Childhood Obesity Comes From What Children Eat Not What They Watch

By Dr Joe | October 29th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Here is the bottom line. Childhood obesity is a problem. It is a function of the foods children eat both at home and at school. The people responsible for feeding children are parents not advertisers. Running the line that it is all to do with advertising allows adults to run a “Johnny told me to” line, which would not be accepted as an excuse from a child.

It is not about blaming parents. It is about telling it straight. Unless we tell parents that what their children eat is their responsibility we will not see change. The only people who can change the eating patterns of children are parents.

A new video is doing the rounds on the internet. It is abut childhood obesity. The video can be described as provocative. It shows a mother with a child sitting at a table. The mother appears to be getting ready to inject the child with a drug and at the last minute she gives the child some “junk food” to eat. The question asked is if you wouldn’t harm your child by injecting then with drugs what are you doing giving them food which is bad for their health?

Good question!

So given the amount of concern about this issue you would expect that such a video would be welcomed by those who are pushing the barrow of a need to do something.

Surprisingly this was not the case.

It is interesting to see how wedded people are to their own view of the world. This is particularly the case with so called “experts” and people who hold academic and other positions of authority.

According to Australian ABC news two leading public health figures did not like it. That, of itself is fare enough. People have different tastes. It was the reasons, which caught my eye. The ad apparently put the emphasis on the child and put the blame on the parents instead of the people writing junk food ads.

Really! So who exactly is it that feeds children? Is it the parents or people writing ads? They feed their own children but no one else’s. The word blame is pejorative and not helpful. What if we said it laid responsibility for what children eat at the feet of parents?

It was particularly interesting to see then that the productivity commission has looked at a range of programs to deal with childhood obesity. These are the ones so loved by public health people and academics because it results in funding for their programs.

The commission found that of the 27 programs assessed, none had a major impact on the problem. Furthermore it debunked the notion that there was any direct link between TV watching and childhood obesity despite children being “bombarded” with ads. It found that banning junk food advertising would have no impact on childhood obesity.

This comes as no surprise to me but no doubt will astound some of our friends in academia land who will dismiss it, as it does not fit with their pre-conceived notions. It is always fascinating to see people who invoke research, sing a different tune when the research is not to their liking.

What children eat is a function of what they are fed. The people responsible for feeding children are parents. If we are going to see any changes, then it is parental behavior that will need to change.

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7 People have left comments on this post



Barbara Harrison said: { Nov 4, 2010 - 12:11:07 }

PARENTS are the only ones who determine childrens eating habits. My 3 yr old grandson Levi never goes past a McDonalds; Red Rooster or any take-away food venue without now pointing out – Grandma that is bad food. His Mother my daughter has even made sure the colourful enticing parks at these venues are not going to stop you being fat if you eat their food. My grandchildren are great fruit and vegetable eaters and drink water when thirsty – cool drinks are never purchased by ‘parent’ so children have not been conditioned to want sweet drinks. End result very healthy, strong, energetic children. It can be done people can get out of the grip of the mult-nationals who only have profit as their bottom line no matter what the cost and the cost is high – our kids our future. Sick society is the end result.

nurse practitioner said: { Nov 12, 2010 - 09:11:20 }

Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

Dr Joe said: { Nov 12, 2010 - 10:11:03 }
Dr Joe

Great input Barbara. It can be done. Parents need to be responsible.
Thanks for your support and kind words Nurse Practitioner :) Please tell your friends

Ron Tedwater said: { Nov 13, 2010 - 01:11:24 }

Really nice post,thank you cna training

Ron Tedwater said: { Nov 18, 2010 - 01:11:33 }

Thanks for the post

Darleen Mcentire said: { Nov 18, 2010 - 01:11:10 }

You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

Dr Joe said: { Nov 18, 2010 - 05:11:05 }
Dr Joe

Appreciate your feedback Darleen :) You can follow the blog via Facebook. Just click the blue follow this blog tab on the RHS