April 13, 2012

The Obesity Boogeyman


Some New York parents want to ban ice cream trucks near parks where children play.
"Mom Sarah Schenck shared with the Post: 'Nobody wants to be a crank, but one in three kids are going to be obese or diabetic by high school,' she said. 'When my kids see other kids get ice cream, they just start begging me. I just don’t think these are the fights we should be having.'"
Have these people never read a parenting book? (Parenting With Love & Logic, my personal fave).

Very simple solution:
"Roger's mommy is in charge of Roger and it's none of your business. You had a lollipop at the bank today and I think that's enough sugar. I've got some snacks in my purse for you if you'd like."
"NOOOOO I WANT ICE CREAM WAH!" (My daughter actually says the word "Wah").
"You have three choices: You may go play, you may have a snack, or we can go home. Which would you like to do?"
The ice cream seller is not a drug dealer. Obesity is not a ravenous child-eating demon poised to devour your daughter the moment you relent.

Children must be exposed to temptation in order to understand the benefits to healthy eating choices. They must be taught the difference between "treats" and just pigging out on junk all the time.

I have a dear friend who chooses to feed her family mostly home grown produce and organic treats. She steers the kids away from high fructose corn syrup and makes an effort to provide nutritional snacks for the kids.

She does not, however, forbid her children from ever having candy. Instead she focuses on communicating with the kids after they eat sweets. She asks them to describe how they feel after devouring that fistful of Peeps. Because, of course, we all feel like ass after overindulging in sweets. We just try to ignore it.

I think this is a great approach!

A recent study from the University Of Louisiana actually indicates that children who are given sweets on a fairly regular basis are 22% less likely to become overweight or obese.

I'm obese. I've gone up and down my entire life. Right now, I'm up. What metabolically endowed folks don't seem to understand, however, is that we fat folks are very attuned to our children's health. Many of us are working to keep our children active (in fact teach them to enjoy exercise). We also do a lot of reading on the subject and consult with our pediatricians.

We understand, more intimately than many, the psychology of fat.

  • Teach your child to love an active lifestyle; 
  • Don't forbid sweets; 
  • Help them understand from an early age what good nutrition can mean for them throughout their lives. 
Or, you know, just ban ice cream trucks. That'll take care of the problem. -Kim


1 comment:

  1. When I was younger, I knew a boy who wasn't allowed to eat any sweets at all. Neither was he allowed crisps or cakes, or any of the things that we, as children took for granted.

    By the time he went to high school and discovered independence, he started indulging in all the treats that he was previously forbidden from eating.

    Now he is grossly obese with many health problems. The study makes absolute sense.


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