By Melissa Chapman
About the Writer:
Melissa Chapman and her brood of three live in the urban, concrete jungle of NYC – that’s two kids and her dog. Oh and she’s got a husband too.
I am guilty of it too, or at least I was for a REALLY long time; blaming my parents for my failings as a human being. And I guess the argument can hold some weight, but really for how long? We've all seen those 100 pound two year olds stomping around the stage on the set of the tabloid Maury Povich show, as audience members ream out their parents, and chastise them for feeding their behemoth babies fast food and soft drinks 24/7, while the parents, helplessly look out into the audience and say they cannot help themselves, or their babies will scream bloody murder until pacified with a big Mac and side of super-sized fries. And I'll admit it- these parents, put up on pedestals, just to be dragged down by those holier than though audience members, are probably at fault, for their obese babies to some degree. But what about the rest of us, the ones who have kids, that are not stick thin, but could perhaps stand to lose a few pounds. Do we say to our precocious 10 year-old girls, just on the cusp of puberty and teetering at the edge of asserting their independence and finding their own worth and beauty that they can't have that piece of cake for dessert, lest they become obese? Do we watch every morsel of food that passes their lips, so that we are not blamed for their pudginess, or worse that we lose custody of them?
Well, an editorial in JAMA today by Murtagh and Ludwig proposes that in the case of severe childhood obesity, we should be prepared to consider state intervention. Of course I understand it, I get it- and am in no way, saying that over feeding, not being vigilant about what our kids are consuming, is the mark of good parenthood. But as a parent, how much of what your child eats, past the point of toddlerdom, can you really control. I also believe that at some point, you have to take placing the blame on parents out of the equation and realize that kids, of a certain age, know better, but perhaps their addiction to food, has nothing to do with food, but is symptomatic of underlying problems.which are just being masked by their obesity. How many of us parents, do everything we can to provide, healthy, balanced nutritious meals to our kids who somehow find a way to sneak in unhealthy alternatives and how can a parent possibly police every single action their child undertakes.
I guess my real issue here is the idea of parents losing custody over their obese children, is it fair- and who’s to say it will rectify that obese child’s eating patterns and habits. There are no real answers, and certainly, in my opinion, taking a child away from their mother and father will more likely than not create more eating issues for a child who is obese.
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