It baffles me then, when I see obese kids. On one hand, the parents care so much for them, but on the other hand they allow abuse to occur to their children’s bodies. I put the majority of the blame on the parents. I think they are 80% responsible for what goes into their children’s mouths.
The child starts with breast milk, a smart choice by the mother, maybe followed by formula, baby cereal, mashed foods and eventually solid foods. Somewhere around the time the child becomes a toddler things start to go wrong.
How the parents practice their nutrition begins to rub off on the child. The child learns from the parent’s behavior: monkey see monkey do. I put 15% of the blame on the fast food reliance we have created. The world is full of unhealthy fast foods, technology that has made us lazy, advertisements on television that constantly bombard us with these images, and suburban developments that make it difficult to get anywhere without using a car. The last 5% of the blame rests on the child. Ultimately, what you put in your mouth is a decision that you make.
Now that I have distributed fault, it seems logical that the focus should be placed on the parents, since they are the biggest contributing factor of childhood obesity. We cannot individually change the direction the world is going, but we can change how our children function and make conscious food choices.
The number one reason I hear parents give for not taking care of their children properly is “lack of time.” I know you have to work 10 hour days, sleep 6 hours, clean the house, get the kids off to school, pick them up, do the shopping, cut the grass, shovel the snow, answer your emails and on and on. I guess my answer to this is “What is the consequence of how you spend your time.” Perhaps feeding your children responsibly now will save them countless hours in the gym trying to get rid of their excessive weight.
How about this for a scenario as a result of being overweight as a child:
At six years old, they find they can’t play with other kids. Their peers ostracize them. Left behind at any cardiovascular event because of the unnecessary excessive weight they are carrying. Other children are jumping around socializing and having fun. Your overweight child is crying because everyone is making fun of how slow they are.
At nine years of age you see your child at home all the time playing video games. They never go outside to shoot a ball into a net, ride their bike around the block or play with the neighborhood children. It becomes too difficult to move, so the only option is sitting watching a screen.
At 12 years of age they don’t want to go to school because it's gym class day. It's obvious that they want to miss it because they can’t do anything but that's not the real problem. In the dressing room afterwards all the other boys see a prime time to bully your son. They see the fat rolls and proceed to hit him repeatedly with wet towels leaving multiple painful welts. It gets worse when they grab him by the underwear and pull it up in a wedgie fashion over the testicles ripping it. He may try not to cry but the tears are inevitable. This gives the bullies something else to target.
At 17 you ask why they are not going to the prom. Finding the courage to ask someone who is willing to be seen with him or her in public plus finding clothes that fit are too difficult. Why would they take a chance of being made fun of again?
During university they do well at classes but never participate in intramural sports or social events. They just study, sleep and eat. They come out of university the heaviest they have ever been in their lives.
Looking for their first job becomes difficult. They are passed over in favor of other applicants because of how they look. Why would an employer hire an obese person when they can get the same qualified person of normal weight? They would have less sick days and have better personalities to integrate with other workers because during their childhood they played and fit in with the other kids.
At 50 they have a heart attack.
It now becomes a choice. Is your lack of “time” going to be the factor that determines your child’s development and life. Do you try to figure out ways to make time? Do you become a good role model and lead a healthy lifestyle? Do you educate yourself about proper eating and exercise? Do you learn how to cook a healthy meal instead of buying fast food? Do you seek help?
What you do now is huge. What you do now will affect your child’s life. The most precious thing is being a healthy role model to your family. Who cares if it take a little extra time? At the end of the day it’s worth every minute.