Published on August 27, 2017
I love this time of year and the wonderful changes it brings.
The season is about to change.
The leaves are about to change colors of red, orange and yellow.
The sunrise and sunset times are about to change.
The temperatures are about to change.
Summer camp changes to school days.
The pace of everyday living is about to change from lazy days of summer to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Amidst all these wonderful changes, however, there’s one thing that will NOT change: Last school year’s over-fat kids will be this school year’s even-more-over-fat kids.
According to the (CDC), 1 in 3 American children are overweight; 1 in 6 are obese. In New Jersey, however, the state in which I live, according to the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, 1 in 4 school-age children (6 to 19) are overweight or obese. Let me repeat: 1 . . . in . . . 4.
September is not only the start of the school season, it’s also Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. So let me take a minute or three to address this issue of childhood obesity yet again—I write about it often, and talk about it until I’m blue in the face with my adult clients who are parents of school-age kids.
I’m a mom, so I come at this subject from two perspectives—as a parent and as a weight loss professional. This issue is a passion of mine, and I speak with great, hands-on and visual knowledge.
My daughter, now 19, went to a private school here in NJ for 15 years. She started when she was one month shy of her 3rd birthday and graduated high school in 2015 at the age of 17. So, not only was she a ‘lifer’ at that school, but my husband and I were on and about that campus for 15 years. My daughter traveled from the Beginners class all the way through her Senior year with many of the same kids. I saw the metamorphous of so many chubby lower school boys and girls, turn into overweight and obese middle school kids, and finally, for many of them, even more over-fat high schoolers, with their uniforms getting tighter each year.
You know what happens to obese high school seniors? Well, the college ‘freshman 15′ you hear so much about mostly applies to kids of a healthy weight who, away from home for the first time, put on 10-15 pounds. But overweight and obese freshman? Uh uh. For them, it’s a freshman 25, 30 or more, and I have the clients to prove it. The heavier a kid is when he/she goes off to college, the more weight they gain . . . faster.
Every September, as I would return to school with my daughter, I’d see these ever-expanding kids being dropped off by a parent and I’d think to myself, What the hell is wrong with those parents? Don’t they give a damn? They’re not mentally impaired; they see it, surely. Instead, they choose to normalize it because it’s easier to do that. After all, all their friends are fat, so no big deal, right? Instead, they choose to accept it because, almost always, they themselves are fat, so no big deal, right?
Childhood obesity is a a result of adult behavior. Got that?
Childhood obesity is a a result of adult behavior. Click To Tweet
And those adults most responsible are: Parents. Pediatricians. In that order.
Parents, who do nothing—and that includes doing nothing about their own obesity so as to instill good habits into their households and set an example for their children.
Pediatricians, who wait too long (if ever) to have ‘the conversation’ with parents and then do nothing more (if anything) than tell a parent the usual bullshit about how their fat kid should “eat less and move more.”
As parents, we are blessed with the enormous gift of responsibility for the environment in which we raise our children—emotionally, physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. Nothing is as important for a child’s emotional and physical well-being as is good health . . . and the eating (and exercise) habits that contribute to it.
If you’re a parent of an over-fat kid and year after year after year you do nothing about it, shame on you.