Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Real Epidemic

What if every one in five children were being exposed to conditions that would lead to high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease, sleep apnea, learning and memory problems, higher incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma?

You’d probably say those are some shitty parents, right? Well, the fact is that children are being exposed to these conditions because they are fat—that’s right, one in every five children are overweight, that’s doubled in the past 30 years.

I saw Bill Clinton speak a couple months ago and one thing he discussed was children and diabetes. I thought that was a lame topic, but I was pretty tipsy and just happy to see him so he could have just eaten a ham sandwich and I would have been happy.

Yesterday, my date to see Clinton told me her boss’ little girl is in the hospital and they think she has diabetes. This really pissed me off. Her boss is fat. Orca fat. And, his children are fat, too. There ain’t nothing wrong with being big boned or heavy set, but healthy. But, when you are obese, and your children are obese, there is a serious problem.

I think we are all pretty aware of how serious the health problems for fat children. But there are other concerns. According a study, more than 282,000 overweight children younger than 7 do not fit into most child safety or booster seats available on the market.

There are emotional concerns, too. Obese children may feel isolated and lonely and it can be devastating on their self-esteem and identity problems.

Some questions:
--Shouldn't these parents have to take some responsibility for their children's weight problems? Is obesity a form of child abuse?
--Why shouldn’t a parent have be liable if their children are being fed junk and allowed to spend all their free time in front of the TV? While it may not be as severe as starving a child, it certainly can be as destructive on the body and deadly.
--What about the government? Tommy Thompson calling reporters fat isn't goingt to cut it. Our government ships crap food through Title I and the school lunch program, allow vending machines in schools and then cut gym for test prep. That’s certainly a recipe for fat kids.
--Who is teaching these kids about nutrition? Roughly two-thirds of American adults are above a healthy weight, and one-third are obese, I'd hardly say they would be qualififed.

While doing some research (read: googling), I came across this article. In 1996, a California woman's 13-year-old daughter weighed 680 pounds when she died of congestive heart failure. The woman was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse. She was eligible for up to a year behind bars. She was acquitted of felony child abuse, punishable by up to six years in prison. The prosecutors said they were not claiming that raising a fat child is a crime. Instead, they charged her because of the condition of her daughter's body, especially the bedsores.

It is pretty sad that because the emotional scars and long-term health problems caused by obesity are not as conspicuous as bedsores, no one is accountable except the child that must live with these problems.

13 Comments:

Blogger Maime said...

OK- I am all caught up on Circle V. No more accusing me of being a bad friend...

I read about poker, the Jesus, one year anniversary, baseball, L-lo's ass, and everything else. I feel liberated that I am caught up... I took the time because that is what real friends do...

12:22 PM  
Blogger V said...

You're still a bad friend.

Are those tits real in that picture :)

12:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

As with most things, it comes down from the top. How can we expect parents who eat poorly to feed their children a balanced diet? But the secondary key to this problem is exercise. We don't know how to walk or even move any longer in this country. Children's bodies are inflating and their minds are turning to sawdust as they eat junk food in front of a television set. Please remind me why we're #1, or are we still?

12:28 PM  
Blogger V said...

B: You're right about that and it depends on which #1 you mean...cause there are a lot I'm not proud of.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Virgle Kent said...

Wow, now all of a sudden the fact that I wasn't born in America doesn't seem "that bad"

How would you regulate this? I mean, my kids wont be fat.Thanks to Brooke Burke’s and I perfect genetic makeup, but I'll be damned if anyone ever tried to tell me what to feed them or not feed them.

1:47 PM  
Blogger V said...

VK: Good point. With that perfect genetic makeup, maybe you could vounteer to populate more of the earth? Can you handle non stop candy shop, for the greater good?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

V-
Agreed. Obesity is a major problem. But, the problem isn't necessarily a result of bad parenting. The bigger problem is the food industry, corporate farming, and the government's role in both. It is not only making us fatter, it is also reducing the quality of our foods, ruining our health, ruining the environment, and driving small farmers into bankruptcy, which in turn is transforming middle America into a depopulated wasteland. What's worse, is that we produce way more than we can consume so we dump it on other countries at prices so cheap, their local small farmers can't compete and also go bankrupt. I suggest you read "Raising Less Corn, And More Hell" by George Pyle. It will not only open your eyes, it will make you want to punch the food industry in the throat. When the only food available is shit, then we eat shit, and we feed our children shit.

p.s. tell Serpentine hi for me.

2:10 PM  
Blogger V said...

Shawn: What a day, I hear from you and Dan. And, all good points, I understand that the food industry has a lot to do with it, but I think this also has a lot to do with parents making bad choices for themselves and their children.

See you in a couple weeks :)

2:18 PM  
Blogger Asian Mistress said...

There are also some parents who starve their children to be skinny. Mostly girls.

So, it goes to both extremeties, as with most things...

But that's just bad regardless of the child's weight.

3:50 PM  
Blogger V said...

AM: I take a firm anti-starvation stance, but I also think there needs to be more attention paid to the overweight as well as the scarily thin. Both are harmful to a child's health.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Shawn said...

V-
I did write that post in haste so perhaps I understated the role of parents in all of this. It's true that parents are responsible in part, but I really believe that much of the blame still lies with the food industry. We produce so much corn in this country, far more than we can eat, so we develop corn by-products and feed the rest to our livestock (despite the fact that they aren't equipped to digest it properly, creating the conditions for e.coli bacteria to thrive.) Have you ever noticed that corn sweetener is in practically everything that is on the shelf in a grocery store? The addition of those processed/ refined sugars are a large part of the obesity epidemic and the onset of type II diabetes. That's why I can't entirely fault the parents; it's damn near impossible to find anything that doesn't contain corn syrup. The only alternative is a (strict) vegetarian lifestyle, but that isn't necessarily the best option for developing children.
Maybe our fast-paced culture is as much to blame as the parents. Who has time to cook up wholesome meals -- from scratch -- for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I'm just a student, and not even raising a family, and I have trouble doing it.

p.s. Seriously though, read "Raising Less Corn, More Hell."

9:36 PM  
Blogger V said...

Shawn: Yep, it’s shitty all around—I don’t entirely fault the parents either. Generally, the least expensive foods are the worst for you—they are processed and made of more refined sugars and stripped of their nutritional value.

And, I will pick up that book, it sounds very interesting.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

Obese kids are sick and need help badly For a child to grow up obese is horrible. They never play outside, participate in youth sports, and they get diabetes and other illnesses.

7:39 AM  

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