Monday, August 28, 2006

Comments From A Friend

I got an email with some thought provoking comments that were posted to one of my entries last week. I want to share this with others to see what you think.


There are so many different angles to obesity in children and adults and it seems almost always to start in childhood. I read reports and I always get stuck on the social aspects of an issue and where does change begin. I feel like people who exert power and control over us play such a huge role in our physical, mental, and emotional makeup. Children need to be taught that they are in control of the decisions that they make. Children need to be taught that they have choices. For children who lack love and support food can become a means of escape, a means of warmth, and a means of companionship. Like a warm blanket. For parents who are poor and uneducated, the focus is on food, clothing and shelter (maslow's hierarchy of needs). It doesn't matter if the food is healthy, it just has to be cheap and readily available. Where do you start the intervention process? The cycle now has become overweight children become overweight adults and go on to have overweight children. What overweight parent wants to be alone in their misery? (like the bully on the playground who is really asking for help.) As an adult the process to lose weight is overwhelming.

So, before I gave birth I thought parenting started in the home....but then I realized after having David that unless I got out of my house, I was completely alone. And then it occurred to me...I gave birth in the community(hospital) and every week I am taking my baby to the pediatrician's office. Why then is there not info, pamphlets, groups, meetings, etc. readily available in the doctor's office during prenatal care checkups, post natal care checkups, well baby checkups as well as the maternity unit in the hospital. What the hell is wrong with the process of having a baby. I feel that women need to scream to be heard and We have a right to be provided info on nutrition, exercise, emotional health, single parenting, parenting as a couple, etc. You get packets of info on the birthing process, we take childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes, infant massage classes. Then we go home and we are alone and gorge on quick unhealthy foods or not eat at all because we are so stressed out. And contrary to people's beliefs, not eating does not help people lose weight. It trains the body to hold on to fat, because the body doesn't know when to next meal is coming.

So, a captive audience for family nutrition health...I during prenatal care visits and well baby checkups. Just like there are sign up sheets for getting coupons for diapers and formula, there could be sign up forms for Shape Up RI. Some kind of road map to what is readily available and easily accessible after being released from the physical bonds of pregnancy. The parents as teachers program was excellent in teaching me proper nutrition for infants and toddlers. However, unless I went to the library specifically looking for "help" I would never have found this program or any others. I wasn't introduced to a nutrition therapist until days into my post partum depression "vacation". Even that program I had to find by myself! Why can't every women in the hospital be visited by a nutritionist or have a workshop during their prenatal care? My pessimistic side believes that in our society unless you are "sick" care is not provided. If the bottom line is not profit, businesses including hospitals are not interested.

Rosemary Gracia


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