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Scary news about childhood obesity
- Author: Claire McCarthy, MD,
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When I was child in the early 1960’s my pediatrician was concerned about a trend in my weight gain, and that I was on the road to being overweight. He gave me (my mom) a list of foods to stay away from, and sent me home with the awareness that I was different than my sibs and needed to pay attention to what I ate. It was hard (we went out for ice cream, by 3 sibs got ice cream, and I had to get sherbet – yuck!). My younger brother immediately started calling me “fatty”, and the “bad food list” was taped to the fridge. The list even made it’s way to the fridge at my grandmother’s when we went there for the summer. So everyone knew about Rachel’s weight problem. A psychologist would have a ball today with evaluating how this was handled by my parents etc….totally inappropriate! But the upside is that yes, though I’ve struggled all my life with my LOVE for food and the constant task of keeping the pounds off, at 62 years my BMI is good, and I’m in great health. And I have my first doctor to thank. The best approach to this dilemma, since we know so much more today about good foods and healthy bodies, is to give doctors the green light with being kind and loving, BUT absolutely frank with their patients and their parents when they see trouble ahead, and how to address it. AND we should make it routine, along with childbirth classes, to educate pregnant women and expecting dads about their future child’s diet and how to shop for food for them, how much to feed them, exercise them, and educate them about good eating habits. I’m frankly shocked at the obesity epidemic I’m seeing all around me today; its out of control folks.
That should read supported by the USDA during the Obama administration.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/early-childhood-obesity-rates-might-be-slowing-nation-wide/ when an well thought out effort is made (and funded), the childhood obesity rates decline. In my community (w/a significant number of low income children) the Extension service has offered free short classes in altering recipes to make their lower in fat (in more then one language), funds have been raised to support a program (now supported–at least during the Obama administration–but the USDA) that doubled Oregon Trail “dollars” if they were spent on fruit/veg at the weekly farmers’ market.
Probably wouldn’t hurt if some of the schools in the district discovered they could “afford” to have phys ed classes more often, there were more sidewalks, and parents and children were able and willing to walk to some places. The county is rural, the towns are pretty small, but little attempt has been made (despite Oregon’s so-called “landuse planning) to make the towns “walkable” or safe & pleasant for getting around by walking or cycling–even though the weather is pretty mild for 5-6 months/year. The town planning always, always favors transport by personal motor vehicle (or small aircraft for the very well off–the local airport is better funded then sidewalks & bike lanes even though there are no commercial flights) over sidewalks, bike lanes, bike racks, etc.
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