Is Child Obesity Child Abuse?

Who’s to blame for the national shame of childhood obesity?

art-work-from-stcokxpert2.JPG“Is child obesity child abuse?” a recent USA Today headline asks. It seems Jerri Gray has been charged with criminal neglect because her 14-year-old son tips the scales at 555 pounds. After failed efforts to convince Jerri to put her son on a diet, he’s been placed in foster care.

With childhood obesity on the rise, this is a disturbing question. Jerri may have pushed childhood obesity to the limit, but she’s not alone. Today, 17 percent of preschoolers and 32 percent of grade school children are overweight.

Certainly a 14-year-old wouldn’t top 500 pounds if his parents didn’t purchase the food. It’s too bad that Jerri didn’t seek help for her son. After all, her son had to be morbidly obese for some time. The American Academy of Pediatrics found only three percent parents of obese children thought their child was overweight. Obviously, most parents of obese children are in denial.

Now the courts are involved and I find this ironic.
Isn’t it the FDA that permits over 3,000 chemicals in our food supply? It took them over 30 years to inform the public that trans fat was detrimental to health. It’s still not banned, but trans fat must now be listed on the nutrition label. MSG doesn’t have to be listed at all. Government schools have soda pop and junk food vending machines and their lunch program is filled with cheap processed foods.

The FDA not only allows Genetically Modified Foods, but insists they are harmless. People are confused because sugar is not listed in teaspoons, but grams on nutrition labels. You’d think the FDA would at least warn parents about the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS) and it’s not just the calories, either. HFCS is directly related to weight gain as it inhibits leptin secretion and never shuts off ghern so the brain never gets the message that you’re full. Advertising junk foods to kids is allowed. It’s a national tragedy parents are encouraged to purchase “low fat” food items for their kids. Not only do kids need healthy fats, but “low fat” items have added sugars to make up for the taste loss that occurs when the fat is removed.

Don’t expect the government to protect your children from obesity, although, they may hold you responsible. Your children eat what you purchase and prepare for your family, even if the FDA is responsible for misleading you about our food supply. Perhaps child obesity is not only child abuse from parents, but from the FDA as well.

What not to do if your child is overweight:
DO NOT make remarks about their weight
DO NOT compare them to thinner kids
DO NOT use food as a reward or punishment
DO NOT allow your child to eat between meals or before bed
DO NOT allow your child to eat school-prepared lunches
DO NOT allow your child to watch TV and eat
DO NOT put a TV in your kid’s bedroom
DO NOT buy junk foods (soda pop, donuts, cookies, ice cream, candy, or chips)
DO NOT purchase fast food
DO NOT make them eat different food from the rest of the family

The last “DO NOT” is essential. If your child is overweight, then it’s a given your family’s diet needs to change…not just your child’s diet. (This of course doesn’t apply to children with a genetic disorder contributing to weight gain.) If your kitchen is loaded with processed foods like boxed macaroni and cheese, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, ice cream, chips, cookies, crackers, and candy, then don’t expect that your child will have the will power not to eat them.

I don’t believe in diets, especially for children. I do believe in eating only whole foods. When you purchase and cook whole foods, your entire family will be healthy. When an obese child eats whole foods only at meals, exercises, and limits TV watching, then the excess weight melts away.

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