Let’s Move Past Simplistic Happy Talk on Childhood Obesity
Commenters are churning out lots of commentary about elitists and populists these days. We would prefer a turn toward realists. And for a dose of reality about childhood obesity, voices from Appalachia might be worth hearing. Amidst a lot of happy talk about obesity rates dropping in toddlers, West Virginia’s Parkersburg News and Sentinel has some sobering words:
“Successes” touted in some parts of the country distract from abject failures in others. Predictably, forgotten regions such as Appalachia have seen obesity rates worsen since Obama’s project kicked off. North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia were among the states where childhood obesity rates increased significantly.
Here in the Mountain State, childhood obesity rates rose from 14.4 percent in 2010 to 16.4 percent in 2014.
The Let’s Move! campaign to solve childhood obesity within a generation deserves recognition for setting aspirational goals and a positive agenda to improve physical activity and nutrition for children. First Lady Michelle Obama deserves the praise she earned for her considerable accomplishments on food policy.
We need more than simplistic happy talk about childhood obesity. The source of the problem runs much deeper than just food and physical activity. Pretending otherwise invites derision for families living with obesity. We’ve had enough of that.
We need to get real about the complex disease of obesity, the many factors that contribute to it, and the need for more evidence-based obesity prevention and medical care. Superficial PR campaigns will not solve this problem.
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November 20, 2016