This is by no means perfect as I wrote it in about ten minutes to half an hour. I didn’t edit it at all because I had to get it up on the discussion board before tonight. It’s not science, but it’s something. It’s also a bit cheeky, but that’s mostly due to how much I hate this class and everyone in it.
One of the general problems with childhood obesity is that we look at fat kids and solely point them out as being unhealthy instead of thinking about the health of all children. Being fat is not an overall sign of being unhealthy just as being skinny is not a sign of being in good health.
The first thing I would suggest is to eliminate food deserts. If you live in an area where the only place to get food from is the corner convenient store “healthy” eating may not even be a possibility. If you live in a market that doesn’t have a regular traffic of fresh foods you’re more likely to eat pre packaged foods or to eat out. Not everyone has cars to get to a decent grocery store, and not every area has good (or any) public transportation. Putting affordable quality food in an area is a good way to increase overall health. Doesn’t matter how it happens, either through communal farms, traveling farmers markets, or an affordable quality grocery store, anything that boosts a person’s choice in what foods they can afford to feed their child will help.
The second thing I would do is institute educational programs that focused more on teaching kids and their parents ways to go about shopping for food. There’s so much misinformation out about foods out there it’s difficult to know what works for each individual person. Some people say you shouldn’t eat red meat ever, and some say eat as much red meat as you want just don’t touch carbs. If people were properly educated in what all things were actually in food as well as what effects they might have on their own individual bodies it would be easier to know which route they wanted to take towards healthy eating.
The third thing I would do is to end fat shaming and the focus on being skinny as a sign of good health. In children, the prevalence of fat shaming from their peers and the adults around them does nothing to make them not be obese. Having young children start on diets is dangerous to their health. Yo-Yoing weight is much worse than being fat for your overall health. Also, doing things to make fat kids skinny is no guarantee of them being healthy. Promoting the agenda of overall child health and safety is a much better way to end childhood obesity than programs seeking to keep kids from being fat. The other thing with this is that emotional state is a component of weight loss, and it’s more difficult for people (and especially children) to be motivated to lose any weight when their self esteem is constantly being shattered. Finally, this huge focus on not having fat kids is much more likely to lead to a problem with eating disorders than a focus on healthy eating in general.