Obesity is slowly killing a stunning number of people in the US, and it's a controversial topic to even broach. For many, it's about freedom: The freedom to eat what they want, exercise as they see fit, and look however they want. It's true. It's their right and if an adult doesn't or can't lose weight and chooses not to address it, then fine. But with obese children, it's another story altogether.
The Washington Post is doing a series on obesity, and last week, they had an interactive map detailing how obesity affects a child. The truth is staggering.
Obesity affects almost every system in a child's body and, according to the Post, the current generation of American children could have a shorter lifespan than their parents. If that isn't enough reason to keep your child fit, I don't know what is. Simply put: There is no excuse to have an overweight child.
Raising children isn't easy and raising a child with health issues is even harder. And there is no doubt that for some of us, raising a fit child is easier than for others. Whether it's because of genetics or because of hormonal imbalances or other physical issues, there are many reasons children can become obese. And it's our job as parents to address them.
It's simply not OK to say "he was hungry, so I fed him." Good nutritional habits start young and they have far-reaching effects. I have very picky children, so I feed them healthy versions of kid favorites. Instead of Velveeta Shells and Cheese, my children get organic, whole-wheat pasta with three different kinds of melted, real cheese and whole wheat bread crumbs. Instead of PBJ on white, my children get natural peanut butter and homemade, sugarless jam on whole wheat.
It isn't just about food choices, either. Children must be active, even more active than we are. If kids watch TV or eat junk, let them do it in moderation and have those things be the minority rather than the normal behavior.
Obesity is killing our children. Any parent who lets their child smoke, do drugs, tan, have risky sex, or engage in other dangerous activities that might shorten their lifespan would be told they needed to shape up. So why do we tiptoe around obesity? No one is suggesting it's easy. But something being "hard" isn't an excuse not to do it.
Obesity is killing our kids and it isn't acceptable or excusable.
Do you think obesity is a huge problem?
Image via Spree2010/Flickr