Good Morning America ran a news report last week that addressed whether or not excessively obese children should be taken from their parents. I watched the report with suspicious interest and a you-have-got-to-be-seriously-HIGH look on my face.
Let me get this straight…People really think it’s okay to split up an otherwise functional family because of a child’s size??
We are high.
Weight issues aside, here is what ultimately irks me about the whole darn thing: It’s not the parents’ fault.
Yes, I get that overweight children can face more harmful health consequences. I believe with all my heart that parents set the example that their children will follow. I believe the parent is the primary educator of the child and is responsible for how that child grows.
But I absolutely in good conscience CANNOT blame childhood obesity on parents who are trying to live the day-to-day, buying FOOD and products that are 1) produced to be unhealthy, 2) marketed to cost-conscious consumers, and 3) directly responsible for our nation’s health problems, obesity included.
For any group, government or otherwise, to promote the idea of taking children away from parents who are simply buying what is allowed to be marketed as sustenance, when that same group refuses not only to admit that our food supply is basically oil and antibiotics but also refuses to hold the food industry accountable for the crap they are selling us is not only asinine, it is inhumane.
I want to slap people over this.
Consider, please: I was one of those people – a mere year and a half ago – who scoffed at organic, let my children eat Skittles and drink sugar-free beverages, went through bottled water like toilet paper, and rolled my eyes at everyone I deemed a “nutjob” who told me things like, “Chicken is the nastiest animal you can eat.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pass the McNuggets, would ya?
The problem is not that we don’t care; the problem is that we are not informed. I believed the words on the front of the package. I thought the food companies were the good guys. I thought the FDA protected consumers from carcinogens and toxins. And I thought I was doing just fine.
One children’s obesity expert is cited in the news article as saying “In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable, from a legal standpoint, because of imminent health risks and the parents’ chronic failure to address medical problems.” This makes me want to spit nails!!!
We all want to look at fat and sugar and blame them for our lots. So we lower the fat and the sugar, but then the food tastes different. Not bad, but different. In a society that has been trained to hold dear a singular, constant taste this can be detrimental to sales. So we add in all sorts of synthetic ingredients that won’t affect fat or sugar, but still manage to “beef up” the product so that it tastes no different from the fat-and-sugar-laden items. It is these synthetic ingredients that do us the most harm. In my opinion, fat and sugar should be ingested in moderation. Synthetic ingredients should not be ingested at all. So when a parent reaches for a low-sugar version of the real thing, thinking that he or she is making a healthy choice, and the (immediately-) unseen result is more damage to the family’s health, can you honestly say that the parent is to blame? I can’t.
And what about the people who aren’t reaching for low-fat and low-sugar items? The synthetic ingredients and the corn products and the hydrogen-inflated oils are cheaper to make and use. (Yes, pump oil full of gas – what happens? It expands. Wow, look! Now we have MORE for the same price!) This means that we can market “foods” (geez, I use that word loosely!) to sell at lower prices while keeping the food industry’s profit margins high.
Look, I can sell you a mud-pie full of sugar and call it a chocolate cake. And my icing will be made from used motor oil. The motor oil version will be cheaper because I’m going to drain it right out of my car, and this way I can call it “fresh.” Oil is a natural product of the earth’s structure, so I can now advertise my cake as “made with fresh, all-natural ingredients!” I’ll have to add a lot of ingredients you’ve never heard of so that I can make it taste just like real chocolate, but when I’m finished with it you won’t be able to tell the difference. It will be sold right next to more expensive “real” chocolate cakes, but you will buy my cake because of the buzzwords on the package, and the lower cost. Oh, by the way, some scientist in Switzerland knows that consuming the ingredients of this cake eventually makes children grow a second head, but his report will never reach your ears as long as I make sure our legislators keep the FDA impotent. But that two-headed kid of yours? Probably gonna see foster care against your will. After all, YOU bought the cake!
What say you?