On my mind today: obesity and weight. It seems like everywhere I look, I read another ridiculous story on these topics.
Exhibit A: Did you hear about the Harvard School of Public Health researchers who are floating the idea of involving state protective services where very obese children are involved, and in some cases recommending foster care?
I think Arthur Caplan, director of UPenn’s Center for Bioethics, hits the nail on the head in this commentary:
The risk of death from obesity is real, but it is way down the road for kids. There is no proven cure for obesity. The ability to treat a child with diet or a lifestyle change who does not want to be “treated” by strangers is a long shot at best. The number of kids involved — an estimated 2 million children with body-mass index above the 99th percentile — would quickly swamp already overwhelmed social service departments. And, no matter what you do with overweight children, sooner or later they are going back home where their often overweight parents will still be.
What’s your take?
Exhibit B: A study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that school districts notifying parents that their children are overweight had no impact on the problem.
In the last decade, almost all public schools in California collected information about height and weight on kids in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades, but only some opted to send the results to parents. This gave Dr. Kristine A. Madsen of the University of California, San Francisco, a unique opportunity to evaluate the impact of that notification.
She found that children whose parents were told they were overweight were no more likely to have lost weight years later than children whose parents were not notified.
So the researcher suggests that instead of shaming children and their parents by sending “Your kid’s too fat” letters, school officials should focus on interventions that have the most impact, such as making school lunches healthier and increasing physical activity. How novel!
Exhibit C: Michelle Obama did something wrong again! What, you ask? She ate a burger, fries, and chocolate shake! Causing multiple news outlets to calculate the calories and wonder if she was being a hypocrite because of her focus on preventing childhood obesity! And we all know that if you advocate healthy living, you can never, ever eat anything tasty or fattening ever. Right?
All I know is that I run 15-20 miles per week just so that I can eat a meal like this on occasion. And enjoy every last bite. Knowing that Michelle likes to indulge in just the same way only makes her more awesome in my eyes.
And this comment over on Gawker made me LOL:
Where was all the outrage when Laura Bush was championing literacy while being married to a fucking moron? That, ladies and gentlemen was real hypocrisy.
And a final anecdote: I mentioned before how my 6-year-old daughter asked why my butt was “smushy.” I was mortified, but played it off by saying that we are all different and what’s important is that we’re as healthy as possible. But I will admit that “smushy” has been stuck in my brain ever since. I get a glimpse in the mirror and think “BLECH.”
So a couple of days ago Maya asks me (again), “Why is your booty smushy, Mami? I wish my booty was smushy just like yours.” Pouty face and all.
I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. She said “smushy” the first time and in my head, that had to be bad. But she was just describing what she saw, with no negative connotation, and it turns out she still wants to be just like Mami. Smushy butt and all.
I quickly said, “Maya, your booty is perfect just the way it is!”
“What do you mean, Mami? Don’t you like your booty?” Sigh. Here is where I lied a little, because I’m not at peace with my caboose. But I thought it more important to try and impart a healthy lesson.
“Of course I like my booty. But I like yours too. We all have different bodies. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all looked exactly the same? Your body is perfect just the way it is. And so is mine.”
So it was clumsy and ham-handed, but I meant well. I am wondering if I said the right things, or if I need to revisit the topic. She seemed to accept it, so I am thinking I will leave it alone unless she brings it up again.
But I will say it is helping me to not be so hard on myself. I know my daughter’s adulation won’t last forever, but for now, stopping to see myself through her eyes is a gift.
What’s on your mind today? Chat away!