Obesity in kids is a fast growing epidemic that has gained the attention of the media, the medical and academic communities, and of course, politicians. In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama has made this her signature issue and has even spearheaded a national taskforce aimed at raising childhood obesity awareness and offering solutions to reverse the trend.
This September, the first ever “Childhood Obesity Month” will be instituted, and while these initiatives appear to be noble, it’s actually very sad.
Sad that we’ll now experience a month of empty political rhetoric tossed around by media craving politicians.
Sad that we’ll see dozens of talk shows, news stories and published articles on the dizzying increase in obesity related issues in kids.
Sad that more blame will be placed on the school systems that feed our kids substandard food and provide access to vending machines.
Sad that we’ll point the finger at technology for fattening our kids.
Sad that we continue this fight without accountability and serious action.
Sad because we don’t have an obesity problem in kids…we have an obesity problem in adults!
Common sense can tell us that active, healthy parents tend to have active, healthy kids, whereas inactive parents have a higher degree of inactive, overweight children.
A recent study by Stanford University of Medicine researchers confirms this —
“The factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents.”
It’s that simple.
So instead of launching a fight against obese kids, why doesn’t the First Lady launch a war on obese adults?
Right now, obesity related costs are the number one expense in the health care system. The Center for Disease Control asserts that the direct costs from obesity exceed 150 billion annually. Indirect costs—which are more difficult to measure—are considerably higher.
Let’s initiate meaningful incentives for getting active or impose financial consequences for those who choose to remain unhealthy. Anti-smoking efforts are a perfect example. No significant decrease in usage was achieved until serious financial consequences were implemented.
Do we really expect that we can have healthy kids and unhealthy adults?
Think about that for a minute… Are we really asking our kids to be our role models and lead by example?
That’s not only silly, that’s sad.
6/3/2010 at 6:59 PM