Is Obesity O.K?– A response to Ms. Weston

Yes, obesity is a health crisis! It’s probably one of the biggest if not the number 1 public health problems our nation faces today.

Yes, advertisers of junk food should stop targeting young children.

Yes, every town should have safe sidewalks and playgrounds for exercise.

But the reality is…

Advertisers of junk food target young children

Every town doesn’t have sidewalks and playgrounds for exercise.

Do I agree with Ms. Weston when she says “teenagers should take better care of themselves”?–No! Why put so much responsibility on the children and teenagers? While it is important to talk and educate or younger population, it is important that with start by educating those around them.

So instead,

let’s talk to congress.

They need to take better care of their community members! Every year approximately 36 million tons  of our nations food is wasted yet 15% of households in America are food insecure. How can you talk about ending obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles when so many are suffering from hunger and they don’t know where their next meal will come from?

Sidewalks and Parks. The Farm Bill. School Lunches…Those are all issues that members of congress control.

When and why did food become such a political issues? I don’t know. But it is.

…(Luckily, you can speak up and let your congressman know how you feel. Use your voice! Vote!)…

Let’s talk to school officials.

Children spend more time at school than they do at home. Let’s create an environment that supports and teaches children about making better healthier choices and being active. Let’s encourage school gardens! Use the garden not only to promote the concept of  farm to school BUT to also encourage teachers and school nutrition directors to incorporate it in their curriculum. Get the children out there, let them play in the dirt, let them play with the food (yes, that’s right, let them play with the food!) and help them discover and understand where their food really comes from and the hard work that takes to growing it! Until that connection is made, children won’t feel the need to make better and healthier choices.

Let’s talk to the parents and caregivers. 

They are the ones providing and cooking for children and teenagers. In a time when many are looking for the easy way out or something fast and easy, let’s make it a point to reinforce the importance of making better choices. Let’s provide parents and caregivers with the resources needed to cooking healthy on a budget. Let’s encourage them to include children in the meal planning and preparation process. Let’s reinforce the importance of cooking at home and eating together. Let’s promote sustainability and local foods. And as simple and stupid as this may sound, let’s teach parents, caregivers (….and children) basic cooking skills! How can we expect them to make better choices if they don’t have the proper foundation to make it happen?

Let these people be role models to children and teenagers. May they encourage, promote and create a healthy AND balanced environment. Until then, it won’t matter whether or not we believe obesity is okay because it will remain an issue.

I’ve been an advice columnist for 20 years, and I wish we could change the depressing fact that one of three kids is overweight or obese. I wish advertisers of junk food would stop targeting children. I wish every town had safe sidewalks and playgrounds for exercise. I wish teenagers would take better care of themselves.

Summer is here, and a few camps are banning talk about appearances (“Where Mirrors Don’t Rule,” ThursdayStyles, June 19). Seems like a good idea. But while I’m all for getting our minds off our bodies, is it a favor to pretend that a problem is not a problem? Obesity is not a clothes crisis; it’s a health crisis. Obese people are at a much higher risk for diabetes and heart disease, and this can cost them their lives — and cost the country billions.

Ms. Weston

For the full New York Times article, “Is Obesity O.K.?”, click here


5 thoughts on “Is Obesity O.K?– A response to Ms. Weston

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