“Leave Overweight Kids Alone”

Aubrey Gordon provides personal insight into the issue of weight stigma in her opinion piece: NY Times Leave Overweight Kids Alone

Here a few excepts:

The war on childhood obesity reached its zenith with the 2010 introduction of the national “Let’s Move!” campaign, “dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation.” It was a campaign against “childhood obesity” — not specific health conditions or the behaviors that may contribute to those health conditions. It wasn’t a campaign against foods with little nutritional value, or against the unchecked poverty that called for such low-cost, shelf-stable foods. It was a campaign against a body type — specifically, children’s body types.

In 2012, Georgia began its Strong4Life campaign aimed at reducing children’s weight and lowering the state’s national ranking: second in childhood obesity. Run by the pediatric hospital Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, it was inspired in part by a previous anti-meth campaign. Now, instead of targeting addiction in adults, the billboards targeted fatness in children…The billboards purported to warn parents of the danger of childhood fatness, but to many they appeared to be public ridicule of fat kids…

Despite ample federal and state funding, multiple national public health campaigns and a slew of television shows, the war on obesity does not appear to be lowering Americans’ B.M.I.s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 there has been a 39 percent increase in adult obesity and a 33.1 percent increase in obesity among children.

Weight stigma kick-starts what for many will become lifelong cycles of shame..Yet, despite its demonstrated ineffectiveness, the so-called war on childhood obesity rages on. This holiday season, for the sake of children who are told You’re not beautiful. You’re indulging too much. Your body is wrong. You must have done it, I hope some parents will declare a cease-fire.

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Isle of Palms, SC

Eating Tips from Strong4Life Website

Our hospital has been working on childhood obesity and has developed a multifaceted program called “Strong4Life.”  Recently the associated website has added some useful content for families.

From recent Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta email:

New Feeding and Wellness Resources for Parents

Children’s has launched a new feeding and wellness resource section on its dedicated parenting website, Strong4Life.com. The site is full of articles, videos and tools that new parents will find essential. From birth through school-age, Strong4Life equips parents to deal with everything from bedtime battles and mealtime tantrums, to food parenting and picky eating, and everything in between. With filtering of content by age of child, parents can now access relevant, easy-to-try tips, facts and advice from Children’s doctors, registered dietitians and wellness experts, who are also parents.

A sampling of the many articles and videos can be found here:

Other recommendations from Strong4Life:

Added Sugars
In August, the American Heart Association released its recommendations on the consumption of added sugars for children ages two to 18 years old. Children in this age range should not consume more than six teaspoons or 25 grams of added sugar per day; and children under age two should avoid it altogether. To learn where sugar may be hiding in children’s diets and simple ways to avoid it, visit strong4life.com/sugar.

Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) fine-tuned their screen time guidelines, to align better with the digital world we live in:

  • Children 18 to 24 months—no screen time other than video chatting. If digital media is introduced, focus on high-quality programming/apps, and parents should co-view with their child
  • Children 2 years and older—limit digital media to one (1) hour or less per day, of high quality programming
  • All children—keep meals, bedrooms and playtimes screen-free