Are fat kids being abused?

An Australian medical journal says doctors at a childrens’ hospital say the growing prevalence of severe obesity in kids is leaving many health workers unsure if they should notify child protection workers when parents fail to follow medical advice.

So, in Canadian terms, if your kid is obese and you, as a parent, don’t do all you can to trim them down, doctors and nurses can call the Children’s Aid Society.

Is that excessive?

The easy answer, I think, is no, that’s perfectly acceptable. Parents are responsible for their kid’s health and if they’re raising a gigant-asaurus that can’t walk up a flight a stairs then maybe their kids would be better off in a foster home where better-positioned parents can get the kid on a treadmill and feed them properly.

But I don’t think it can be so cut and dried, because there’s plenty of reasons today’s kids are so obese, and I don’t think it’s all a parent’s fault.

What about technology, which doesn’t make it necessary to walk outside and meet someone to learn every single thing about them?

What about poverty, which stops low-income earners from providing their families with fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and meat, instead of boxes and boxes of processed shit?

What about the computer, television and video game industries that turn kids into couch potatoes and zombies that live in a fabricated world?

What about the cost of organized sports, where a low-end hockey stick is over $50?

What about big business, which expects people to work 10 or 12 hour days, leaving children to their own devices?

What about the education system, which continues to cut recess time and stifle playground activity with generic, boring equipment because a kid maybe, just maybe, could get hurt on a slide that has a six-inch drop to the ground and bang, you got yourself a lawsuit?

What about a medical system that just throws prescription drugs like Ritalin at kids instead of discovering reasons for their behaviour, and helping parents harness that energy into something productive?

What about you, because, well, have you hugged a fat kid lately?

Are all of these ills the fault of parents? I don’t think so. Sure, ripping that Happy Meal out of a kid’s hand now and again and replacing it with an apple is important, but does the fact your kid is fat make you an unfit parent?

I think there’s plenty of ways to share that blame.

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2 Responses to Are fat kids being abused?

  1. Mr Lady says:

    Risky post, dude. Sometimes, children are genetically obese, and there ain’t nothing nobody can do about it. That’s just that. Calling the police on those parents is no different than calling the police on someone who never takes their kid outside because they are photosensitive.

    Buuuuuut….Yeah, if it’s not a physical, genetic thing, if it’s just video games and Happy Meals, in the end, school’s aren’t raising our kids. Organized sports aren’t either. Nintendo sure as hell isn’t. In the end, it comes down to US. In the end, the blame lands on us. Technology may make it so my kids don’t need to go outside, so I turn the computer off, right? If the hockey stick runs me $50 I don’t have, I grab a tennis ball and a large stick, right? If my doctor prescribes Ritalin and I think it’s the wrong move, I don’t fill the prescription. Everything we do is a choice.

    Also, i grew up far, far below the poverty level, and I’d safely say that we were never able to get fat, because we couldn’t afford enough food to end up fat.

    Unfit parents? No. Parents making really bad choices and not accepting their share of the blame? For sure. Do I think those kids should be removed from the home? HELL NO. Do I think that maybe someone might want to take those parents hands and help them along? I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    My two cents. I totally get your point, dude. TOTALLY.

  2. 1sttimedad says:

    Damn you Mr. Lady. How dare you poke holes through my entire argument! *ha ha*

    As I wrote it I kept saying to myself, ‘well, a parent could turn off the TV’, and that’s totally true, but it has just become such a way of life for an entire generation of kids that even turning off the TV once a day isn’t going to right the problem. Because I know we don’t shut the tube off on The Hurricane until even WE realize it has been on too long. And she barely pays attention to it, unless it’s Baby Einstein or something of that ilk. It’s just always on as background noise, and hooking her each and every day.

    I can’t remember the last time there was kids on my street playing outside – in the fresh snow even! – and we live in a family neighbourhood, so it’s not just my house either.

    I very much agree with you that there should be a support system for parents who can or can’t blame genes, because they aren’t unfit, just uneducated or perhaps even not too bright, which is the case with the majority of adults I deal with on a daily basis.

    I dunno.

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