Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Childhood Obesity

 This is sort of a blog request from @WineePamela after some tweets I wrote about how to fight Obesity.  I've written about weight loss before, but I really feel weird about doing it because I'm a pretty big guy.  I guess I'm like a coach, where I know all about the game but I wasn't the greatest player.

If you are really concerned that kids are too fat, then you have to approach things from a more pragmatic standpoint and stop with all the slogans, easy answers, and non-expert speculation. So to fight childhood obesity...

1. Parents:

When kids are little, all parents ever do is tell kids to stop running around, slow down, sit still... and finish your dinner.  I thought all the hoopla over Kids meal toys at McDonald's was silly because most kids I've ever seen eat there waste more than half of their food.

So maybe be glad when the kids are doing winds sprints while giggling and if the kids don't finish their dinner... give them a little less.

2. Coaches:

What I remember the most about playing sports in middle and high school was all the punishment exercise and yelling.  I got horrible anxieties before practices.  Coaches do more to limit physical activity later in life than any video game console.  When one guy screws around, the football/basketball/wrestling coach has everyone run wind sprints, do laps, or do some form of calisthenics as punishment.  This is a horrible message to send.

3. Teachers:

Coming from a food science background, I naturally think it's an ideal subject for high school students to tie together chemistry, biology, and chemistry, but it also gives you a great background in nutrition.  Kids should know what a calorie is, how to calculate the number of calories they need to maintain/lose/gain weight, and how to track their caloric intake.  it's also a great way to learn which foods are the best sources of protein/iron/vitamins/calcium/potassium.  This is very practical knowledge that also reinforces what the kids have already learned in school, while also reinforcing scientific method and critical thinking skills.

4.  Other Kids:

Kids are mean and being fat seems to be one of the last socially acceptable forms of discrimination in this country.  This is a tragic combination.  Fat people in general get very little sympathy because they are just seen as sloth-like lazy buffoons.  Other kids can help by not shaming or being cruel to obese kids.  Furthermore, they can make friends with obese kids and include them in their physical activities.  Shame does not work.  If your feeling down on yourself, you slow down, stay out of view... you don't go for a walk or go exercise.

5.  Food Activists:

I know you think everything is all a big conspiracy and that all processed foods are poison... but seriously, knock it off.  Misinformation serves only to confuse people and prevents them from reaching a solid, science based understanding of food.  Misinformation also allows people to peddle their ridiculous weight loss schemes and bilk the public for billions of dollars a years.  Please stop.

6. Fashion Industry:

Pencil thin models give people an unrealistic yard stick to judge themselves and others by.  We no longer think hometown girls are cute because they don't look nearly as hot as the model.  This also creates a much bigger gap bewteen the beautiful people and the obese.  
If you are a big kid, your clothes aren't only bigger, but they're completely different.  Why?  Why can't you get big sizes from Gap, Adidas, Champion, and Nike.  How easy is it to get active wear in big sizes in the same style as the smaller sizes?  And while I'm at it, stop putting flames or dragons... or flaming dragons on big & tall clothing.  What is that?  So not only do fat people feel ostracized, they have special fat clothes that look completely different.

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1 comment:

  1. Only recently have I been able to buy pants again without paying $3 more for larger sizes... I can relate to this post.


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