Maggie doesn’t need a diet or a humiliating billboard

My 5-month-old boy is wearing 6 to 12 months clothing. This is not a complete shock to me because I’ve had other chunky babies and because I’m well aware that I make more than enough milk. My babies’ rolls have always been a sign of good health to me and nothing to worry about. They’re not chunky because I’m pumping them with sugary juice. They’ve all been exclusively breastfed for at least six months (Mary Elizabeth didn’t enthusiastically include solids on her menu until closer to 10 months).

What has been surprising – and truthfully disheartening – is the difference in how people react to my male chunky monkey. When strangers saw roly-poly Madeline when she was a delicious butterball, they would say things like: “Wow! How much are you feeding her?” or “Well, she’s not petite, is she?” or “I’m sure she’ll thin out eventually.”

I even had one woman in a produce aisle of a grocery store inform me that I might be feeding her a bit too much formula. I politely told her that Madeline was completely breastfed and walked away with my head held high. But on the inside, her comments put a dent in my fragile new mom ego. Maybe I was nursing her too much. Thankfully, I had a great pediatrician who told me she was just perfect and that she couldn’t get too much of a good thing, and mama’s milk is most definitely a good, nutritious thing.

Now when people see Thomas, who is actually bigger than Madeline was at this stage, they say things like, “What a healthy, strong boy!”

Do you see the difference?

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing this too much given my body image history, but it seems to me that even when they’re babies, there’s pressure on girls to be pint-sized cuties. Big boy babies are hearty and future linebackers. Solid baby girls might be eating too much. Raising girls to grow into confident, healthy women no matter their size is no easy task.

And it’s not getting any easier with the onslaught of anti-obesity propaganda popping up. Childhood obesity is a big problem. It needs to be addressed. Sugarcoating things or telling kids that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes may not put an end to childhood obesity, but neither will shaming fat kids.

Dorian Speed recently brought the new anti-obesity campaign in Georgia to my attention. She wrote an excellent post expressing her own mixed feelings about the nature of the campaign.

Since I no longer live in the city, I hadn’t seen the billboards; however, I know of people who have noticed them. There have been some experts who have applauded the campaign for not mollifying such a serious issue. According to Stop Childhood Obesity, 9 million children over the age of 6 are considered clinically obese. Fat kids are more likely to grow up to be fat adults and to suffer from myriad health problems. We owe it to our children to examine this issue and ask ourselves why the younger set is packing on the pounds.

I’m not against helping to put an end to childhood obesity. We don’t need to candy-coat the fact that it’s a serious problem or give an obese child’s cheek a quick pinch and tell her she’ll one day grow out of her baby fat. The campaign’s website is excellent and filled with important information that needs to get out there.

Atlanta Strong4Life ad12 Maggie doesnt need a diet or a humiliating billboardBut the images that go with the campaign? They disgust me, especially the one on the left of the little girl. That’s strong language, but that’s exactly what I felt when I saw the campaign’s visuals. I wouldn’t want any of my daughters to see them. I have several friends whose spindly, thin girls are already concerned they’re getting fat. These girls are 7 and 8 years old and are wondering if they need to go on a diet. Did the experts behind the campaign ever stop to consider this? That healthy children might see those posters and fear being fat even more than they already do or think they’re overweight when they’re not.

And what about the children who are heavy? How will they feel seeing these posters and billboards that vilify being overweight? Do you think these kids chose to be obese? Maybe there’s a small percentage of adult hedonists who decide to embrace total gluttony and are saying, “To heck with my body!” But no child chooses to be overweight. Even they wanted to, a child can’t go to the grocery store and pick out more healthy food on her own. They’re at the whim of the adults in their lives. Kids are not naturally fat; the adults who feed them help to make them that way. Maybe we should be singling out the parents instead of the children. How about a billboard showing the typical processed, sugary fare a child eats and saying that this could be slowly killing your child, along with some statistics on the skyrocketing rates of Type 2 diabetes in children? (I actually don’t have as much of a problem with some of the messages in the images pictured below to the right.)

Honestly, I don’t believe we should even resort to aggressive guilt tactics with the parents either. Most parents want their children to be healthy and happy. There are some families where everyone is overweight, and the children should be given the tools they need to escape the fat trap. If a parent thinks Cheese Its are a healthy snack, someone needs to step in and tell them differently.

But I ended on up on the chunky side while the rest of my family were at healthy weights. I had a thin mom. My dad, who has recently worked very hard to lose some of the weight he gained as he grew older, was not overweight when I was younger. My brothers ate virtually the same things I did (except I ate more vegetables and gave up eating meat at a very young age, which really was the beginning of my disordered eating), but they were not overweight. My mom, in retrospect, says she wishes she had known how sad and shameful I felt. My parents didn’t know much about nutrition. This is true. Likewise, my dad grew up in a family where love was served up on huge platters brimming with butter. But there was more to my weight gain than what I was putting into my mouth.

I was a chubby, LITTLE girl, and seeing one of those posters would have cracked my eggshell ego. Shame is not the way to help people choose a more healthful lifestyle. Stigmatizing fat children or fat people in general isn’t going to keep them from reaching for the Doritos. In fact, that sweet girl (pictured above left) might already be lugging around a lot more shame than body fat.

Some argue a little bit of shame and guilt are necessary to motivate people to address this serious issue. If this is the case (and I’m clearly not sold on that), then it needs to clearly be directed at the adults.

However,images1 Maggie doesnt need a diet or a humiliating billboard what I don’t like about any propaganda that stigmatize overweight people is that there’s a subterranean message that the extra weight isn’t bad, but the people who carry it around are. We can’t treat people – especially young children who should feel free and full of hope – like convicts. This will only set them up for further forbidden eating.

In fact, I’d wager to say that shame usually isn’t a good motivator for overweight adults either. Virtually anyone who is obese wants to free themselves from carrying around the extra weight and the burden of being overweight; they just don’t know how, or they don’t realize how long it takes to do it the right way.

One of the reasons people continue to eat too much is because there’s a part of them that wants to hide away. “Look at me! I’m fat! Don’t get too close to me.”

In my own experience as being a child who was teased for her weight, I started to eat more because I felt like I could never live up to the ideal standard of beauty that was out there. I had a beautiful, thin mom. I’d never be anything like her, so why even try? I didn’t like my body, but I didn’t like myself more. Poor self-image and low self-esteem feed a child’s desire to eat more. Each new rejection in my life – and seeing one of those posters would have felt like a lot like rejection – sent me to the pantry. So how can shaming obese children possibly help them to escape the despair they’re already feeling? A 6-year-old hopefully can’t turn to drugs or alcohol to help take away her pain and take her away from herself, but she can eat more cake.

I remember from a very young age associating shame with how much I ate. I was once at a friend’s house and felt like I was eating too many chips. My friend was rail-thin, and I was not. I felt so yucky in her presence. You’d think I’d stop eating those chips. Instead, I started eating more because I just felt so pathetic.

fat me 1024x768 Maggie doesnt need a diet or a humiliating billboard

That's me at about 12, holding one of my cousins.

When I stumble upon childhood pictures of me like the one above, it make me sad because what I see now is a child who could have afforded to lose some weight for the sake of her health but also a sweet, funny, sensitive, smart, and creative, little girl. But when I was living that life, I felt like the way I looked defined me. I was bad because I weighed too much. I became skilled at putting up a good front and smiling, but inside I just felt so ashamed. What I needed then was someone to tell me that there was hope, that, yes, maybe I needed to learn to eat more intuitively again, but that I was still a good, beautiful, lovable kid.

If any overweight kids are reading this or anyone overweight period, know this. You are not bad. But some of the foods you’re eating or how much you’re eating might be bad for your health, and you deserve to live a healthy, happy life.

I’m not suggesting every overweight kid has deeper emotional issues, but I’d argue that many do, especially once they do start to fall into that obese category through no fault of their own and start to get teased. However, even if a child is simply eating too much and doesn’t feel ashamed of his or her extra weight, then we need channel our efforts at reaching the parents and educators. A doctor or other trusted professional needs to sit down with the parents (away from the children) and give them the straight facts.

While I am careful to not label food as bad in my house, I also tell my kids that we can’t eat too much sugar not because it will make us fat but because it’s just not the best fuel for our bodies. We need to empower parents to serve real food rather than processed garbage. Even innocuous crackers and bread now have corn syrup in them. So many parents don’t even realize they’re giving their kids junk devoid of any nutritional value to eat.

We all have our own set point weights and natural designs, but young children are naturally more mindful eaters. We screw them up by forcing them to eat by the clock instead of by their stomachs or by telling them to clean their plate or filling our 7-month-old babies with sugary juice we think is healthy.

Before this anti-obesity campaign got me fired up, I’d planned on lambasting a new children’s book called Maggie Goes on A Diet Maggie doesnt need a diet or a humiliating billboard
that was written to empower overweight children to slim down. To be fair, I haven’t read the book. I’ve only read about it and also checked its summary and reviews out on Amazon. But I don’t like the book’s premise. Not one bit. The storyline goes something like this: Chunky Maggie is bullied at school. She decides to go on a diet and starts exercising to lose weight. She succeeds and – poof! – her life is instantly better. She becomes the star of the soccer team, scores some major popularity points, and leaves her sad, plump self behind.

It sounds like my biography, but it needs another chapter. This chapter tells the story of a Maggie who discovers that the secret to happiness and affirmation hinges on how thin she is. Eventually she has a bad soccer game. Her friends stop noticing how skinny she is. She feels sad again, so she starts to diet harder. And by diet, I mean she decides to only eat shards of lettuce (hold the dressing, please), and she runs, rain or shine, because she will not get fat again. She will guard her heart from ever getting hurt again. She will make herself disappear before she will be bullied.

And so Maggie lives desperately obsessed with her weight ever after…

Like Georgia’s anti-obesity campaign, this book is approaching this sensitive topic from the wrong angle. First off, childhood obesity is not just a girl’s problem. Don’t young girls already have enough pressure piled on them about how it’s their appearance that makes them popular, powerful even, or the opposite – ignored and worthless? Why did the author choose a girl to star in his weight loss success story? Oh, because there’s even more of a stigma for overweight girls (and perfectly, healthy chubby babies). Beefy boys are strong and will make good football players. Stocky girls are just fat. And since being an overweight girl is so miserable, a fat girl who gets thin makes for a better, more captivating story.

Secondly, I know what it’s like to experience that magical makeover like Maggie did. Although my eating habits could have been better as a young child (though my mom insists I didn’t eat all that much; I ate more in secrret), I also believe I naturally packed on some pounds when I started to prepare for puberty. When I finally blossomed at 15, I naturally thinned out without any dieting (although I had started running). I returned to school, and the same boys who mercilessly teased me for being chunky started asking me out on dates. Nothing other than my external shell had changed. Case in point: One “nice” guy told me I was a nerd trapped in a hot body. So I was the same nerdy girl, but my new looks somehow made me better. My newfound popularity rooted in my physical appearance sent a very clear message to me: You are more lovable if you’re thinner. You are better if there is less of you.

Maggie’s little tale sends the same message when it should be telling children they are precious and beloved and because of this, they should want to take care of themselves and make the most of the bodies they were given.

Posters showcasing sad, fat children flip the message around. You are miserable because you are fat. You are not good, and life is hard because there is too much of you. But maybe these poor kids are fat because they’re miserable. They’re feeding their sorrow. Maybe they need to be told they are good, lovable, and worthwhile.

Maggie doesn’t need a diet. No child needs a diet. Lifestyle changes? Sure, but not a diet. (The growth of the dieting industry interestingly correlates with increasing obesity rates.)

An overweight girl doesn’t need to be told it’s not easy being a little girl. She already knows that.

What these children need is a lesson in self-love. They need to know that they have the power to make positive changes (with the help of a parent or another understanding adult). These children need grownups in their lives who recognize that their bodies are very, very important – gifts on loan from God. These same adults need to encourage healthy eating and not throw cupcake parties for every stinking holiday.

Above all, these children need to be loved into loving themselves enough to make the necessary changes to live a more healthful, whole life. We won’t bring them to a healthy place by shaming them or sharing fairy tale stories where the fat-turned-skinny-girl locks down the happily ever after. Just because you slim down doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, or your life will be perfect. That fantasy of a skinny idyll kept me compulsively stepping on the scale for years. Our little women, in particular, are already at tremendous risk of sacrificing their true selves in a world where the dignity of women is constantly under attack. Let’s build them up, show them their worth is not a size, remind them that God created woman as the crown of creation, and that they are a crown worth polishing, a crown that deserves nothing less than to shine.

UPDATED: After a friend of mine mentioned reading some articles about the campaign in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I decided to explore around Google. This article, “Fight Obesity, Not the People,” does an excellent job of explaining why these ads might not have their desired effect and may even backfire.

Enter the Conversation...

17 Responses to “Maggie doesn’t need a diet or a humiliating billboard”
  1. Colleen says:

    Those billboards are terrible. What a shame.

    I wrote about once the difference in comments we got when Maggie was a baby after having three boy babies. With the exception of my first lean baby boy, all my babies weighed about 20 pounds at 6 months. Yet Maggie would get rude comments (She’s going to be one of those big girls!) and the boys would be praised on how strong and healthy they were. It made me so sad. I want to tell all those rude people that Maggie turned into a TALL and beautiful little girl.

    I love chubby babies, whatever their gender. And I love thin babies too. They are all God’s creation. Is there a word for weight discrimination? A weightist, perhaps? Let’s stop being weightists and look to the person inside.

    P.S. I love the photo of you holding the baby…just a warmup for your days of motherhood now!

  2. I only have a boy so far, and I’ve only heard the positive comments.
    I really wish advocacy groups would focus on encouraging healthy foods like whole grains and fresh produce and on increasing exercise and just drop the whole childhood obesity thing though.
    Once when I asked if she had any tips for getting my then 1 year old to obey my commands, a relative merely replied “if you can’t get him to listen now, he’ll never listen when he’s a teenager” and I feel like this is kind of like that. Guilting people without offering them tools to change for the better isn’t going to achieve positive results-it’s just going to make them feel bad. And offering those tools without the guilt would achieve just as much (if not more) positive than both together.
    Crunchy Con Mommy recently posted..February Towel of the Month

  3. Amen to everything you said, Kate! Having battled both being overweight and being overobsessed (and over thin), alternatively, most of my life, I cringed when I saw this billboard downtown ATL. Now that I’m a mom (of one boy, so far), I am acutely aware that I have a responsibility to help him learn to make good food choices. But shaming? And shaming the CHILD? More like shame on the campaign.
    Victoria @ Mommy Marginalia recently posted..Crustless Chicken Asparagus Quiche

  4. Jennifer G. says:

    Unfortunately, I feel like children have very little control over their food choices. They eat what the parents eat. Even if they have all the knowledge and desire to eat healthy, if all they get at home are Cheetos and fried chicken, there’s little to be done.

    At one of the schools I use to work at, one of the kindergarteners was so severely obese (he was 133 lbs as a 5 year old) that social services had to step in. The parents would literately pick him up in the carpool lane and hand him a 21 ounce Coke and sleeve of Oreos for his afternoon snack. It really can be a form of abuse.

    You are absolutely right about children needing lifestyle changes. I think the people to target are the parents, not the children. Of course, I think healthy nutrition and exercise should be taught and encouraged, but I don’t think children should be chastised (as in the mentioned ads) for something that is mostly out of their control.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Jennifer, I’ve heard of stories like that. I’m not sure what the solution is in those cases where what parents are feeding their children really could be construed as borderline abusive. I do believe the campaign’s intentions are good. They’re probably trying to shock some parents into realizing that they have to make some changes, if not for their own health, then for the sake of the children.

  5. Kris says:

    From what I have read about the campaign (many articles in the AJC), part of the main purpose IS to reach the parents. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the campaign in that statement, just stating what I’ve read. You’re right that kids have very little control over what food is available to them, and it’s the parents that need to be educated on what to offer, and how to let their children hear and feel their own hunger cues. That being said, childhood obesity is a HUGE problem in this country (no pun intended) and it needs to be addressed. Americans are a largely overweight nation and it’s impacting many other areas, not just as individuals, but as a nation. Our healthcare costs alone will continue to skyrocket as people age, with diabetes, coronary disease, high cholesterol, etc. And it starts with educating our children.

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Hi, Kris. I’d love to read some of the AJC articles. I’ll have to hit Google later.

      I agree childhood obesity needs to be addressed; I hope I made that clear. I agree, too, that the intentions behind the campaign are good, but as a parent, a formerly chubby child, an eating disorder survivor, and now someone who gets what it takes to be healthy and why it’s so important, I’m not sold on the campaign’s angle. However, as I briefly mentioned in my long-winded post, some of the “ads” didn’t strike me as quite as offensive as others. It’s clear that the message is trying to target the adults/parents. Likewise, I’m sure the campaign figured that using the images of kids might tug on the heartstrings of parents more than if they showed the picture of a fat parent as a portrait of what a child has to look forward to, but the images single out the children in this story, not the adults who may have got them to this point.

      Our weight problem in this country is very complicated. My husband’s colleague (a doctor) has sent us medical literature that makes a very convincing argument that it’s fructose corn syrup and white flour that is poisoning our bodies and making us fat. But the stuff is everywhere unless you make everything from scratch. I started looking at 100 percent whole wheat bread labels, and even some of those “wholesome” loaves have the stuff in it. I make a lot of my bread from scratch now, but that’s not realistic for every family.

      Likewise, it’s interesting because most of the United States’ nutritional programs were based on a flawed study that showed saturated fat was the culprit behind our widening waistlines. However, as our saturated fat intake has decreased, our obesity and heart disease rates have continued to rise. What are we continuing to eat and eat more of? Refined carbs and sugar.

      Still, I’m a firm believer that if we all just learned to eat mindfully, we wouldn’t have weight problems. Of course, sugar can make you act like an addict and make it more difficult for you to stop eating. The same is true with some of the potato chips. The food industry purposefully puts the magical combo of ingredients in these pre-packaged foods to make it harder to not eat more than a reasonable share. Even kids who don’t seem to gain weight may be eating far too much junk and setting themselves up for health problems down the road. It’s not just the overtly obese kids that aren’t healthy.

      Then again, I don’t support government food police either. Yes, educate us. Require foods to have clearcut labels, but then it’s up to us to make the right choices and be good stewards of our bodies and physical health. It goes back to individual freedom; we have the freedom to make good – and bad choices.

      I’m not sure where that leaves the children though. They have very little power to change their eating habits if they’re parents are willing to help. We also have to look at how little kids play outdoors. Everything is so structured. They’re not playing freestyle games of tag. Their thumbs are getting exercise texting, but that’s about it for a lot of kids who are not involved with organized sports.

      At any rate, I agree there’s a problem, but I don’t know what the best solution is (clearly); however, Georgia’s campaign as well as the Maggie book may have some unintended negative side effects and leave us with kids who are still fat and ashamed, too.

  6. Kate Wicker says:

    Oh, and one more thing for now. (I really need to get back to my littles; they may grow up with a healthy self-esteem, but they won’t know how to make a volcano out of salt dough – our plan for the afternoon.)

    Here’s an analogy that might help better convey why the images in the campaign don’t sit well with me.

    What if we were trying to design a campaign to promote chastity and purity and we snapped a photo of a teenage girl scantily clad and scowling with the words: “If you don’t want people to think you’re a whore, then don’t dress like one”?

    How would you react? How would little girls react?

    What, if instead, we used images and language that conveyed truths like this: “It’s better to discuss modesty and beauty in God’s terms. You are beautiful and sacred because you are a child of God. There’s no need to draw attention to yourself with revealing clothing. If you don’t want to be treated like an object, don’t expose the objects you want people to see past. Remember, my beloved, that modesty protects the mystery that is you.”

    This isn’t a perfect analogy, but I think most of us would agree that shaming our girls into protecting their purity and modesty isn’t the best route.

    Little man needs his mama, and a volcano eruption awaits! Blessings to all, and thanks for having this important conversation with me.

  7. Kimberlie says:

    OK, I have to admit to only skimming this right now because it’s getting close to dinner, but the bit I read worries me. I do understand the childhood obesity problem. I have a 10 yr old boy that I can’t decide whether he’s just going a bit wide before he shoots up as a lot of children his age do, or whether he’s getting a little chunky. So we are eating healthier but I never, NEVER, mention his weight. I am overweight but working out and eating healthier and my kids see me losing weight. We are just making a lifestyle change. But never would I tell my son to diet even if he’s not just about to have a growth spurt. That would imply that there is something defective about who he is as a person and there is not.

    Oh, I can’t think coherently about this right now, but here’s another thought I have: has the gov’t ever considered that they have caused this problem? The school lunches are not healthy whatever they say about new guidelines. They have cut recess time during the day to 20 minutes, and that’s if a child gets through the lunch line and eats their food promptly. As children get older than elementary, there’s no recess at all. When I was growing up, all the way through high school, PE was mandatory every day. Seriously. And I was an athlete that participated in 3 seasons of sports. No exceptions. Now my elementary students rotate specials so that some weeks they have PE only once, another week it might be twice.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is a hot-button topic for me. :)
    Kimberlie recently posted..A Couple of Links

  8. Kate, I can’t even imagine being one of the children who posed for the billboard. They will forever define themselves by those posters. It’s tragic. I think there’s a better way to approach this serious issue. The posters, especially the photographs, are not the way to do it. I hurt for those kids, and the kids who will be adversely affected. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Cassie says:

    This is a terrible campaign. First of all, the pictures are just not good. Secondly, I, personally, don’t agree that the government’s so called healthy diet is healthy. The government is so tied up in who owns what company and who sits in the FDA. It’s no wonder that they don’t stop the terrible way they produce meat here- the guy from Tyson chicken sits on the FDA. So I just can’t stand behind any of that. I ate a government diet before, the standard American one. I felt horrible and tired. I hope to teach my kids a better way, traditional cooking and eating.
    Thanks for speaking out about this. Children shouldn’t feel fat or ugly. Sometimes the choices aren’t theirs. :(

    • Kate Wicker says:

      Cassie, you make such an excellent point about the government promoting the wrong kind of healthy diet. It was the FDA that demonized saturated fat. So food companies started making low-fat food. Since they tasted terrible without the fat, they added more sugar, often in the form of fructose. I’ve been doing a lot of research on how it’s the refined carbs and sugar that are making us sick. The politics of food is very interesting indeed. I just learned that companies can actually pay the American Heart Association to have the non-profit organization’s seal on their products’ labels. The food has to meet certain requirements, but just because it has the AHA label doesn’t mean it’s a nutritional superstar. People may think they’re eating something really healthy when they’re really not.

      This video is an hour, but it’s well worth your time. It makes a very convincing argument that the large quanities of processed junk and sugar are literally poisoning us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

      Although I still advocate an “everything in moderation” approach to food, we need to inform ourselves about what we’re putting into our own and our family’s mouths.
      Kate Wicker recently posted..Maggie doesn’t need a diet or a humiliating billboard

  10. Erica S. says:

    Thank you, Kate, for your informative article. Those billboards are so sad and brought tears to my eyes. You are so right that shaming children is not the answer! Like you, I was an overweight child and the only one in my family with a weight problem. I ate the food that was in our home, most of it was boxed, processed, and full of sugar. I remember the hurtful words that adults and other children said to me. Now, I eat healthy and exercise most days of the week, and I teach my children about nutritious whole foods and the importance of keeping our bodies strong and active. I am going to share your post on my blog because I think your message is so important. Thank you.

  11. KG says:

    Wow. Thanks for this Kate. My baby girl (11 mos) was born at 7 lbs, 6oz. She grew rapidly and was wearing 12 month clothes by five months and now is in 24 mos. clothing. I get s many comments about how big she is; my son on the other hand was ( and still is) small for his age amd I get negative comments about that too. Its very frustrating either way! Thank you fo this post.

  12. Sheila says:

    I was never fat growing up. At 14, past puberty, I was still 95 pounds. But that doesn’t mean I was healthy. We didn’t eat that great growing up, mainly because we were kind of poor, and our diet didn’t have much variety. My grandma would always say we looked “peaked” or that we looked like “poster children for poverty!” And I suppose we did.

    The fact is, a child who isn’t eating well isn’t healthy — regardless of what that child weighs. It’s just more obvious with the heavy ones. Why don’t we focus on the importance of nutrition for growing kids? Tell parents what good nutrition looks like, give them tips on providing it (on a budget, within time constraints, and with picky eaters — a tall order), and encourage exercise. Revamp the school lunch program, which is some of the most unhealthy food I’ve ever seen. Have more recess.

    Maybe a bulletin board would help … a bulletin board about *healthy diet.* I can imagine one with a food pyramid full of McDonalds, Coke, and Fruit Roll-Ups and say, “Doesn’t your growing child deserve better than this?” Throughout history, we’ve always saved the best food for the kids. Kids would be sent to live on farms for the summer so they could eat the wholesome fresh milk and vegetables. Parents forced cod liver oil into their mouths because they were trying to build a healthy body for their child for life. And now I’m hearing all kinds of ridiculous things — like the notion that kids just need calories and it doesn’t matter where they come from, because “kids are resilient little critters.” Not really … not when they’re vitamin deficient. Why do you think the adults in our country are all so unhealthy? They started eating badly as kids, and it’s only now that their health is failing that they’re starting to make a change. For many, it will be too late.

    This has nothing to do with weight. Weight is a symptom. Why waste your time demonizing the symptom when you’re not really talking about the disease OR the cure? Next we’ll have billboards of kids with acne. “Guess she’ll never get a boyfriend now.” No mention of what might be causing the acne or what might fix it. No, let’s just crush the kid’s self-image and move on.

    Ugh. So frustrating. I agree with you 100%.

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