Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Grossly Overweight Kids

Living in L.A. you see a lot of strange stuff and pratically every type of person that walks this earth - everything from the "fake ‘n’ bakes", real pirates, to living Morlocks hanging out in North Hollywood - but nothing bothers me more than really, really overweight kids. These aren’t the kind that are a little chubby with some baby fat, but who are seriously huge (like the Stay-Puff marshmallow man). And its not older kids like in Jr. High or High School, but toddlers, preschoolers, early elementary age kids. The sad thing is most of these parents think it’s cute to see a pot belly and no neck on a 2 year old. I’m sorry, but personally I think it’s disgusting and nothing to be proud of.

What kind of habits are these parents teaching here? Imagine the problems when they get older. Not only will the kid be a prime bully target, but it's also gross and extremely unhealthy, have you seen the statistics on how many kids are getting Diabetes now? (Diabetes was rare in kids just 20 years ago, now it’s getting much more common). The sad thing is most parents are trying to blame McDonalds and other fast food for this stuff, as if fast food is a new phenomenon that hasn’t been around long. What happened to self-control and being a parent when it comes to sweets and limiting junk food? I know the advertising has gotten pretty bad these days on marketing junk to kids, especially on channels like Nickelodeon, but commercials were around when I was a kid watching Saturday Morning cartoons like GI Joe, He-Man and The Smurfs (yeah, I watched The Smurfs…I always wanted Gargamel to catch one to see what he would really do). I wanted all the junk food, Mr. T cereal, and toys with kung-fu grip but I never got any of it. My parents drew the line somewhere.

We saw a friend recently who is guilty of this; one of her kids is going into first grade and looks like she’s 12 and a perfect circle (if she tripped on a hill she would roll uncontrollably and would only stop if she hit a brick building, maybe). When her daughter wants sweets and junk, well she gets her sweets and junk as a preventative measure to a meltdown. I wanted to shake this friend and yell (like a pimp) “What’s wrong with you woman! Are you on crack?!”

Crack is my excuse for everything these days. Millions of parents are on crack with really fat kids with big cracks.


Pickle's Papa said...

See, I got up a half-hour earlier and saw the Gummy Bears too. I guess Tummy Gummy had more of an imact than anorexic smurf did on me.

I dont know.

I do agree with you, but being in a glass house over here its hard to get too vocal about it.

Diana said...

My son is 20 months old and he weighs 23-maybe 24 lbs.
My friend's son is 8 months old and weighs 26 lbs. (He looks like the Michelin Man)
Sometimes I want to feed my son the junk just to get him to gain something- ANYTHING- but he is really (REALLY) active, so I know it's his metabolism that has him this way. Though, being on the opposite end of the spectrum I hate when people ask me- "Do you feed him AT ALL?" I want to say no just to see their faces!

Ryan said...

I heard an hour long show on NPR yesterday from Neal Conan's show on health, sugar, and weight and such. The scientist interviewed was talking about how it is becoming more and more common for children to be obese. Part of this of course is the American diet, which is high in corn fructose syrup. Everything has sugar and it is a problem. But at the same time, kids only eat typically what their parents feed them (when they are 2 and under, all they eat is from their parents) and they really will inherit eating habits (health) from parents. Whatever the case, the scientist did make a point in saying that our bodies were basically designed to drink milk and water, so if kids need to trim the trunk a bit, this is one practical step. Stop drinking OJ, soda, and 500 calorie frappuccinos.

radioactive girl said...

For the most part I agree, but if you always tell your kids they can't have certain foods, when left to their own devices (say at college), they won't have the control or knowledge of how to use moderation. At my house my kids are allowed to have whatever they want to eat with me supervising and making sure healthy choices are offered too. I never say no sweets at all, and very rarely limit anything they eat. My kids are all perfectly healthy according to their pediatrician, even though I have one that is in the 75th percentile in weight and one that is in the 10th.

My best friend won't let her son have any sugar cereals at all. When he comes over here, that is all he eats. While I agree it is best to limit it somewhat, if you completely forbid it, your kids will probably tend to crave it more. I also agree that I have no idea what parents are thinking sometimes when their child is completely out of control overweight and is eating McDonalds.

Also, I loved the smurfs and really watned him to catch one too to see what would happen. Too funny!

junebee said... Branch is 20 months old and 40 pounds. He is also almost 3 feet tall. I am really trying to limit his eating now so it won't be an issue later on. Believe me, the last thing I want is for him to suffer the taunts or health problems from being an overweight child.

I wonder if the problem started in NICU. They put rice cereal in his formula because he had such trouble with bradycardia (his heart would stop when he was eating and he would have real bad reflux). I read in more than one source that early introduction of rice cereal leads to overweight kids.

I try hard to create a healthy diet and shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. I know once he gets to school and other kids' homes, the battle will be more difficult when he finds out that Oreos are out there! Hopefully his weight will be no longer an issue. I also plan to get him into sports as soon as humanly possible.

creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

junebee- sounds like your son is just a big kid, not fat. My cousin's kid is 3 and looks like he's 6, but his dad is over 7 feet tall (played college basketball).

radioactive girl- your friend keeping away any sugar, now that's just crazy!

Ryan - funny you should mention corn syrup, that has a lot to do with overweight kids. Most junk foods now have that in place of sugar which takes twice as much energy to burn off.
I love Coke (the soda) but never drink it here in the states, only when I'm traveling because it's made with REAL sugar and not corn syrup.

Mama G said...

Amen! Someone actually left a comment on my blog a few weeks ago telling me that I'm on a power trip and shouldn't use candy/cookies as a reward - but that I should allow free access to as much candy/crap that my kid wants because then it wouldn't be a "forbidden fruit". WHAT THE HELL? I don't think so!

creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

mama g - Yikes - That's totally crazy!!

Waya said...

AMEN TO THIS POST! You saved me from ranting about this subject that's been on my "draft" list for over a few months.

I too am so sick of seeing chubby unhealthy eating habit kids! It's the parents that need to put a stop on junk foods! I still dilute my kids' OJ with water, and my oldest is 5! And if I forget, they will tell me that it's too sweet! The parents need to take responsibilty for their eating choice and not blame everyone else, i.e fast food restaurants!!

Great post Tony!

Rebecca said...

This is a great post. Whenever I see seriously overweight children, especially really young kids, all I can think about it how it is the same thing as child abuse. Those kids are going to have a lifetime of health problems, and the parents are to blame. Its really sad.

Anonymous said...

In 1971 only 4% of 6-to-11-year-old kids were obese; by 2004, the figure had leaped to 18.8%. In the same period, the number rose from 6.1% to 17.4% in the 12-to-19-year-old group, and from 5% to 13.9% among kid’s ageing between 2 to 5. Include all overweight kids, and a whopping 32% of all American children now carry more pounds than they should.