Monday, February 15, 2010

Let's Move

What do you all think about Michelle Obama's campaign to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity?  If you're unfamiliar with the campaign, here it is:

I support most of her ideas (especially increasing physical activity among kids, making a variety of foods more available to less advanatged populations, etc.), but keep getting stuck on schools' initiative regarding cutting out sweets (e.g., cupcakes on birthdays) and taking variety away from the kids (e.g., in the vending machines), rather than promoting the idea of treats in moderation.  Eliminating certain food groups tends to backfire, resulting in overeating when there finally is access to these foods.  Thoughts?


Sarah said...

It isn't particularly kind to the disabled, either.

azusmom said...

The idea that kids can NEVER have treats definitely backfires: the minute they're able to get their hands on a cupcake, they'll go nuts. But if they're allowed one every so often, they'll eat as much of it as they want and leave the rest.
Being denied certain types of food is a good recipe not only for a binge, but for EDs later in life.

Kaylee said...

The focus should be less on FOOD and more on fun activity and finding new things to do. I mean, I can understand taking away the machines and foods in the lunch room, but kids should still be allowed to have pizza parties and the occasional slice of cake.

But I guess now it's just up to the parent to provide treats, and in some ways that's okay, but parents aren't going to be perfect. Some may restrict too much with good intentions. Some may offer no healthy foods to balance the junk.

The intentions of Ms. Obama are good. I can support it, but from an ED perspective, we're treading in dangerous waters.

Fiona Place said...

The focus should be on eating well - on getting everyone to cut back on sugar and processed food. There should also be a re-evaluation of the low fat high carb diet - it is not as healthy as imagined. Interestingly the overweight are accused of laziness yet someone with anorexia as ill. How can this be? Surely being overweight is linked to diet - to sugar in particular (read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes) and anorexia is linked to an inability to define oneself through words (read Cardboard: A woman left for dead) for an understanding of anorexia and identity. Having said all that though I do think it is dangerous to target the overweight child - that all we will see is a rise in the number of children with eating disorders.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the first lady on this one. There are some foods (the ones you usually find in vending machines) that don't trigger an appropriate satiety response in a whopping percentage of the population. I know many people for whom moderation doesn't work, has never worked, and the release from disordered eating only came when they eliminated processed foods from their diets, without exception.

Loral said...

I think there actually needs to be more of an emphasis on food. Exercise is important, but most kids will do it on their own so long as they don't have unlimited access to video games. Nutrition is different. Many food companies deliberately formulate their foods to mess with our brains - the food is addictive, and will not produce a normal response from our bodies. We really need to work together as a society to get rid of these types of food - mostly fast food, highly processed things, etc. The argument that not allowing the kid any of these will backfire seems like telling parents to prevent drug addictions by giving their kid pot.

I'm not saying don't let your kid have cupcakes. But make them yourself so you know what's really in them.