Blame parents for fat kids

Parents are to blame for the obesity of their children, writes Katherine Berry on Pajamas Media. It’s not the soda machines at school. It’s not the ads on TV. It’s the choices parents make:

To us falls the task of saying “no.” Of making short-term decisions — like what’s for dinner — based on long-term health consequences. Of exercising the self-discipline and time management needed to prepare meals that don’t harm our kids That is our job.

British social workers now treat obesity in children as a sign of parental neglect.  In extreme cases, they put the child in foster care.

About Joanne


  1. I agree that parents should guide their children towards healthy eating habits. Plus, parents need to make sure their children are physically active. That being said, it is difficult to follow them through the day and make sure they are making wise choices. Some people can eat anything they want and not gain a pound. Others are not so lucky. It’s a very tough situation.

  2. Tough? It’s math. If you eat more calories than you burn, then you gain weight. The activity you do and what you eat determines what type of tissue that weight will be.

    It might be tricky to figure out how much you burn and how different types of tissue are created because that’s the point at which people’s bodies function differently. But you don’t have to get any exact numbers, or any numbers at all. If you want to lose weight:
    1) change what you eat
    2) change what you do

    If those are hard, then it’s because you’re not setting yourself up for success:
    1) change the food you buy in order to change the food you eat
    2) change the activities available to change what you do

  3. Soapbox Diva says:

    So those with nearly zero metabolism are supposed to starve based on the simple logic of burn more calories than consumed. No, it is not that simple to comply. A lot of medications and endocrine disorders just for starters complicate manners. Add allergies to the mix, and what can actually be consumed is very limited.

    It would be more helpful if the weight whiners would help out more with support for medical conditions that can lead to weight problems such as asthma, allergies, endocrine, sleep disorders, etc. It is the overall health of a child that is supposed to matter, but weight whiners so narrowly focus on weight, that they lose the bigger picture.

  4. Fifty years ago, “support” for people with asthma, allergies, and sleep disorders was not necessary in order for them to avoid obesity because these ailments were not particularly linked to weight gain (except in the sense that obesity can aggravate asthma). Endocrine disorgers, of coure, are another story but they’re also pretty rare.

    Perhaps researchers will, one day, be able to tell us that some currently-unknown factor, which has been added to our environment in recent years, has increased predispostion to obesity through ibncreases in the tendency to develop asthma and allergies (which have indeed increased over the past 50 years or at least have been diagnosed more frequently), endocrine disorders, and/or sleep disorders.

    But asthma and allergies are chronic conditions; they don’t go away. Asthma and allergy sufferers can, despite these conditions, control their weight through diet and exercise. No one is saying that it’s easy; but as far as we know, these methods are far more likely to help allergy and asthma patients lose weight (or maintain healthy weight) than any conceivable medical interventions are likely to do.

  5. Soapbox0916 says:

    Fifty years ago for example, people were less likely to realize that their child was suffering from a from a sleep disorder and could easily think the child was just being lazy instead of recognizing it as mild sleep deprivation. This happened to my own grandfather.

    With allergies, most people understand severe allergies when it is an extreme case that sends a kid to the hospital, but mild allergies are much more common. Kids may be avoiding certain healthy foods because of an undiagnosed food allergy or sensitivity that parents dismiss as the kid having a bad attitude. If aware that certain foods made their kids feel bad, the parents and kid can work together to find healthy alternatives. Instead, there is a tug and war, the kid gives up and decides to eat whatever makes them feel good at that moment. It is anecdotal, but I have witnessed this first hand, when at later point in time it was realized that a kid has a food allergy or food sensitivity. I fear for those kids that never get diagnosed though.

    I have an invested interest in this because I am an adult who suffers from a combination of asthma, allergies, and sleep apnea. For a while, I had secondary endocrine problems due to the other conditions. I gained a considerable amount of weight all at one time due to these conditions, not the other way around. With no changes in my diet and a consistent active lifestyle, when my asthma is in control, I lose weight, when my asthma is out of control, I gain weight. In order for me to have my weight under control, it is my asthma that has to be addressed directly, not the weight itself. I have met kids with similar problems to me.

    The point is that I think as a society, we focus so much on the actual numerical weight and diet that we forget that it is the overall health that should be the focus instead for kids.

  6. I’m not suprised – most kids are playing sports and games via electronics instead of actually getting out there to climb a tree, toss a ball, etc.