In a news article out today, a doctor is calling for weight-loss surgery to be more readily availble for children; he claims that it’s a necessary measure to stem the rise of obesity in the young. Essentially he is urging parents to put their kids under the knife, before they are fully matured and promoting the removal of a large portion of the stomach so that the intake of food that will satisfy their appetite will be greatly reduced.
I will no doubt be called out for saying this but wouldn’t it be simpler, cheaper and less traumatic for the child to speak to the parents about nutrition and exercise? This ‘obesity epidemic’ has only come about since the mass consumption of processed and fast foods and the inclination of kids to spend their days glued to their mobile phones rather than being outside kicking around a football or riding a bike so why can’t we start there?
It’s been known for sometime that sugar is highly addictive and yet it is added, in one form or another, to virtually all junk food and processed foods. Some scientists say that it’s more addictive than cocaine but parents seem to be quite happy to continue shovelling it down their kid’s throats in the name of ‘convenience’. It also doesn’t help that parents will often negotiate with their children using sugar as a bargaining chip – “if you’re a good girl, we’ll stop off at MacDonalds afterwards as a ‘treat'” or “be a good boy and we’ll buy you some sweets”………
This sends the message that sugar is a reward for good behaviour.
Conversely, vegetables and fruit are, I would imagine, rarely used for motivation; how many parents say “be good and you can have vegetable stir fry for dinner”?
I’m not saying that parents who use food as carrot or stick are bad for doing so; I certainly grew up with the idea that sweets were treats but that was before the days of sugar being hidden in absoutely everything so I didn’t consume enough of it to become addicted…………
Exercise, or lack thereof, is another contributor to obesity in the young. I wonder how many children walk to school these days rather than have their parents drop them off in the car on the way to work? How many exercise with their parents on a regular basis; go out for a walk, go swimming etc? How many play team sports on a regular basis? Finally, how many do all of these things but in a virtual world?
Cutting out lumps of kids’ stomachs is not the answer; fresh natural foods and regular exercise are the things that will end the ‘obesity crisis’ but I guess that’s a pretty old fashioned idea………..