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.