As I work towards a healthier lifestyle I become more acutely aware of others who are in need of doing the same. I feel sorry for those who have allowed themselves, like I have, to get very overweight. In most cases this has occurred by their own choice and if they have the will to do so they can change their lives for the better. For the sake of this discussion I’m wondering about children who simply don’t know better? What about children who are simply victims of their environment and the misguided care of their parents?
I have to start this discussion with the standard disclaimer that there may be some kids who are fat because of health issues. At the same time let’s not fool ourselves into believing that this is anything but a very nominal percentage of fat kids!
My concern is for the kid who is fat because his/her parents let them get into that physical condition, Worse yet these kids who have parents that choose not to take corrective actions to get their kids healthy again. It’s not rocket science here- get the kid off the couch, get him/her into sports programs and supply healthy eating options for the kid. Teach the kid about healthy habits and good nutrition and how these things can make their lives so much better!
The worst thing for these fat kids is the perpetuation of a fat family tree. The parents choose to be fat and the kids follow in their colossal footsteps carrying on a family tradition! Spend about half an hour at McDonalds, Burger King, any ice cream joint…and watch for the fat family to arrive. It won’t take long to meet them- we all have seen them. At what point do the parents recognize that chicken nuggets, fries and a soda just aren’t working out for the kid?
When, if ever, will these parents look at themselves in the mirror and not want to see their kids in the same predicament years from now. The parents of these kids are setting them up for physical calamity and a youth filled with mockery and shame at the hands of other insensitive kids. DO they really think that their kids like being fat?
So here is the question at hand. Is letting your kid become fat a form of child abuse? Should it be? If a parent does other things that risk the health of the child they can face criminal sanction or at least investigation by Child Services- why not in the case of childhood obesity?
I can tell you that I do think that it is abuse. The kid has no choice but to live the life that he is directed to. HE/she is being set up for a lifetime of health problems and emotional distress from which he/she will likely never recover. Is this what parents should choose for their kids? Not in my opinion!
I’m most curious as to the thoughts of others!