Monday, January 8, 2007

Dear Mrs. Jones, your kid is FAT

I sure am glad I grew up in a time when chubby was hot. The 80's were hilarious that way. Having a lil' padding was healthy and normal. Not only were people not into stick skinny heroin sheik, most children were apt to play outside on their bikes or in my case a red wagon, steering from inside of it, down dirt paths and peoples driveways. We would play hide and seek almost every weekend on summer nights and I honestly don't remember much of video games or television for extended periods of time. Sure, I did wake up at the crack of dawn to watch the lineup of Saturday cartoons/programming (Smurfs, Looney Tunes, Kids incorporated, etc.) By the time those were over and I ate my breakfast, I was outside to find my neighborhood gang to put on GREASE 2 plays and make up dances to Prince with a baton. Its no secret that todays kids know more about computers than their parents and have friends all over the world thanks to My Space and others. Sounds great but this homebody computer attitude is taking a toll on American kids physically.
Teachers are sending home notes to parents saying that their child has an abnormal BMI "score." School nurses and physical ed folk admit that BMI is not a perfect test but it IS an effective and low cost way of measuring whats normal and healthy. Parents are outraged that the school is butting in and trying to tell them how to raise their kids! My kids is going to be anorexic/bulemic if you keep sending these notes home!!?? My child counts every piece of popcorn she eats because of the note!!!
Okay, I am not a parent YET, but I do have a baby coming in about 4 months. I am already affecting my fetus but my current dietary habits. I am vegan, I eat a great mix of organic veggies and carbs and proteins and I take my prenatal vitamins. I AM responsible for my childs health. Just because the kid is going to be outside of my body doesn't mean I am no longer responsible for what I stock in our cabinets and fridge to eat.
Most parents are likely furious with the news that their kid is overweight for the following reasons:
1. This means fat mom and dad have to change what they eat for dinner and/or what goes into the kids lunch box.
2. This change may mean more time involved in preparing healthy meals for the child and the entire family.
3. Healthy food CAN be more expensive, although you need less of it because its usually more satiating and higher quality.
4. Some responsibility will have to be admitted as the parent is ultimately in charge of what the kids eats.
Now, I would be extremely pissed if I were a parent of a child who packs a healthy, nutritious and pricey lunch everyday while the school serves up Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, chips, candy, donuts, sodas, and more junk....but they send home a note saying how my kid has an eating problem and is above average on the fat meter.
Schools absolutely need to provide cutting edge nutrition courses and physical education to do their part. Even counseling kids who need the help like they do for those who have mental problems or learning disabilities. Unhealthy food and overweight is essentially hindering kids from excelling in other aspects of their lives. Parents DO expect the school to notify them if their child is showing signs of mental or physical illness...shouldn't this include notification if the child is overweight? Its something that can be taken care of, reversed, managed.
Some schools have taken responsibility and provided only healthy alternatives to junk food in their cafeterias. No soda, just water. No high fat foods, low fat options. More salads, less pizza. I would like to hear a parent try to convince me that its harder to change yours and your kids diet than permeate the bureaucracy of a school to provide more nutritious food. GOOD LUCK!
More than three times a day parents have the opportunity to be a good influence via their food choices. Involve your child in the process. They can help you cook, study up on seasonal produce, make it a fun game when you go to the store. Reward kids for their healthy choices. Take them out for sorbet instead of pus cream. (a.k.a ice cream)
Oh, and this is quite interesting:
"A study published in the British Medical Journal has found a connection between kids with high IQs and their decision to go vegetarian later in life. A study from the University of Southhampton and Southhampton General Hospital compared data from a 20 year period for children whose IQs were tested at age ten. Of the 8,179 women and men in the study, 366 were vegetarian by the age of 30, nine were vegan, and 123 reported being vegetarian but eating chicken or fish. The connection between high IQ and vegetarianism continued to be statistically significant after controlling for social class and better education. The researchers also suggest that this higher chance of vegetarianism may help explain why people with higher IQs tend to have better cardiac health."
If the number of vegans were higher in that study, the results would have been even MORE amazing! hee hee

No comments: