Thursday, August 24, 2006

What is it worth to you?

This is from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity:
Negative attitudes towards obese children develop early hence they become frequent targets of social stigma. Children as young as three years old associate overweight children with the characteristics of being mean, stupid, ugly, unhappy, lazy, and having few friends. Overweight and obese children are frequently targets of weight-related teasing, jokes, and derogatory names. Peers are common perpetrators of harmful comments, and very often school is the most frequent venue where stigma occurs.

The impact of stigma on a child’s emotional well-being is significant. Not only do obese children feel badly about themselves, but the more they feel they are to blame for their obesity, the worse they feel overall. Research shows that obese children attribute their weight as the reason for having few friends and being excluded from social activities, and that they believe harassment from peers would stop if they could lose weight. This suggests that obese children blame themselves for the negative social experiences that they confront. Research on overweight adolescents shows that teasing about body weight is related to low self-esteem and depression, and that overweight teens are more likely to be socially isolated. Most alarming are the increased reports of obese youth who are committing suicide. This is supported by recent studies demonstrating a positive association between obesity and suicidal attempts among youth.

Remember that when your kids see advertisements and prizes associated with food, they remember it. They want it. And we want to please them - sometimes, just shut them up. We give in to make them happy, which makes us happy. (I'm not happy anymore.)

Sooooo, I ask you - WHAT IS IT WORTH TO YOU? Is it worth more than a cup of coffee but less than dinner at the Capital Grille? How about the equivalent of a Happy Meal? (And after reading this - you know it isn't the kids that are happy in the long run...only the franchise.) What if I asked you for a week's worth of coffees? Can you spend $10 to save our children? Will you?


Anonymous Rosemary Gracia said...

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. Were 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.

10:32 AM  

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