June 17, 2015

Childhood Obesity Meets Bad Parenting

What happens when childhood obesity meets bad parenting? You get overweight kids. And at least one bummed out blogger. (That would be me.)

Fat Boys on Vinyl

Check out the lede from this New York Times story:

Not only was the 16-year-old boy 60 pounds overweight, but a blood test showed he might have fatty liver disease. At last, his mother took him to a pediatric weight management clinic in New Haven. But she did not at all like the dietitian’s advice.
“I can’t believe you’re telling me I can’t buy Chips Ahoy! cookies,” said the mother, herself a nurse.

You “can’t believe” it? Lady, according to this story, your kid might have liver disease. And your response is that you “can’t believe” the dietitian is telling you that perhaps the cause is cookie-related?

This isn’t insanity, although I really want to call it that. According to the Times story, it’s denial. Not just a river in Egypt, as the saying goes.

Basically, many parents “seem unable to acknowledge the harsh truth about their child’s weight”, according to the Times story, in part because it means they’ll have to change their own habits. Mary Savoye, described as an “exasperated dietitian” (I don’t blame her; I’m exasperated just reading about these people) told Times reporter Jan Hoffman, “Often they don’t want to accept it because change means a lot of work for everyone, including themselves.”

But what’s so difficult? Not buying cookies? I suppose if we’re talking about a 16-year-old kid who’s used to eating junk food all the time, it means listening to a lot whining. “Wah! Where are my cookies?” Which isn’t completely the kids’ fault. It is at least partly bad parenting.

The parent is the one who buys the groceries. Therefore, at some point, said parent decided to buy junk food for their kid. The kid got used to it. The kid also became obese. This is of course an extreme simplification but I think you see my point.

I am in no way a perfect parent. No one is. (Except people without kids. Think about it.) But I don’t buy excessive amounts of junk food for my kids to consume. And if I did, I hope I would be able to listen when a doctor or other health professional tells me that my child is obese and I need to do something about it. I *really* hope I wouldn’t say, “I can’t believe you’re telling me I can’t buy Chips Ahoy! cookies.” Because I would be an idiot, and that’s not one of my goals.

Random Related Link: Remember back in 2009 when United Airlines instituted their so-called fat tax for passengers too beefy to fit in one seat?

Also, Weird Al’s classic “Fat”. Just because.

Source: Parents’ Denial Fuels Childhood Obesity Epidemic