Childhood Obesity: A Call for Parents to Lose Custody – ABC News

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Childhood Obesity: A Call for Parents to Lose Custody – ABC News.

A very controversial suggestion.

I suppose it is in the best interest of the government to ensure that they have an upcoming population of citizens, sure, but with that line of logic, they need to take a long hard look at the abortion practices in this country first.

You could also say that it is no business of the state what the health status of it’s minor citizens are, but when some of these parents choose to leave their children’s health up to doctors or other medical professionals, having a state mandate makes it easier for the government to cut it’s losses….(I hate that phrase, ‘state mandated health’.  It doesn’t sit well with me.)

BUT WAIT.  His suggestion that they go into the foster system??? How totally inadequate! How in the WORLD is that going to help them get healthy?

If they were to get taken away, the only logical place to take them I could even imagine is a fitness boot camp, where it is a temporary place for children to go and live with other children in their situation but be surrounded by adults with good HEALTHY health habits.  There’s no need to go from one extreme to the other and end up with an epidemic of bulimia or anorexia. (see my recent post on ‘Manorexia’)

That would never fly, though.  It costs too much, in manpower and in funding.

The only way to cure child obesity in this country is to cure adult obesity; how are children going to learn to be healthy when their parents are the worst examples?  The only way adult obesity will ever end is if people get up and do something about it for their own lives, and set the example for their children.

There are so many cheap, easy ways to start working on being fit now:

(copied from

1. Try running. It’s not as hard as you think it is. If you’re not a runner and don’t think you can do it, try a Couch to 5K or Couch to 10K program that has you running in small doses and then walking, gradually increasing the length of time you run and decreasing the amount of time you walk. Go as slow or as fast as you want. People who see you run are not judging you, and even if they are, who cares what they think?

If you find running by yourself terribly boring, join a running club. A lot of athletic specialty stores have informal groups of runners who take off from the store at prescribed times during the week. If you don’t want to join a club, ask one of your friends who drinks the running Kool Aid to be your running buddy, because if there’s one thing that runners like, it’s indoctrinating non-runners to how awesome running is.

2. If you straight up hate running or want to play on a team, consider joining a league organized by your city’s park district. Fees to join are often minimal, and it’s a good way to get to know people in your neighborhood. You don’t have to be an expert athlete, either; many park district leagues have teams for people of all skill levels.

3. More than one tipster informed me of the gloriousness sparkletude that is Dance Dance Party Party., which is an all women, no booze, no judgment dance party that costs like $5. It’s exactly like what you’d do in your skivvies in the privacy of your home, but in a big group and in a warehouse type setting and there are lights and there are beats and it just sounds like a great time, like giggly, all girl raves sans drugs. Check out their website to see if there’s one near you, or to learn how to form your own chapter.

4. Make your own gym. Buy or borrow or barter for your own basic gym supplies and a yoga mat and work out at home. Most people don’t need much- a couple of sets of dumbbells at a manageable weight, maybe a resistance band or an exercise ball. If you are Tom Hanks and you are stranded on a dessert island with only water bottles, fill some water bottles with sand and use those as weights. Several readers boasted of almost five-finger-discount cheap used exercise equipment they found on Craigslist or at yard sales. One reader stayed active after her baby was born by buying a step and soothing her baby to sleep while stepping up and down on the piece of equipment. Be creative! Your home is your castle and your castle has an amazing gym!

5. Use the internet as a resource. Several readers remarked that there are great exercise videos to be found on YouTube and Netflix. We seem to have many devotees among our readership. Others have found that OnDemand boasts some semi-cheesy but ultimately effective workout programs.

6. The library isn’t just for microfiche and posters featuring portraits of celebrities awkwardly holding James Joyce novels; the library can also be a resource to people looking to get fit. Check out the workout DVDs available for cardholders to borrow. You might discover an exercise you like among the shelves.

7. Volunteer. You’ll work on your karmic fitness as well as your physical fitness. I volunteer at an animal shelter here in Chicago, and we always need people to run and play with some of our more active dogs. Bonus: no one will mess with you when you’re running with a Doberman, even if the Doberman isn’t yours and doesn’t quite understand what’s going on. Consider volunteering to help coach a kids’ sports team, or working in a community garden. Manual labor can make you strong, like those hunky construction workers in Diet Coke commercials in 1994.

8. Use alternate ways to get to work, if you can. Consider biking or walking, even if it takes more time. I’m not suggesting the following as a realistic option, but I grew up in a really rural area and our weird gym teacher used to cross country ski or rollerblade to school because he was always in training for the Birkebeiner ski race. If he could do it without being embarrassed, then you can ride your bike.

9. If you prefer to work out in a more traditional gymnasium like environment, check out local high schools and colleges’ athletic facilities Many of them will have cheap memberships available, or open gym nights. Some hotels will allow non-guests to use their swimming facilities for a small fee, so ask around. And be on the lookout for local dance studios, gyms, or yoga studios offering free trials, and take advantage of those offers.

10. One reader was struggling financially post-divorce and ended up becoming a fitness instructor, which is brilliant for someone who wants to get paid while working out.

Things I would add to the list:

  • Give yourself a time limit for watching TV / playing video games / things-that-are-normally-stationary without doing something physical. The more you want to watch, the more you have to do…. leave the dumbbells by the TV so you can do some arm curls while you watch Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Do laundry.  Really, have you ever noticed how heavy a laundry bag or basket can be when it’s full of clothes? Set it on the floor when you iron or fold so that when you get clothes out of it you have to move more.
  • Challenge yourself to find a new way to wait for the microwave to beep. Jumping jacks? balancing on one leg? The more creative you are, the more you feel like you can eat what’s actually in the microwave.

The only way child obesity is going to end is if adult obesity ends.


2 thoughts on “Childhood Obesity: A Call for Parents to Lose Custody – ABC News

    Hannah C. said:
    July 14, 2011 at 16:10

    Calling for parents to lose custody of their overweight children is stepping way, way over the line of what the federal or the state government should be involved in. Unless it can be PROVEN that the parents are doing something sick like force-feeding their children, there’s no reason for the government to get involved. It’s just not their place.

    I really appreciated the point made in a comment over on Facebook, as well, about how public school is one of the most sedentary environments a child can be in, and the food served in cafeterias is often low quality.

    Lacy de la Garza responded:
    July 14, 2011 at 16:28

    Exactly. Force-feeding or similar things would have to fall under the category of child abuse before the state should ever be allowed to step in.


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