1/13: ‘Mom, why am I fat?’

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Maybe you’ve seen the ads. Overweight kids asking, “Mom, why am I fat?” The media campaign targeting childhood obesity, launched last fall by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has drawn criticism around the country (a “shock-and-awe strategy,” “very aggressive”).

But backers say sugarcoating the issue won’t work and that the ads serve as a wakeup call.

What do you think? Put down that doughnut and blog.

10 comments Add your comment

Les

January 13th, 2012
11:53 am

Back when I was growing up in school (back in the sixties and seventies), there were hardly any “fat” kids in the school. In each of my elementary school classes, there was that ONE fat kid. Maybe two, but no more.

Today, in that elementary school class, half the kids are obese… and another third is overweight.

Why is that? Is it because, all of a sudden, two-thirds of the parents in America suddenly became irresponsible? Is there a child obesity epidemic because, over the past generation, parents have become the culprits?

Hardly. Parenting has something to do with it. It there is a whole lot more. I remember watching TV as a kid. And I remember some of the commercials I saw… some, but not many food commercials. Today, when I watch television alone or with my kids… overwhelming percentage of commercials are food or food related. Not just TV… look at magazines… and the ads that show-up or pop-up on internet sites. Kids are being brainwashed by overwhelming indoctrination of food and eating.

At the same time, opportunities and infrastructure for burning calories are being taken away. Back when I was a kid, I don’t remember my parents kicking us out of the house and telling us to go and exercise. And my brothers and I did not play on any little-league sports teams. But we were NOT fat. We did things like walk around the neighborhood, ride our bicycles, walk to school, go to the school playground on weekends, participate in recess, etc. All of those things are gone now, or deemed to dangerous, too frivolous, or unnecessary by the messaging and actions that come across in society.

I don’t see this as a parenting problem alone. I see that many parties need to “step-up” and be responsible, in order to reverse this child obesity epidemic.

Not Blind

January 13th, 2012
10:04 am

A few years back I saw a pic of a group of spectators at a late 60’s moon mission launch. There were about 30 people of all ages and genders standing on a sandy dune looking towards the launch. There was not ONE overweight person in the whole picture !

Imo the only choice is to teach your kids good eating habits from a very young age. This would be healthy food choices and portion control. The need for hard exercise is also important.

thuja

January 13th, 2012
10:03 am

The kid is fat because, 9 x out of 10 mom is fat too, because mom and kid lie around and stuff their faces too much. Eat too many calories to use in a given day and you gain weight. Simple as that. Kids need to be pushed out the door to play. Wouldn’t hurt moms to develop some decent exercise habits as well–like cleaning their homes, mowing the yard, doing whatever it takes to stay active and set a decent example.

RAMZAD

January 13th, 2012
9:33 am

The fat problem is not just about discrimination. It goes to national health care costs- think the cost of Medicare. Think the cost of health insurance as underwriters soak everybody to subsidize care for the fat and the obese. Think about being unable to find enough people fit enough to fight our wars and protect life and property. Think about health and wellness for reproductive stability. Think about energy use to move around legions of fat and obese people.

Think about social and economic impacts of one person needing two airplane seats or one person needing two theater seats or one person ready to sue because the chair at the doctors office came apart. Think about people who will not become part of the economic system because with all their education the fat image is just bad for business. Face it people. There is nothing progressive or redemptive about being 5/5 and 300 pounds.

Les

January 13th, 2012
9:06 am

Escalating obesity rates go far beyond the parent’s ability to control the calorie intake and calorie burning of the kids. There are other factors involved.

For example, the fact that our societies have stopped building safe sidewalks for kids to walk on. The fact that play equipment is vanishing in public and school playgrounds because everyone is afraid of litigation. The fact that schools have eliminated physical education and recess. The fact that kids are no longer allowed to walk to and from school. The fact that food producers now make mostly overly calorie-laden food. The fact that restaurants and supermarkets have become some of the unhealthiest places when it comes to finding responsible nourishment. The fact that government established school lunches are only junk food. And on and on.

When 15% or less of the kids are obese, you can conclude that some parents are not being responsible. But when 50% of the kids are obese, it obviously goes beyond parents, and points to culture, society, demographics, and the external influences of media… all working against the kid having a healthy lifestyle.

Rhett

January 13th, 2012
8:20 am

As an overweight child [that didn't have the issue addressed during childhood] who grew into an overweight adult & has been battling the bulge all my life, I’m FOR any program that helps address childhood obesity so those kids don’t have to suffer what I’ve been through.

Grapedrankisha accurately pointed out: the parent is the target…not the child. I don’t think my mom once considered she was wrong for teaching me poor eating habits & constantly criticizing me (about everything, not just being fat).

Grapedrankisha

January 12th, 2012
10:18 pm

For the benefit of those on whom the subtlety of the TV spot was lost it’s mom, not the child, who is the focus of the anti-obesity message. Something about responsible parenting, ya know.

i wonder why

January 12th, 2012
5:49 pm

we have to find a new demographic to discriminate against. Why not the fat people ???

iRun

January 12th, 2012
5:42 pm

Seriously, if CHOA is pumping money into programs that provide for obesity prevention in kids then that’s one thing. Otherwise they’re just being a really tall and obnoxious bully.

iRun

January 12th, 2012
5:41 pm

Sugar coating it makes it more fattening. Don’t do it.