Happy Little Faces

 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.

Potential Contributors to ObesityBut we are not on the way to solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Pretending that we are suggests that “those who fall behind are expendable,” says the News and Sentinel.

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.

Click here for more from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

Happy Little Faces, photograph © Giorgos Vintzileos / flickr

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November 20, 2016

2 Responses to “ Let’s Move Past Simplistic Happy Talk on Childhood Obesity”

  1. November 20, 2016 at 8:11 am, Allen Browne said:

    Yup! The kids and their families need help. A stable percentage is too much! All children deserve a chance. We need to use the biology and biochemistry to prevent and treat. All monies spent should pass a simple test – is it in keeping with our previous efforts and is it in keeping with the science of the disease of obesity.

    Have a good day. How much snow did you get? Zero here – it’s all going north – this time


    • November 20, 2016 at 9:44 am, Ted said:

      Thanks, Allen, for your good work in this endeavor. We got just a dusting of snow.