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A recent study suggests that 1 out of 5 children (age 4) are obese.
As stated within:
The study is an analysis of nationally representative height and weight data on 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001. Children were measured in their homes and were part of a study conducted by the government’s National Center for Education Statistics. The results appear in Monday’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Researchers then went on to estimate the following:
Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese…
Life As A Parent
If I read this story 5 years ago, I would have likely skimmed over it and moved on without much thought. It’s not that I would have wished obesity on any child, but it simply wasn’t a topic that I followed closely before having children of my own.
I am now a proud father of two wonderful children. There is no denying that life changes after becoming a parent. My life now revolves around caring and providing for my children. If they hurt, I hurt. They mean everything to me. I can’t imagine ignoring their health and well being. Even the best legal counsel in the world couldn’t sway me to believe it is acceptable to allow children to eat themselves to obesity.
Since reading this article in the news yesterday, I’ve already seen arguments defending those parents whose children are overweight. At the top of the list, many have highlighted the troubled economy. Their argument is that it is too expensive to consume healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Yes, the economy has gone down the gutter as of late, but even tough times don’t give us a reason to overfeed our children. Does anyone actually believe that a poor economy somehow justifies obesity? Are we really that pathetic as a nation? What happened to stepping up and taking some responsibility? Times have certainly changed…
My mother raised two kids on her own. We certainly weren’t wealthy. That didn’t stop her from picking out what foods we ate. My brother and I didn’t do the shopping. Our voting rights were not recognized. We weren’t in charge. My mother ran the show. She bought the food. She cooked the food. We ate the food.
Yes, we had snacks, but there were rules in place in terms of what and when snacks were allowed. For example, we were allowed to pack one snack with lunch. That was it. I can remember telling my mother that the other kids had more than one snack with their sandwich. She would respond by reminding me that I’m not one of the other kids. She was not about to give in.
Looking back, I’m glad my mother took care of us the way that she did. She is all the proof that I need to completely discredit the economy as a viable excuse for obesity. My mother was (and still is) a very strong woman, and we certainly learned from her example. She did everything in her power to take care of us and I’ll never be able to thank her enough.
We can’t blame a poor economy for nationwide obesity. Personally, I already run a very small business and the slow economy hasn’t helped. Tough times don’t mean that I’ll start stuffing my kids with crap however. We still do our best to purchase and consume healthy foods. It’s all about priorities. I’d rather cut back in other areas. Nutrition and health are at the top of my priority list when it comes to spending.
Furthermore, what happened to kids getting outside to play? I practically lived outside as a kid. That’s all we ever wanted to do. No one wanted to sit inside and watch television. It’s natural for kids to get outside and play. It isn’t natural to sit inside and watch Elmo re-runs all day.
Is it really too much for parents to get off their ass and play outside with the kids? You can go to the park for free. Throw a ball in the yard. Take your kids for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Find something that you can do together. I cherish the time with my kids. I’d play outside all day if I could. My son would too. He was in the gym with me last night and asked me to build him a sandbag. He’s not even 3 and he’s already trying to lift our sandbags. He follows my lead. He sees that his parents are active and he wants to join in on the fun. When you lead, your kids will follow.
Another common excuse is lack of knowledge regarding various health related topics. I don’t buy into this excuse one bit however. I have no sympathy for parents who complain that they don’t know what foods are healthy for their children. Does the word “Google” ring a bell? How about you turn off American Idol and instead do some research regarding your child’s health? Bookstores are also great. You can even go to the library and check out books for free!
No one really knows anything about being a parent until it happens. There isn’t an instructional book that you can follow step by step. My wife and I read everything that we can find regarding the development of our children (ex. cognitive, social, physical, etc.). Infants aren’t able to make decisions on their own. We as parents must assume the role.
If you have time to make a child, you better have time to take care of the child. No one is born with answers. Parents need to actively search for answers. If my kid has a problem and I don’t know how to fix it, you can be damn sure that I will not stop looking until I can.
Lastly, I’ve never seen a child become obese overnight. It’s a gradual process. It’s not as if obesity breaks out like a rash. It takes time. Parents have the ability (and time) to make changes before obesity robs their children of their health and vitality.
We need to stop coddling ignorant parents as if they were the toddlers. Parents need to step up to the plate and stop making excuses. I’m beyond disgusted with this entire topic. I can’t imagine where we’ll be in another 20 years. I can only hope that my prediction is wrong.56 comments