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childhood obesity
fresh fruits and vegetables
fruits and vegetables
dental appointment
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poor nutrition
french fries
healthy diet
everything in moderation
junk food
eating habits
Childhood Obesity - Should It Be A Criminal Offense?
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Childhood Obesity   -   Should It Be A Criminal Offense?

There are so many children who are overweight today. I am frequently disturbed when I see these children. Don't their parents understand how important a healthy diet is? Why do they keep feeding their children so many fattening and sugary foods. Don't they know that they are setting these children up for major health issues in the future, and at a very young age?

Adults have the right to eat any way that they want to. While I may pass judgement on the 2 double cheeseburgers and extra large french fries that are on your plate, it is your health at risk and I hope that you know the potential consequences for your actions.

However, children are different.

Children will eat as much junk food as you allow them too. They do not understand that they need to limit the amount of fat they consume each day and that eating a lot of sugary foods not only adds a lot of calories to their diet, but also makes them feel sluggish and moody.

Children do not understand the positives of a healthy diet - unless you teach them. My children understand because I discuss it with them. Frequently. The quantity of junk food is limited in our house and the amount of candy they can eat is maybe a piece or two a week. They know that I disapprove of both, but most importantly they know WHY I disapprove of both. Everything in moderation I always tell them.

So, what about the parents?

Parents who feed their children fast food at one or more meal each day. Parents who rarely provide fresh fruits and vegetables to their children. Parents whose toddlers have multiple cavities at their first dental appointment because of poor nutrition as well as poor dental hygiene. What should happen to them?

Should there be accountability for the parents who do not properly feed their children?

Part of me says YES. Obesity is a problem in the United States and starting children on this path as toddlers is just not acceptable.

Part of me says NO. It is extremely difficult to hold the parents accountable for the eating habits of a child. Unless we provide childhood nutrition education classes to parents, we cannot assume that they have the knowledge to provide a healthy diet to their children.

What do you think? Do you think that parents should be held accountable for the eating habits of their children? I'd love to hear your opinion on this very important topic.


Street Talk

Tina9  

I totally agree about the food stamps AJ! I actually recieve food stamps right now and I find myself having to plan grocery trips very carfully to make sure that I am able to get get all the fresh fruits and veggies that my kids need. It's really a shame that it's cheaper to buy two boxes of twinkies than it is to buy one small carton of fresh berries or one bag of apples. It's cheaper to buy 3 or 4 two Liters of soda than it is to buy 1 carton of orange juice! But hey, who said food stamps were supposed to be convenient? They are supposed to be used to provide NUTRITIOUS FOOD to people who can not afford it otherwise! I think it would make a measurable change in childhood obesity numbers if the Food Stamps program quit allowing junk food purchases and informed the recipients about the healthy options they have. Heck, 99% of the people with food stamps don't even know that they can buy food seeds and plants with them because nobody bothered to tell them! BTW, I have big awsome garden now thanks to the food stamps and within the next month or so will be producing so much fresh food that I won't need the food stamps anymore and my kids will be eating super healthy! How's that for a novel idea, lol.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

This is fantastic Tina9. Sorry for the late response - just found your comment deep in my inbox! But I love your story and love that you are providing healthy options within your means. I want to learn more about buying food seeds and plants with food stamps - I didn't know it was possible but it is an incredible use of food stamps - delay a small amount of food consumption today for a huge amount of food consumption tomorrow. I hope you harvest enough to preserve for your family during the winter months!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

no, it is not a crime for children to be obese. there are various factors of childhood obesity.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

There are a lot of factors. However, how many obese children are due to health issues vs. too much sugar and fatty foods?

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good article! I am overweight and so is my husband and two of my 4 children. We have started to slowly change our eating habits, but our main issue is exercise. We hardly ever eat out. My husband is a caterer and we always have fresh, home cooked meals. I realize that without exercise, eating in moderation is still no good. I think that parents should be educated on proper nutrition and how to help their children. Poor nutrition and being fat is not a crime, and it shouldn't be; at least in my opinion anyway!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

With all of the electronic devices available to us today, it can be hard to break away for family exercise. I'm happy to hear that you are making changes toward a healthier lifestyle. Congrats!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

It is sad to see that kids are so fat, and yes, especially for younger kids, the parents are to blame. But poor parenting skills isn't a criminal offense. What is the alternative? Take the kids from their parents? Fine them? Force them into weight loss programs? And the big question is, where are we to draw the line? The next thing you know, children with bad haircuts will be having their parents' parenting skill called into question.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you for sharing your opinion, Rodders. While poor parenting skills isn't a criminal offense, neglect is. Is it a stretch to consider the health problems parents are causing by misfeeding their children could be construed as neglect? While I certainly don't believe giving the government more power to interfere in our lives is the answer, I do think something should be done to reduce childhood obesity. And I do believe that limiting the types of foods that can be purchased with food stamps would be a great place to start.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
AnnMarie  

I hate to say this but in my experience as a teacher I saw many overweight or obese children in my classes and their parents were typically overweight or obese themselves. The parents don't control their own unhealthy eating habits and until they do their children are destined to take after them. I have also seen many parents use food, usually unhealthy or laden with sugar, as a reward or for emotional comfort. It's like they are living in a cave where no one knows how to eat well or reads anything or hears anything about healthy eating. Sheesh! There is no excuse for this. Thanks for writing this article. I hope people share it especially with those who really need to read it.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, AnnMarie for sharing your insight. Obesity is a problem in all age groups. It's the kids who don't know better that worry me; setting them up for future healthy and eating difficulties.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
joe witt  

Sorry to be a contrarian but I don't agree. Anybody who doesn't know how to eat healthy probably doesn't know cigarettes are dangerous either. Cut out the junk food and stop or cut back on the processed food and you're halfway there. It's not just diet, you need to pry these kids away from their computer games and get them outside moving around. With as much information out there today there is no excuse, it's just easier for people and less hassle to eat unhealthy crap. Regrettably, while I understand wanting to hold some parents accountable, I say no way. That would involve the government and I dread to think of giving the government even more power.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Joe, I appreciate your opinion. And there is some truth in what you say, giving the government more control is probably not a good answer. But, WIC and food stamps already have some restrictions on what you can buy with them. I'd like to see more restrictions on overly processed foods and high sugar junk food. Perhaps that would help. What do you think?

Reply
  about 7 years ago
joe witt  

Hadn't thought of that aspect, totally could get onboard with that, good idea!

  
  about 7 years ago
Al4256  

Good article, we need to take a look at ourselves and take responsibility for our children's welfare.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Al. I am taking responsibility for mine, I hope others do as well.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Ally D  

Such an important topic. Like you brought out, it's terrible how many of the parents out there are so under-educated about nutrition. It becomes such a problem for the kids because they develop a distorted taste for real, healthy food. They become set up to fail with their eating habits and the cycle goes on. It's no excuse though, even children's tv shows constantly try to teach kids about nutrition and fitness. It's too sad when the tv becomes a better example than the parents. So disturbing. Good article.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Funny you mention this. I was watching Sid the Science kid on PBS today with my 3 year old. The episode was about getting out and moving - they took the preschoolers to a local park and taught them yoga. After, they went to a community garden to teach the kids about eating healthy and growing your own food. They picked and ate their snack right from the garden. Funny how an animated show aimed at preschoolers hit the nail right on the head!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I'm curious to know what the ad breaks were promoting?!!

  
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

I blame the parents for being ignorant of nutrition. Have you ever observed people's baskets at the super markets? They're full of junk, all non food. Those breakfast cereals contain mostly sugar. I was a sugar junkie as a kid. Most kids love sugar. It's up to the parents to set boundaries. I wouldn't want to deprive my little one of all sweet treats, but I'd limit it, and bake from scratch as much as possible. McDonald's is a culprit too. I thinks kids are never too young to learn about nutrition, and learn how to cook. Kids love to cook, and it'll take some pressure off of the working parent. I was cooking at five, not well, but heck, I was five. Received praise from the grown ups, and I developed into a pretty good cook. Sugar is a monster, and that includes the simple carbs. Good article AJ.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Joan. It's interesting what you say about the supermarkets. I don't realize how healthy the items are in my grocery cart until I see what the people in front of me or behind me are buying. Makes me want to lecture them sometimes.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Outstanding AJ. It starts with the parents. Most kids that are obese come from parents that don't care or have the time or make the time for their kids. Throw some food in their face, that will shut them up for awhile. We see how that turns out.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Daniel, I think parents take the easy way out too often. They put a child in front of the tv instead of engaging them with a book or game or outside playtime. They give in to the requests of the child for junk food instead of giving them a healthy snack alternative. They allow children to run the household instead of setting rules and punishing them when they don't follow them. My opinion, parents need to stand up and be parents.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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