Thursday, March 27, 2008

Childhood Obesity

I took Arwen (who feels fine but has a low grade fever, still), Vincent and Annabel to the park today. After an hour of climbing around I thought it would be nice to 'treat' them to an ice cream cone. We packed into the van and headed off to sonic. I ordered and drove around to the window when I saw it.

A Mother and her child were sitting outside. The boy looked to be maybe 12 or 13 and my first thought was why wasn't the child in school. Then I saw the food piled in front of him. He had 2 burgers, 2 drinks and a large fry and was going to town on all of it. His Mother also had a large amount of artery killer and was busy hosing it down. Both were very obese. I'm guessing here but I'd say the boy weighed every bit of 180+ pounds.

As I drove away I couldn't help but think about it. Nowadays people are so overweight. Our society as a whole thrives on living in excess and this includes food. We like our food convenient, fast and cheap. This isn't a good combination. Companies buy cheap for profit which usually means everything in a fast food joint is filled with calories. Even the oils many companies use are stockpiled full of saturated fats.

People have to start being responsible parents. I didn't just feel bad for that boy, I felt anger toward his Mother too. She not only is teaching this child poor eating habits but she is also encouraging it as well but eating horribly herself. How can he learn that fruits, veggies and other home cooked foods are just as tasty?

I normally don't judge people and I'll admit right now I don't know their story. But I can say if I'd seen them eating a normal size meal I probably would never have written this entry. No 13 year old needs to be eating x2 burgers, x2 drinks and a supersized fry for lunch. Neither does a grown woman for that matter.

I suppose for me I'm just frustrated with seeing these extremely obese/overweight people that say it's not their fault and while they say it they are stuffing a Big Mac into their mouth. Some people do gain weight because of legitimate medical reasons but not 15-19% of the population.

I'll get off my soap box now.


JAMIE said...

I agree, it pisses me off as well. Even worse, it pisses me off that it ends up costing our Health Care system (obviously from Canada here). I see people like that and I have NO sympathy what so ever.
Now to make things worse up here, our schools have started a no "sugar" program. Starting next year you can't send your child anything to school where sugar is listed as the third ingrediant. This is not a big deal BUT what is the big deal is at school party's (say for christmas or hallowe'en) the children still don't even get a cookie.
Grr it makes my blood boil, so because some irresponsible parents that can't feed their children with proper nutrition, my son is being denied a fun day.
I'm not tiny by any means however we eat meals that include a carp, protien and starch every night, treats are left only to weekends and so on...
yeah, I feel your pain. Makes my blood boil!!

Katherine said...

As an overweight person, with a husband who was so overweight that he had gastric bypass, I agree with you.

Because we've had such a struggle with our weight, we try harder to instill good habits in Aurora. Most of our meals are protein, veggies and a carb, usually complex like bulgar wheat or brown rice.

Fast food is maybe a once every other week luxury, as is eating out.

Her lunches include fruits and veggies, although she does get some cheese and crackers or fruit snacks for a treat.

We've tried (and have been moderately successful) in adjusting our own eating habits to be good role models, because isn't that what you do when you have kids (try to be a good role model)? Or should do...

Jaime said...

Hey Katherine and Jamie ;)

I contemplated making an entry about this for two reasons.

1. I truly hate judging people

2. Jimbo's family consists primarily of overweight people.

I don't want to hurt anyones feelings here and I know from Jimbo's family that sometimes genetics play a role. I don't think it's mere coincidence that his side of the family all struggle with their weight.

However, a couple of his family members are not overweight, they are very grossly obese. And each time I see them they are constantly eating 2 helpings of food, pie and cake. Which tells that, for them, all the fatty foods and such contribute greatly and have to be monitored.

So when I see a child that weighs so much at a young age eating like that, it just struck a nerve with me. In a few years he will beyond help but there is still time to reverse his habits (a hard battle I know but there is still time).

raecatherine said...

I understand, completely...everytime I see an obese person ordering the extra venti with extra whip cream, or sitting around smoking, or downing extra large or multiple soft drink...I can't help but think to myself that they are usually 2 steps away from a hospital bed where myself and co-workers struggle to keep them clean, help them walk after surgery, or sometimes even keep breathing through the nite. (being overweight predisposes you to sleep apnea, add painkillers on top of that and things get complicated)

Obviously, for some folks genetics plays a part, but when you see folks who do not seem to helping themselves in any way to a better life you can't help but feel frustrated. Unfortunately American society and lifestyle generally *doesn't* support healthy food choices, so everyone has to make a conscientious effort.

Erin said...

Like the others have said, yea for some folks genetics plays a part. But I know too many overweight people who claim it's all "genetics" that eat horribly and don't exercise even though they say they've tried EVERYTHING to lose weight and it just won't come off. Like my aunt for example. She said she worked out and ate right her whole life. I (or anyone else in the family for that matter) never saw her doing anything except sitting on her butt downing food. When my cousins and I were babies she tried Weight Watchers. My dad saw her sit on the couch one day and eat a whole tub of Weight Watchers ice cream in one sitting. He tried to tell her just because it's Weight Watchers doesn't mean she can eat the whole tub, she still has to use portion control. She didn't get it. Sure her and my cousin gain weight easier than say my mom or I do...but they still eat a lot more and eat a lot unhealthier than we do too.

My aunt had gastric bypass and went from extremely morbidly obese to a size 8. Since then she's put on weight, I think she's about a size 16 now. My cousin is slowly getting bigger and bigger.