I was reading candyland to bandland's blog about the new obesity intervention public service ads that are running in Georgia. As we all know the South has one of the bigger problems with obesity then in other areas of the country and I have to say that I understand the intent was well-meaning. But if they seriously think the same type of campaign they do for not trying Meth is going to work for obesity then the creators of this campaign have no idea how obesity effects those who are obese.
It's not like you can say, don't try food because once you try it you're hooked and your life will be all about stealing money to buy that pizza you're craving. At first it's whining to mom you want the sugary cereal while walking down the cereal aisle and next it's stealing jewelry to get enough cash to score skittles in an alley from a dealer.
Here's one of the supporters/creators who talks about the research about being effective, what she's not saying is the research is most likely market research determining if people thought the ad campaign was effective in creating a dialogue about obesity, not if it's effective in the solving the problem of childhood obesity. For that you need evidence based research -- this is the problem when you try to move this out of the health arena and into the marketing arena -- this can not be solved by focus groups.
Okay, maybe they're not as scary as those don't try meth commercials (and have you seen those, they freak the he.ll out of my kids YAY). Yes, I do think that parents should get their heads out of the sand about it. But what research (and not market research but evidence-based research) shows is that health care providers, especially pediatricians are loathe to bring the subject up. Where is the ad campaign for them?
My kids' pediatrician? oh my gosh he's on board! My oldest is 95th in height and 70th in weight, he's quick, good in sports eats anything and is skinny and enjoys being active (I think he may have been switched at birth) my younger one didn't get so lucky, he's 97th in height and 105% in weight, which puts him at a too high BMI, even with that massive height. He's really built big, the kid has muscular thighs and shoulders that would have made the shoulder pads Linda Evans wore in Dynasty look discrete. But he also has a 'bowl full of jelly'. The pediatrician said he didn't want to do a weight loss plan for him, he just wants him to grow into his weight. He does snack too much, he does like junk food too much. He does Karate, but we've upped the ante and he has to spend some time on the elliptical if he wants to play video games and now only one snack after school instead of grazing. I tell him it's about health, not about weight. I tell the older one too. No sugar treats or soda during the week either, weekends in moderation.
Even if I hear grumblings that I may be abusive when I tell them they have to eat all their vegetables and their reward is just a hug and not chocolate.
I don't want my kids to struggle like I have.
Okay, back to the actual issue....(if you've been reading my blog you know I digress, I also take liberties with grammar...whatever, oh look I digressed again --- so seriously, NOW back to topic)
Kids are in school more of their life then out of school, where is the funding to have health and nutrition classes? Why is physical education one of the items to be cut out of programs? Why is recess only ten minutes long? And have you seen the crap that's served in school lunches. A sugary fruit cup is NOT a fruit choice no matter how you cut it. This is particularly important because obesity tends to run higher in low income areas and those kids are getting free and reduced lunches, so if we want to help our children, how about lobbying for healthier school lunches, longer recess and PE every day.
Okay, so I feel a bit passionately about this, it's what I'm doing my Master's project in. That project I should be working on instead of doing this blog....so let's just call this research (wink wink). In an article I'm reading "Fighting an Epidemic: The role of Schools in Reducing Childhood Obesity" by Sara Pyle, et al says "Interventions targeting obesity in the schools should be designed to promote healthy weight rather than focus on losing weight or obtaining a specific weight" in fact focusing on weight reduction may cause other problems, such as growth decline or feelings of failure and exacerbate other issues such as depression or impaired self esteem.
So yes, let's get educated on obesity and obesity in children. We can do something about it, but let's go about it in an emotionally and physically healthy way.
Stepping off soap box now.