the passage, which came in response to interviewer Margarita Tartakovsky’s question: “What are common challenges that make it tougher to overcome BED or problems with overeating?”

”From a cultural perspective, we begin to teach people to distrust and dishonor their bodies from childhood. We do not, as a society, value size or shape diversity; in fact weigh bias and stigma fundamentally underlies any eating disorder. “Thin” has to be presumed more valued for the symptoms to coalesce. We are taught to distrust our food preferences and our appetites, especially as girls, from early in life. We are taught to “exercise,” but not to play. Children learn their bodies are to be controlled, not honored. So the ability to hear cues, to really feel the positive impact of playing and eating well, typically must be relearned.”

Additionally, weight and being “fat” is so completely vilified now that the idea of body wisdom is more remote than it has even been. We have a “war on obesity.” Literally now people are encouraged to be at odds with their bodies. Then, we are sold a profound “bill of goods” by the diet industry (with a 95% failure rate over 6 months), further removing us from simply listening to our needs. The current system makes recovery a veritable act of defiance. You have to be a renegade just to be in your body.


Foster care before bariatric surgery? Another view

The JAMA op-ed by Drs. David Ludwig and Lindsey Murtagh in which they raised the issue of moving extremely obese children temporarily into foster care, as an alternative to bariatric surgery, has drawn comment far and wide, including by me.


Remove obese kids from parents' care?

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I was asked twice yesterday for my penny's worth of reaction to this story, about whether extremely obese children should be put in foster care:

It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.


Child obesity as a national security issue

First, I want to recommend to you the Lunch Tray blog, written in Houston by Bettina Elias Siegel. She really works it, and is a constant source of information and courant perspective. This morning's case in point (for me; she posted this April 26) is an interview she did with retired Air Force General Norman Seip, a member of Mission Readiness, a bipartisan coalition of 200 retired senior military leaders who bemoan — and more importantly, work to redress —the fact that 75 percent of Americans ages 17-24 are unfit for military service, because they have criminal records, haven't graduated high school, or are physically unfit.


Another lame assertion by the Center for Consumer Freedom

Recent headline on the "Center for Consumer Freedom"'s blog: "News Flash: Parents Can Help Kids Overcome Obesity"

Well, duh — yet another foolish post from the bought-and-paid-for shill of the restaurant and food products industry that is wrong, even when it's right.


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