If parents were killing their children, we’d be up in arms. We’d be marching, protesting, “occupying.” Heck, some of us want to put them in jail for spanking their kids.
So why is it when parents pass their “killer” eating and fitness habits on to their kids, thus leading them down a path of obesity, which leads to any number of maladies that can lead to a lifetime of poor health and even kill them–we seem to go soft?
The ad above, created to raise awareness of childhood obesity in the state of Georgia, is designed to shock, and it does. But is it more shocking than facts such as 1 in 4 third-graders in the state is obese–four times higher than the expected percentage based on the population? (Another 19% is merely overweight.)
And the effects are already manifest: Hospital costs related to obese children in the state rose from $35 million in 1979-81 to $127 million in 1997-99, the last year for which data was published.
Nationally, the numbers are only slightly better. The percentage of children 6-11 who are obese soared from 7% in 1980 to 20% in 2008, according to the CDC. Among children 12-19, the numbers rose from 5% to 18%
These children are at increased risk for cardio vascular disease, pre-diabetes and bone and joint problems.
How does this happen? Of course, children are impacted by many factors in every aspect of their lives. But the most vital one is the home.
Home is the incubator for habits we will carry for the rest of our lives.
Our children are influenced by what we do in almost every way, especially when they are young.
They repeat when they hear from us.
They do as we do.
They eat as we eat.
They live as we live.
Kids don’t go shopping at the grocery store or drive into the fast-food chain five days a week.
Parents do. Just being real, folks.
Some say the ad is void on solutions, and that is true.
But solutions and resources for accessing them have been out there for years. Unfortunately, the people who need them most usually ignore them.
Perhaps until their shocked.
Maybe they’ll be shocked skinny.
And maybe save their kid’s life.
At least I hope so.