Origami Santa Claus

Bad Santa, Bad Assumptions about Obesity

Finding good news in the story of a bad Santa in Forest City, NC, is pretty hard. When this small town’s Santa helper told a nine-year-old boy to “lay off the hamburgers and fries,” the boy burst into tears and his mother became hopping mad. She demanded that the town of Forest City, this Santa helper’s employer, fire him.

No need. The story went viral. Santa’s helper resigned and then landed in the hospital with a blood clot in his lung. It was a bad day for everyone involved. This particular Santa’s helper had been on the job in Forest City for 12 years, ever since the town dismissed his predecessor for inappropriate behavior on the job.

Most of the hardship in this situation was avoidable. Bad information about obesity abounds. No wonder that otherwise jolly fellow made the mistaken assumption that all obesity comes from too many burgers and fries. Even if you add sugary soda into the assumption, you still don’t have the complete picture. Obesity comes in many different forms for many different reasons. But way too many people – even professionals who should know better – keep promoting simplistic and false ideas.

Obesity medicine physician Scott Kahan shook his head and lamented the situation saying:

Unsolicited advice from strangers about childhood obesity is rarely helpful, and can cause harm. Obesity has many different causes. Assumptions are usually wrong.

So in the spirit of the season, let’s drop the harsh judgments and unsolicited advice. We all need grace.

Santa, please bring us some Christmas cheer!

Click here for more from the Washington Post and here for more of the backstory.

Origami Santa Claus, photograph © Herbert Kajiura / flickr

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December 10, 2016

One Response to “Bad Santa, Bad Assumptions about Obesity”

  1. December 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm, Allen Browne said:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And hopefully a new year free from harsh judgments and unsolicited advice and free from simplistic and false ideas.