Like many of you, I am hooked on Dr.Oz. I try to watch his show every morning before work. This week there was a segment on overweight kids and whether their parents should considered abusive. I believe that weight and obesity are important challenges that many children are dealing with. But to consider the parents abusive? I just don’t think so and here are five reasons why:
1. There is a major push in marketing to attract our children to fast food, sugar-filled cereals, and junk food. It is everywhere: tv, internet, and in schools. It is impossible to avoid the influence.
2. Most parents do not intentionally harm their children. I find that most are just trying to do the best they can at the time. There may be a lack of education and understanding about the best ways to feed our children in a healthy manner, but this falls under neglect rather than abuse.
3. Children do what they see. With the obesity rates sky rocketing for adults, what example do you expect the kids to follow? We need to encourage parents to take better care of their own health as well as that of their children.
4. The most unhealthy foods are the cheapest. It is a shame that in low-income areas, it is practically impossible to find fresh fruits and vegetables. The options just are not there for them or terribly overpriced.
5. We’ve become a nation that is addicted to dieting. Children need more activity to help fight the weight gain. Despite the exercise programs offered with video game systems, most are not using them. Our children need encouragement and examples to get interact with others without gaming controllers in hand.
So, let me know what you think. Is it abuse to have an overweight child? What would you do to help?