What to do about Obesity


What to do about Obesity

  A Harvard professor, it is reported, maybe accurately, maybe inaccurately, has contended that parents with obese children should have their children taken from them. Like it’s the reverse of having a starving or malnourished child.

  There are lots of reason for that position. An obese child will probably have health problems and probably won’t live as long as the average person. Or, perhaps they will live a long time but at a great cost to the public via Medicaid or later Medicare.

  Of course, we need a definition of obese. If we follow the BMI (Body Mass Index) charts that put desired weights with height ( most of us are under-tall), most of us are overweight. However, obesity is usually defined as 20 per cent over the BMI reading. Then there are degrees of that such as grossly obese, and so forth.

  So, what to do about the children? I know a Mexican lady whose daughter is grossly obese. Her mother doesn’t encourage her eating, tries to make her get exercise, monitors her goings and comings and friends and so forth. She hasn’t had much success except when she returns to Mexico, or sends her daughter to Mexico to stay with relatives. There, the food includes more vegetables, but the village life-style features lots of exercise (translate “work”) and little t.v. or electronics.

  A Taiwanese guy I met several years ago was stationed by his government in Chicago for five years. He gained 25 pounds. He loved Big Macs and just about all American fatty foods. His name was Chang and he had a buddy also named Chang. We referred to the former as “Fat Chang”. He later moved back to Taiwan via Saudi Arabia and I hear he lost a lot of weight.

  It seems our environment has as much to do with being over-weight, obese, or whatever you call it. Too little exercise or just normal activity, too much lounging, watching, too much food, or, at least access to food.  Taking children away from parents sounds a bit extreme particularly since we don’t know the environment where they’d be put. Only skinny foster parents? Only skinny government workers?

  Obesity is now a cause of our First Lady. Not a bad cause, but she likes French Fries and her husband wolfs down big burgers. Huckabee, former Baptist Minister, Arkansas governor, presidential candidate, and now TV entertainer/commentator, was one of the first to attack obesity. He lost a lot of weight, lectured about eating, but it looks like he’s losing the battle. So, do we now dog our leaders about eating or do we remove them from the public eye because of the bad example they set? Don’t forget about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who was mocked by his political opponents for being fat.

  Obesity IS a problem, but do we make it an obsession? Too thin models and body conscious actors and actresses, too much teen-age focus on body, create obsessions in the opposite direction. Will too much talk about food and weight, combined with forced supposedly healthy menus in schools or in restaurants create more problems?

  Maybe we just need to keep getting out the correct and proper information on nutrition to the general public as well as we know it. Keep in mind that the official government and scientifically designed food pyramid has literally been turned on its head. The environment changes, people change, information changes, science changes. Avoiding extreme measures might be a good thing to do.


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