Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Continuing the Conversation

As you can read under More Information For You, the Senate passed the resolution declaring September as "National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month." As I read through the release (and so much that is written about this issue), I find myself agreeing with many of the concepts and proposals. At the same time, I remain deeply concerned about the potential for further stigmatizing and harming the very children that everyone wants to help. I believe that we must ask ourselves whether any action or program is likely to make it easier or more difficult for children eat smart and be active.

School gardens and active recess - these are great ideas for all sorts of reasons! Biggest loser programs in schools or deeming photos of obese children - these are obviously bad news. It's all the possibilities along the spectrum that we must thoughtfully consider - so as to be both respectful and effective. [Note to Senators: Skip the exercise advice. Very few kids are eager to do that, but many of them love to P-L-A-Y (when they have adults role models and safe places to do it).]

Since I believe that the most respectful and ultimately effective programs focus on delicious nutrition and active play for children of all shapes, sizes, and weights, I plan to continue that conversation here and in other forums. Since I also believe that this discussion must include the prevention of bullying and eating problems, I plan to talk about those as well. Let's be honest: Any child who is teased about her or his weight isn't going to feel much like "exercising" or having a smart snack. They are much more likely to hide out on safe couch with a favorite "comfort food."

So, my first order of business (
in a tiny counter-revolution to Jamie Oliver) will be to explode some myths about school meals - and to feature School Meals That Rock. The conversation continues ...


  1. I was thrilled to see your article in the Gazette about the anti obesity programs. BRAVO! I grew up as an overweight kid and am an overweight adult. You are right on target when you say that shaming people does nothing to help them lose weight. The idea of active play and delicious nutrion along with role models who accept you big or small...that is the key. No one should feel they are less simply because of their size.

  2. What an insightful distinction: P-L-A-Y vs. exercise. I have just stumbled upon your fabulous blog in the course of writing an article on school lunches and LOVE it. You have just changed the course of my summer outlook with my own Little Lovely, age 10.