Mission Readiness

On childhood obesity, acting and not acting are both choices

In two prior posts, I’ve agreed with influential blogger Morgan Downey that the proposal in Puerto Rico to fine the parents of obese children is a bad idea, and that the food environment has a great deal to do with the globesity crisis.

But I balked at the implication that parents don’t have primary responsibility for obese children. I wouldn’t have said so before 5 or 10 years ago — because I didn’t get it — but now it’s clear: incorporating fitness and nutrition into children’s worldview is a basic ingredient of child protection.

If fines aren’t the right tack, though, what can be done collectively? I usually fail, but I’ll try to be brief. Clearly, the basic choices are to act or not to act.

Overweight isn't *the* issue, but it often is *an* issue

A gaggle of eating disorder groups put out a release this week praising Michelle Obama for comments she made about weight during a Google Hangout, emphasizing healthy lifestyle and avoiding any talk about weight with her daughters.

I, of course, talk about weight all the time. Few topics, including this one, are black and white, but I acknowledge the gulf.

A slender silver lining

As you know, I talk about obesity and I talk about food addiction, always trying to make clear that the two aren’t analogous.

You can be obese without being a food addict, and you can be a food addict without being obese. It’s true that there is significant overlap between the populations, and it’s also true that engaging in behavior that leads to obesity can also lead to food addiction, especially if one has the genetic predisposition.

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.

Subscribe to RSS - Mission Readiness