Is Childhood Obesity The Same As Child Cruelty?

cwt edt


I say this…

Not from a lack of understanding that ‘food’ today is not really food anymore. We are rather like incubated test animals being experimented on by people who aren’t even pretending to have regard for the human condition. So illness and obesity is almost par for the course if you are not super careful and in some cases wealthy enough to have freshly grown healthy food cooked everyday for you and your loved ones.


However, we DO know that the choices of some parents are tantamount to poisoning their children with sugar, fake sugars, fats and all sorts of unidentifiable chemicals shoveled onto the ready-made ‘food’ and sweets they train their children to love.


So, School Me People!

– Come off it Ed, parents have it hard enough trying to raise children and er…whatever else, in some cases.

– You know what Ed, you might have a point. I think we can consider childhood obesity the same as child cruelty.

What say you?




109 thoughts on “Is Childhood Obesity The Same As Child Cruelty?

  1. The questions is how do we get parents to care? What kinds of incentives for the poor or rich? We all know the ills of obesity, both physical or mental, how can me make a difference. Love will not allow children to be obese. Looking for ageless wisdom.

    1. Hi Carl, I started to answer your question and realized that I had basically written a lengthy post that MIGHT help lots of people so I’m going to give you my ‘ageless wisdom’ on this matter via a post – stay tuned!

  2. I assume..that when you were writing this post…it was primarily keeping in mind the more prosperous countries in west, with the lead role for Unc Sam!

    So, I am from the faraway land of India and that too the black hole of Calcutta! 😛 And in our apartment there’s this kid…who is 16 years younger to me…and weighs atleast 20 kgs more than me….and looks shockingly older than me!! You ask why? Because…his mother…like many other Bengali mothers, believes in showering her love by stuffing her child with more…and more food! I mean, the quantity of rice he eats in during one meal…I will probably manage to eat in 2 days! So, I guess…its imperative that recently born parents are enlightened about the virtues of modest helpings of food…and that doesn’t imply that they love their child less! What say you, Lady Ed? 🙂

    1. I can’t remember if I was only thinking about the west…probably, it’s been a while since I wrote it, but yes I have heard of that mindset where being overweight is either a show of wealth or an indication of how much you love your child.
      It’s totally understandable if that is the best one knows. The west however have been educated non stop about food and obesity.

      1. I was reading this article on Time couple of weeks back…and it was about different ways one can prepare food at home…without too much hassle and time consumption..And I was thinking…things must be really bad in the US…so much so…that Time needs to publish an article educating people about easy to cook food…and how it is better than fast food!

  3. Interestingly enough, it’s mostly obese, or fat Mothers, who have obese or fat children. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Sadly, the poorer the family, the fatter they become, because cheap food contains nothing but fillers, sugars, starch and other crap that fills the stomach and produces mountains of calories, whilst doing no good for the body.

    Then we have the screeching brats, whose Mothers are too afraid to discipline. The ‘I WANT MORE ICE-CREAM – GIVE ME MORE WAAAAA’ and instead of dealing with that type of horrific behaviour which is learned from a young age, dear fat Momma gives in, and eats with fattie kid.

    I believe very strongly in boundaries. Not in smacking or hurting a child, but definite boundaries. Teaching a child to eat his or her vegetables, teaching your child what health IS, and getting off your bum to actually cook, not sticking a take away into the microwave, is important. It’s important for a child to learn that cooking a healthy meal is a healthy way to live. It’s important for a child to know that it’s not ok, or healthy to purchase ready made meals filled with rubbish, and eat that whilst slouching on the couch watching some lame TV show. …….and so much more…

    but hey, these days, of tired, worn out parents, kids who behave like monsters from the bog, Parents barely getting by on their wages, leaving for work in the dark and returning in the dark from jobs they mostly hate, to screaming, fighting kids….it’s VERY easy to open the fridge, pull out a ready made meal, pop it into the microwave, and pass out on the couch.

    The system has dismally failed humanity, and only the women who decide to take life by the balls, and actually stop walking in the same direction as every other lemming, turn and walk the other way, have a chance of growing healthy, balanced kids.

      1. LOL, I don’t believe in PC. To me, it means ‘piece of crap’! If we cannot express ourselves in a way that REALLY says it all – I mean not all of us have a great command of the English language, and so sometimes, it’s soooo beauuutiful to just say it like we used to, before people got all sensitive over colour, race, gender, countries, clothing, and every other thing you can think of! Funnily enough, they still have a chocolate that is brown on the bottom and white on the top called ‘topdeck’….If I looked a wee bit into this, I could find this ‘word’ slightly UN PC…LOL….on a chocolate! Nah, I gobble the ebony and Ivory and love them both! giving none to the fatties… x x

      2. You’re just naughty! Now if you were fat or struggling with your weight tell me, would you find ‘fatties’ offensive? Or where would you draw the line? Or would you draw the line anywhere at all?

      3. LOL, actually, I AM a fattie! I have always been thin, till I hit the menopause and then I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder (should I do a blog on this Ed?), and the meds they put me on, made my weight just go up up up! oh the joy! However, I am very careful about what I eat i never eat take aways, or lounge on the couch stuffing KFC down my throat etc…and my kids are not and never were overweight, probably because they were grown up on healthy home cooked meals, encouraged to play outside, and have fun like kids should do. Things like ride bikes, rollerblade, climb trees etc.. and I took an active role always.

        So, to answer your question. If someone were a fattie due to thyroid, or meds that mess with insulin uptake and metabolism, then they have all of my sympathy, because it’s it’s a bitch. But, they needn’t pass their problem onto their kids, and should definitely stay away from fattening foods as much as possible, as this doesn’t help us. I’m not a whale thank goodness, but I do carry extra weight, which I really don’t like, but you know what? I’ve come to peace with it. Realising there is really nothing I can do (coming from a doctor) because of the meds I have to take, I’m kind of stuck. So I don’t eat rubbish (well sometimes chocolate is so necessary, that one would just cry without it) LOL – but again, this does NOT mean that ones’ children should also be fat unless they too are suffering some illness. x

      4. OMG! This is the 3rd time you’ve made me guffaw! I spit my tea out! “I’m not a whale thank goodness…” Your turn of phrase is hilar! I’m sorry to hear about the other bits but when you land a phrase… 😀

      5. LOL – being Bipolar is actually quite fun! Half the time you’re out of your mind crazy and the other half you’re wondering where you left your shoes if you’re not dribbling on them thanks to doctors who try and medicate you to the point of wide eyed maniac status that make children cry! oh, that’s also crazy, sorry….:) x x p.s. the clever ones ignore the doctors LOL

        I class that as crazy fabulastic! or pretty darn smart 🙂

  4. Many of the comments, including my own, speak to healthy versus unhealthy foods, rich versus poor, and nutritionally well-versed versus uneducated. Here’s another variable – why we eat. Emotional eating, stress eating, social eating and comfort eating contribute to obesity. Consider the mindset of cleaning your plate even if you’re not hungry, or using food as a reward or a distraction. These behaviors whether self-imposed or imposed on children are problematic. Some children mimic and internalize these behaviors and, as a consequence, battle bad habits for the rest of their lives.

  5. OK. So I’m a No Diet Coach. I healed myself of overeating over 20 years ago, developed an eat and stop yourself program and teach it to others. I’m working on my web site now and will let you know when it goes live. Yeah!!!
    So coming from that place-the place of being a managed food consumer now and not someone who thinks about food all day (which I did )and who ate all day (which I did) I have great empathy for anyone struggling with any addiction-where the choice NOT TO STOP is NOT a choice but in particular/obviously with people who struggle with food.
    So having said that, I have no answers for the busy parent whose probably struggling for control over her own life and her relationship with food and so she probably is doing for her child/feeding her child what she thinks is best because it’s what she feeds herself. So is it child cruelty—in a way yes, and in a way no (because I don’t think the parent sees it as a cruel act). But the jury is out…

  6. Indeed, buying healthy food is not a matter of wealthy people…. It reminds me….a long time ago….living in a small village in South of France, buying some fresh vegetables and strawberries on the farmer market…a woman next to me…almost yelling at me…letting me know I was certainly veeeery wealthy to buy some strawberries for my daughter…while she had no money to buy any for her kid….five minutes later in the bakery shop….she was buying a bunch of candies for her kid….come on…..sometimes it is cultural and not financial….
    Obesity is coming every where….on pacific Islands it is just insane….the quantity of bad stuff served to kids!!!

  7. OMG!! Okay, first off – I couldn’t read all of the comments, so I may have missed one or two. But let me ask you what I think is a fair question – are you (or any of the commenters) parents? I mean – really! I am a mom, I raised (reared) five children. I did the very best I possibly could to provide them with healthy meals, a safe home environment, made best choices and I was incredibly fortunate in that I have a husband who was able to support us at a reasonable middle class level on one income. And let me tell you something – it was HARD! It was bloody hard! It was SO BLOODY Hard. And you know what? sometimes I took the kids to McDonald’s. I took them to Wendy’s. I even took them to Arby’s and Burger King. This is child abuse? Come off it!

    I read ingredients lists. I shopped carefully. I went to health food and whole food and all those other food stores. We ate vegetarian for years, not only as a philosophical decision, but because it was cheaper to feed all those kids vegetarian diets. But that took MORE work. More researching recipes, more learning about combining for complete proteins and (let’s not forget) finding things that were healthy AND the kids would eat them. Five kids means five completely different sets of likes, dislikes, allergies, and general obstinacy.

    I had one son who literally ate nothing but peanut butter sandwiches (on whole wheat bread, no white bread in my house) for more than a year. Whole wheat is more expensive than white bread – also getting freshly ground ‘nothing but peanuts’ peanut butter wasn’t just more expensive, but required a special trip to the organic or whole foods store.

    We have almost no processed sugar in the house (I drink Pepsi a couple of times a week, sue me). We have healthy snacks – dried fruit and nuts. We have many of our meals made entirely from scratch – cheaper and healthier.

    And with all of that? My youngest son is obese.

    And I was a full-time mom for all of my kids lives. We were financially fortunate (I certainly can’t say well off, but…). I am highly intelligent, well educated, know how to cook things from scratch already, willing and able to drive all over the place to find and buy the healthiest food for my kids.

    You know a lot of people without my blessings manage to raise (rear) healthy children even eating at McDonald’s, or buying frozen dinners, but before you get up on your bloody high horse and accuse struggling parents (and it doesn’t matter if you are poor, or a single parent, or disabled, or both parents working full-time – it all adds to the struggle of parenting) of child abuse how about you try walking for one month in their shoes?

    I do wish that many of my friends had been able to follow my lead and make the food that their kids ate healthier. I wish that my youngest son had the opportunities that my older kids had of playing outdoors (we now live where the climate makes it inadvisable for better than half the year). I wish that fruit juice didn’t cost four or five times what a bottle of soda pop costs. I wish that it was as easy to get kids to eat carrots as it is to get them to eat french fries.

    Feeding a child a healthy diet takes work and not only physical work. It requires a lot (a LOT) of mental work. Most parents are tired already. Many, many parents simply don’t have the time, the rest, the mental energy to do all of that work.

    I wouldn’t dare to condemn anyone because the best that they could do wasn’t up to some hypothetical standard that makes it criminal (or abuse) to not do the job perfectly. Breaking a kid’s arm is abuse. Refusing to feed a kid to starvation, or having sex with a kid is abuse. Feeding a kid on McDonald’s may not be wise, but please. There are undoubtedly parents who don’t give a hoot about their kid’s welfare, but they are far out-weighed by the many, many parents who are doing the best they can manage in difficult circumstances and in a world that seeks to make the job even harder by creating impossible one-size-fits-all standards and then wanting to criminalize anyone who doesn’t fit those standards.

    1. Hallo melisdvash.

      Welcome and thanks for that. Even if folks aren’t parents they were definitely all children once which would certainly validate them to give insight as to how families work and how THEIR parents coped.

      I have indeed walked in the shoes you refer to under much harder circumstance judging by what you have shared. What you describe sounds like pampered privilege compared to my life at various points – if you don’t mind me saying – but you did ask.

      You speak as though other folks don’t know what it is like to have families of 4 or 5 siblings or children and it is an unusual phenomena experienced only by you. It isn’t and many live this way as ONE WORKING parent households and still manage to eat fresh food every day and are not obese. I also don’t believe keeping excess weight off a child is a ‘hypothetical standard.’ It’s just healthy.

      I would suggest that it is a very small percentage of the world that has NOT visited McD’s or eaten frozen food occasionally, but that is not the point. The point is when it starts to impact your health then clearly you are over doing it.

      However hard our lives may be in the west, they cannot compare to lives lead by people in the poorer parts of the world and yet there is not an obese child epidemic to be found there. Science has yet to find that people get obese by eating healthy low fat and low sugar fresh food at correct portions. I await to be schooled if you can point me to some research that says different.

      Having said that, if words alone could convey the love of a parent for their children I think yours may be proof enough. It would seem evident that whatever issues you may have with weight in your household, you love your children.

      And lastly I don’t really have a high horse, I instigate discussion. This is a blog.
      I enjoyed your response. Come back and chew my head off again any time.

  8. Ok here are my thoughts on this one. In America, if you’re poor, the more obese you are because it’s cheaper to buy a burger than a salad. In other parts of the world, such as in the Philippines, the poor people are thin because it’s cheaper to buy fish than meat. Now with your question, is this child abuse? My answer is, if you’re an American and can afford to buy healthy foods, and yet your child is obese, then yes I think it is sort of child abuse.The poor don’t have a choice. They have to eat something to sustain them for the day. In the Philippines, if you’re rich and your kids are obese, well it’s understandable because they can afford to eat huge steaks, buy imported chocolates, etc. It’s not child abuse but it’s basically showing off to everyone they are the “haves” because they can eat whatever they want. I’m not sure if I made any sense 😄

  9. It would be difficult to issue a blanket condemnation on parents of obese children, especially as the definition of what is ‘obese’ is not universal. I’ve known several children who, through genetics, weren’t fortunate to be born with skinny genes and appear grossly obese even though are only fed healthy & portioned food. Often these children grow out of it, especially if their parents continue to model good behavior, but sometimes they don’t. They are going to have a hard enough time with bullies at school about something they can’t control, they don’t need the threat of their weight sending their parents to jail on top of it.

    1. Hallo Allie! How do you know that they are fed only a healthy and portioned food unless you are with them 24/7?

      There was the case of a very over weight woman who insisted blind it was genetics and she only ate healthily. She repeated this so many times and was eventually monitored by a doctor to get a realistic view on her intake.

      He found that yes she did eat the fruit she was claiming but she was eating it daily from practically a trough! She clearly thought that because fruit was deemed healthy she could eat tons of it. She also didn’t actually recognize that she was eating huge proportions of it until it was pointed out to her.

      The point being that there are often hidden sugars and fats that people are not aware they are consuming and are convinced their diet is healthy or in proportion, but their bodies are telling a different story.

      I’d have to say that despite your theory I have yet to meet an obese child in poorer to average income parts of Africa or India and I’m not talking about starving children.

      1. You bring up a good point. In one of the examples I referred to the mom is a nutrionist and the dad is a doctor so I assume they know what they are doing, but you are right I can’t know for sure.

      2. Yes but how many times have we heard stories of kiddos hiding chocs in their bedrooms and are the parents with them 24/7 even at school?
        Of course that depends on their age as you intimated that they were young yadda yadda.
        I get your point though, not all cases are black and white. Child fat? Blame parents.

  10. Maybe all kids should just be raised by the state–it has a proven track record of corruption and mass cruelty. I think food has always been elevated in people’s minds because it’s an essential thing. Plenty of wealthy patrons employed artists of the past to paint the bountiful crops grown on their estates.

    While we can research proper diets on the internet in our leisure time it becomes apparent pretty quickly that there are many different takes on what’s healthy. Also I think we should remember that many people working double shifts at jobs with no internet access don’t have time to research. Many people come from families where no one had the time to teach them how to cook or even shop. many others don’t have cars to get to the nearest upscale farmer’s market and may even be intimidated by all the hipster know-it-alls.

    People often eat for comfort. When people have no idea how to fix the problems in their lives or feel there is no real purpose to life they tend to self-medicate and pass that tendency to their children. BTW, what sort of moral person works for agencies that approve of the many poisons put in our foods?

    Once we start pointing fingers at flawed people and labeling them as cruel we give ourselves (also flawed) permission to take matters into our hands–I hope we have the perfect answers. I seriously doubt it. I think compassion is needed.

    1. Hi MF,
      Are we no longer able to suggest anyone is wrong these days? Clearly some people do wrong things. Can no one face being told that without crumbling into a pile of dust?

      The internet is merely a modern convenience, you don’t need the internet to put fresh cooked food on the table as many parents from decades before the internet managed to do this.

      Are we losing the ability to produce accountable people prepared to ‘fess up to wrong-ness and do something about it? Yes, there are a myriad of reasons why a child may be over weight and some of those reasons cannot be helped, but there are also many instances where clearly there is a lack of accountability or ego-free effort on behalf of the parents who take pointing out their child is unhealthy as a slight against them instead of focusing squarely on the child improving.
      Sure there should be compassion where it is due, but admonishment, truth and fact where it is due also.

      ‘While we can research proper diets on the internet…there are many different takes on what is healthy?’ Really? How? Plenty of water, exercise, fruit and veg as your staple. Everything else in moderation. Who doesn’t know that? Who doesn’t know that a stack of fast food, sweets and sugary drinks every day is not healthy?

      It’s not really about perfect answers, some things are just blindingly obvious. On behalf of the child I would seriously challenge someone’s right to be a parent if you are suggesting that people don’t know that fresh vegetables are better than McDonalds because the internet doesn’t make it clear enough.

      I do agree that some people were never taught to cook. An issue that can be addressed in many ways, at government / school level or how about the parent take responsibility for children THEY chose to have and learn…from a book then, if not the internet. Or how about the kazillions of cookery shows on TV?

      I do agree that people eat for comfort and use it just like any other crutch and when you get into the spiral of eating for comfort it is hard to get out of it on your own. But if you’re going to put children in this world you’ve just got to try harder. It’s no longer about you, the parent. It’s not as if children are obligatory, it is a choice to have them and they deserve (often more than) the best a parent can do for them, not a bunch of excuses.

      Now this all sounds good on paper, but when you bring real human frailty and imperfection into the equation sure we are going to do and get things wrong. But how do you explain a parent having one obese child, struggling (and failing) to correct that situation and then deciding to produce a whole bunch more?

      I’m interested in your take on this. If I CHOSE to buy a horse and then opted not to learn how to feed it properly and take care of it sufficiently and fed it chips, cake and champagne, would that be considered cruelty or should I be hugged?

      1. I don’t think I said people shouldn’t trash other people’s parenting–it’s a semi-free country.

        You bring up a bunch of interesting things.

        “Plenty of water, exercise, fruit and veg as your staple. Everything else in moderation. Who doesn’t know that?” There are lots of things we all should know or we all should do, but sometimes we don’t do them. Like all young women should know that sleeping with a young man may bring a child into the world, for instance. Let’s say this young woman gets pregnant (some may say she should know that she’s going to suck as a mother but she has the child because she thinks that everyone should know that abortion is wrong). So she has the kid and wants to be a good parent–and maybe she is a good parent in a lot of ways but has a problem–she’s been raised on cheap food (and maybe is addicted to this food that the FDA approved).

        She has a problem because before long she is so overwhelmed taking care of this child without a father (because we should all know that men are expendable and we all should know it’s a woman’s choice to have a child). She knows she should work and gets a job. She’s possibly under skilled–or maybe very well educated and believes all the shoulds she learned in her feminist theory classes and thinks she can have everything.

        Everyone knows kids should behave and not throw tantrums after being in daycare all day. Mothers should know how to use a crockpot, but what ends up happening after a long commute from the city is a short trip to McDonalds and then bed. (I won’t even go into the sick bribery that goes on at school–good behavior =pizza party or candy from the teacher’s desk.

        Now I personally know that in order to become a decent cook with little money ($30 a week to feed 4 people when I first had kids) took time and some great cookbooks–I loved all the Moosewood vegetarian ones. But here’s the thing: despite everything I was told in Feminism 101 having a two parent family where one person has the time and energy to take the job of parenting as a serious calling makes a huge difference. If you think about it, kids got more exercise when mothers ordered their kids to get the hell out of the house and PLAY, then they do now when stressed parents are guilted into hero worshiping their kids playing soccer (not football–too dangerous and masculine) on a Saturday.

        Yes, I believe modern (3rd? wave) feminism is a disaster for men, women and children. I know very smart people who were told (brainwashed) that women who stayed at home were wasting their intelligence–really? So for most of the history of the world feeding the world and nurturing it were the jobs of women. Hmm.

        We all know what guilt does. Parents feel guilty because even though society says everyone must be happy and equal outside the home, their hearts at the end of the day are screaming something else. And so they placate their children with food, material goods etc.

        “But how do you explain a parent having one obese child, struggling (and failing) to correct that situation and then deciding to produce a whole bunch more?”

        This line sounds too much like the sort of question eugenicist thinkers asked before they rounded up unfit Americans to sterilize them. Parents know that despite their best efforts their kids are going to have one problem or another–and they’re going to pass them through the generations. BUT they love them.

        I’m very thin, my kids are pretty healthy, and I had to be a Nazi about it. My kids have other issues–as all humans do. My point is not that I’m fine with kids being obese. My point is that it’s a lot more complicated than we like to think. Very few parents want to hurt their children.

        I thought I was doing a good thing feeding my kids soy until I read the studies showing how soy screwed up kids hormonal levels. How about water? Is there fluoride in it? Harvard studies say it leads to lower IQs. GMO’s etc etc

        If a woman is a workaholic and neglects her kids by hiring nannies or sending the kids to endless activities producing sour kids should we ask her to stop as well (even if her kids are thin and have good grades?

        Animal cruelty is another complex issue I could think about a lot but not tonight.

        I always enjoy exploring issues and thank you for this forum.

        All the best
        Adrienne (or as you put it, MF–which I think is quite funny)

      2. All good points I think. We all KNOW why certain things are good to do but as humans of course we don’t always do it. Although I don’t agree with the eugenics counter. I think having children SHOULD be a basic cut to your cloth decision. To have more children when you are unstable or not doing so well with one is not fair on them, especially when you have choices. Despite all the influences we are fed by all sorts of media it is still our choice which ones we choose to listen to. We must try and grow up and take some accountability for our own choices, especially if we deem ourselves fit to raise others.

        But I think you have put forward some great issues to add to this non black and white problem. Feminism’s influence on how people raise children, maternal / parental guilt etc.
        It’s always great to hear from you. You recognize this as a platform for debate and always bring it with all barrels loaded. Love it!

      3. I totally agree about growing up–yet the best time to reproduce is when we’re young and stupid. We sure live in a crazy world. It’s so much fun debating a polite debater. 🙂

  11. yes and no. hard to judge, without knowing the social, education and psychological background of each parent as individual. Not every body have the same line of thought not because their mean but because they haven´t had a choice to their reality.
    In some cases must be cruelty, in some others must be ignorance, some other cases maybe hormone issues, some other un-affordable, and i bet can have so many more examples.

  12. Geez I love your hot topics! In my opinion, no. It is not the same. Child abuse is someone willingly and knowingly hurting a child. I believe obesity in this country comes from lack of good education, guerrilla marketing by big corporations and government control. I recently came across some article that stated the food pyramid in our health education books was actually built out by politicians and not a doctor, scientist or nutritionist. Which is why grains are at the top. The big time corporations that consume middle grocery isles all sell the same thing. Grains. Cereal, cookies, crackers etc.. all that processed, high sodium, high carb crap is making us fat and their wallets…well, fat.

  13. Obesity used to be a rich person’s problem. Now it’s a poor person’s problem, because they can’t afford now-rarer healthy food, or they weren’t taught the knowledge and skills necessary for a healthy life, or even the skills necessary for defending themselves and their families against a barrage of well-funded, well-researched manipulative advertising – and that’s even before you get into issues of food that is frankly getting less food-like by the day. It is now possible to be both obese and malnourished at the same time.

    And while childhood obesity is undoubtedly a bad thing, I don’t think just blaming the parents is going to help. The problem isn’t that people don’t care about their kids, the problem is that they either don’t have a choice, or can’t see it. Rather like someone in an unhealthy relationship: saying “why don’t you just leave” isn’t helpful. Making sure people have choices, know they have choices, and believe that making a choice will make a difference in their lives – that’s helping.

    1. Excellent response. Can’t add to it.

      “It is now possible to be both obese and malnourished at the same time. ”

      “The problem isn’t that people don’t care about their kids, the problem is that they either don’t have a choice, or can’t see it.”

  14. Well.. I can say this. I am a single mother that happens to work full time and I hover around the above poverty line. I somehow manage to go to the grocery store or local farmer’s market and buy fresh veggies and meat that I prepare as part of our meals. Usually the only time anything is dropped out of a can is if I don’t have anything on hand and can’t run out to the store. I use regular sugar, salt and other items in my regime of ingredients. I buy soy and cow milk, orange juice in a plastic container etc etc. We rarely have anything that comes from a box or other container. We consume the same old wheat bread I ate growing up. I use margarine sometimes instead of spread or butter. We eat granola and fruit for snacks. We leave the house to go to get ice cream, I usually don’t keep any because we’ll eat it all lol. Food as a whole is getting more expensive but I think it’s a load of bull to say that you can’t eat right because it’s too expensive.

    Parents are responsible for what their children are eating and how much they are eating. You do need to monitor that. I almost wonder if these are people who need some kind of training because they too did not have parents who trained them to prepare meals or how to shop and or to eat properly.

    1. Sounds about right to me. You put the most focus on what is important to you in life. But yes, some kids, now parents, would not have had parents to pass on tips about good old fashioned home making, or they had irresponsible parents.

      But tell me, “I buy soy and cow milk, orange juice in a plastic container etc etc.” is there some significance about these coming from a plastic container that my miniscule brain has missed?

      1. I buy soy because the kiddo is allergic to milk, I drink a lot of milk, but the point of the plastic container is that I don’t hand squeeze my oranges to make juice. Actually, I’ll buy it out of the other container too if it’s on sale. I think when I wrote that I was thinking about the people who use juicers to make their own juice.

  15. Obesity is an issue need to be addressed with serious concern,I agree with you.
    On the same subject I blogged earlier on this important subject on Mind over matter and the reference is given below here.You may click to read and find it interesting.

    “Obesity- Social battle against the bulge- Compulsions of modern life style
    These days, one of the recurring themes I keep getting is about lifestyle and obesity. I am not alone to think that obesity has been emerging as an alarming social issue in the context of compulsions of modern life. There has been a load of headlines on obesity. ……”

    November 27, 2012 | Categories: Mind Over Matter

  16. It’s a complicated subject and I admire your bravery to broach it. I don’t think it’s intentional cruelty, but rather a toxic mix of denial and poor nutrition education, passed down from one generation to the next.

      1. Sad but true. I think ignorance is more dangerous than cruelty. Laws try to protect the innocent from cruelty. We can’t protect children from nutritionally ignorant parents unless they are willing to be educated and open to lifestyle changes. In many cases, it comes down to money, but good health is priceless,

  17. as the mom of a 4 year old girl, that picture makes me so sad! i worry all the time whether she’s eating too much processed or too many treats, getting enough exercise, drinking enough water . . . but i have a hard time equating poor choices (even consistent ones) with cruelty. i think actual cruelty involves intention. i wish there was more help for parents who just don’t understand or can’t afford better or are working 3 jobs and are too stretched to do better, and less judgement and shaming. you think this lady feels good about her weight or her daughter’s? no way.

    1. I think that is a generalization, just as saying ALL over weight children are the result of neglectful cruelty. Quite clearly there are parents that simply don’t care or refuse to be told that what they are doing is harmful to their children because their ego is bigger than their desire to protect their children.

      But I am nit picking your comment Kristin in my role as devil’s advocate. However, you maybe saw that news item some years back in the UK when a school changed it’s food to only healthy options and the (probably normally absent from PTA meetings) parents were up in revolt at this sacrilege and organized themselves to buy greasy chips and burgers for their little darlings and were consequently photographed – with multiple bingo wings on show it was especially noted by the press – passing the burgers and fries to their little darlings through a fence at break times. Does that come under lack of understanding or sheer ego and arrogance? Or a mix of both? I’d say do you think those women felt bad about how they looked in all senses of the word? No way.

      1. no. way. never saw that news item. that’s horrible. UK moms are way worse than US moms, obvs! #judging! haha 😉 US moms are all trying so hard to be Gwyneth Paltrow that that would never happen 😉

        maybe we should back up and start mandating proficiency tests before you’re even allowed to conceive. because some people are obviously too stupid and self-centered to raise good, healthy human beings. (i kind of believe this, but i mean, really, what do you do?)

        but in all seriousness, i do believe a lot of it comes down to economics. wrong or right, i don’t see a lot of fat rich kids in my world. so, how do we make the food we create healthier food, educate folks on easy/affordable healthy options and make sure that those things are accessible to the people who need it most?

        do you know that in the US, there are tons of communities for whom a real grocery store isn’t even in close distance — families who rely on public transportation only have a convenience store or fast food within easy access. and when you are working 2 or 3 or 4 jobs, there isn’t much time to get beyond that very often to feed your family. sigh.

      2. “US moms are all trying so hard to be Gwyneth Paltrow ” ROFL! 😀

        “maybe we should back up and start mandating proficiency tests before you’re even allowed to conceive.” – Human rights people will say! But what about the child’s human rights?

        “do you know that in the US, there are tons of communities for whom a real grocery store isn’t even in close distance” – why am I not surprised?

        It reminds me of a documentary I once watched where a white guy drove through a US black neighbourhood pointing out how disgusting it was and how ‘these animals can’t even keep their neighbourhoods decent.’

        The fact that basic amenities such as rubbish clearing and other things he took for granted in his well-served white community by-passed those neighbourhoods frequently didn’t occur to his massively under-sized brain. And that’s not to deny that there still needs to be some accountability and reform from poor people in those ‘hoods either.

        The discrepancy between the poor and the next levels up certainly makes a difference in ways we often miss.

  18. I don’t think it’s cruelty so much as it’s just people aren’t educated well enough. They don’t know any better and don’t have a proper idea of actually how much damage they are doing to their kids. Somehow the danger doesn’t seem immediate, or vital enough to them so they ignore it to a degree. To me cruelty has to have intent behind it – and I don’t think most parents are purposely endangering their children’s health.

    1. “Somehow the danger doesn’t seem immediate, ” I think this is a very, very good point. I stated in another comment how these same parents could tell you everything about texting or playing Nintendo or what is happening on Housewives of Wherever, but their children, not so much. Taking the time to study health and nutrition for their children before birth? Not so much.
      But you make a good point. We all ignore things that don’t appear imminent or urgent.

  19. I’m always sad when I see over weight children. You’re setting them up for so many failures. Their chance of diseases increase drastically when they’re over weight. Is it cruelty…possibly, laziness; maybe…or is it a lack of education on the parents part. If they were overweight as children it’s just a vicious cycle that can’t be broken.
    My boyfriend has type 1 diabetes, and I’m always angered when I go with him to his endo appointments. For him, NOTHING he does is going to change his disease. No matter how much weight he loses, no matter what foods he eats, he’s always going to have the disease. And then I see others with type 2 diabetes and I can’t help but feel angry. You’re disease is treatable; take care of yourself and it can be controlled, or even eliminated completely. No pills or diets will fix my boyfriend. He has an insulin pump, he has a glucose monitor, he has THOUSANDS of dollars of medical bills every year just to keep him alive.

    Is this something you would even remotely want to risk with your child?! Just my two cents..I digress 🙂

    1. No, no, it wasn’t much of a digression, it was a great addition to the discussion.

      I get that many parents repeat the mistakes of their own parents and they have lack of awareness. But in a lot of cases I guarantee you that these same parents can tell you exactly how to text on a mobile phone or play on a Game Boy or Nintendo. In other words, they always have time to learn about what they deem important. Bringing up a child properly though is left to happenstance.

  20. Hmmm – I think you are on the right track. Rather than nurturing their children, parents are killing their children. There is no intent – to be sure – and so many parents are “unconscious” about food choices. Therein lays some of the complications, me thinks.

      1. I can hardly believe that you have seen that!!!! Intense. Can you only imagine the culture in which that young mom grew up in? How is it possible that our society has allowed such bastardization of “what is good” out through media?

      2. Shocking huh? It was like watching someone poison a puppy.
        Have we ‘allowed it’ though? Is the media not more intense, sly and powerful at getting it’s message across to the mindless? And even the most intelligent or mindful folk can’t be on high alert all the time.

      3. Maybe that’s where the “unconscious” part comes in – we do allow commercials to stream forth into our domains uninhibited.
        I totally agree that there is so much crafty psychology at work via media it is terribly unethical. I taught a media course to my students a while back and we totally devulged into the psychology of how to change a person’s behaviour to get them to “consume”. They were angry by the end of the course – at media and its tricks.

      4. Ha! One of my favourite topics.
        So would you agree that they couldn’t play these tricks on an unwilling participant? Because your reply suggests unwitting but willing participation by allowing adverts to stream into the sub conscious – which I would agree to by the way.

        Plus would you agree that in spite of your students anger, walking around a mall or supermarket without a prepared shopping list makes them fair game because you are actively seeking to be tempted? Isn’t browsing without a planned list subtly putting a question out into the ether that a supermarket is only too pleased to jump in and answer?

      5. Well – my goodness – I am a strong supporter of education in thinking that education is how power is won back. I totally agree that a list can be like a shield against the powers of persuasion. Great solutions!

  21. Yes, it’s child cruelty. On the other hand, we don’t want to shame parents or come across as critical, because our food has been tampered with, physical ed has been taken out of schools, and parents are often just repeating what they learned anyway. To make it more confusing, some kids really do suffer from health problems, medications, illnesses that can make them gain weight. So the last thing we want to do is make parents or kids feel worse by our judgment and condemnation. We should be simply be quietly protecting our food supply so that it has some actual food in it and increasing the amount of physical activity kids participate in.

    When you have such a huge increase in childhood obesity, there are factors at play that go way beyond parenting.

    1. I think the problem here is that maybe some people do need shaming. Whilst there are people who fall prey to altered food and go about their business with a lack of awareness rather than cruel intention or lazy neglect there are some who simply do not care.
      If shaming would help the kids they are damaging I say go for it. If teaching would help better then take that route.

      What are your suggestions then for protecting the food supply as I have heard stories where legislation has been brought in in the US to prevent people doing just this, certainly at farmer level and even on a private level? Thanks for your input!

  22. Let me play both sides of the record here. Several years ago I was watching some type of news talk show. The guest was a young single mother with a ten-month old baby that weighed fifty pounds. (I think that was the weight, my memory may not be accurate.) The child was huge, obviously obese. She was feeding him Big Macs, french fries and milk shakes on a daily basis. Her pediatrician told her she was causing health problems for her child. Her response: “I don’t care. I give him what he likes.” That is child abuse. My opinion: she should have been arrested and the child put in foster care or in the care of a RESPONSIBLE family member.

    On the other hand, when parents work two jobs, trying to make ends meet, running from one job to another, and all they have time for is fast food, it is extremely difficult to find the time to plan, shop, and prepare healthy food. Granted, it takes very little time to eat an apple, orange, eat a dish of applesauce and a plate of fresh cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, but no one wants to eat those every day. Some fast food places offer salads but then you wonder how fresh they really are, not to mention all the health hazards of fast food places anyway. We need alternatives for the demanding lifestyles of today’s fast-paced, overworked families.

    1. Thank you lovessiamese. I love your thoughtful answer. But let me play devil’s advocate, isn’t the second example you offered a bit of a cop out? I’m sure many of us come from poor backgrounds with single mothers who had multiple children and multiple jobs (i.e often more than the 2 you state) and yet we ate fresh food every single day?

      Sitting here I could name 5 different healthy meals you could eat off the top of my head and that’s without even having a little research session online that any parent could do if they were short on ideas.
      Let me see:

      1. roasted potatoes and various bits like meat if you eat it and veg
      2. thick, filling broth made from left overs from your roast with veg and potatoes and and all sorts thrown in

      3. rice and the various variations with it. It takes almost seconds to make rice into paella or throw a sauce on top

      4. pasta – there are loooots of variation here

      5. pies that you make on a weekend, freeze and reheat during the week when busier, even the occasional homemade fry up with chips / french fries and baked beans doesn’t harm anyone

      That’s what I came up with without even thinking.

      1. I think that it’s not always just a case of what* you eat. I eat what I call a ‘balanced’ diet of health food and junk food. Lunch is usually salad or fruit/cheese, breakfast cornflakes or toast, dinner most usually comes out of a packet or can. I’m useless at cooking. I eat fast food sometimes when my only chance for food is drive-time. I just don’t get the super size. I get the little** burger and a small** fries. The packet meal for dinner is the diet portion. Sure, I have 5 pounds to spare on my frame, but I sure don’t have 10!

      2. You can eat whatever you like. You’re a grown up adult. If you wanted to learn to cook you would learn. But you didn’t say you were inflicting poor choices on a child, which is the main thrust of the discussion. Not that your diet sounds horrendous either.

      3. True, I’m not feeding a child – though I can’t say that I did too well at that for the short periods when I had step-kids to feed. Only one of these was plump and we just reduced her portions – she was fine with that – but we could because we did mostly eat at home. Sadly I wasn’t with her father for long enough to see results.

      1. Me too. I love me some fruit and veg and pure water. I guess that’s lucky. Not that I don’t pig out either on sweets or cakes when the mood takes me, having just recovered from a chocolate cake period that lasted months! (Now it’s jelly beans!)

        But my default preference just happens to be healthy food. But I also believe you can be trained for preference to healthy food as disciplines like NLP have shown – although I don’t expect the average parent to necessarily learn NLP.

  23. In many cases it is monkey see monkey do. A child only knows what a child learns. If they see parents doing it, they will assume this is the way it goes. This is also true for alcohol, drugs and any other unhealthy lifestyle choice. Stand up parents and give your kids the best start in life by showing them how to make good choices.

      1. Haha yeah. I usually take pride in my ability to see both sides of an argument, but it’s really difficult for me to comprehend this one. It’s arguing with science. When you allow your child to eat like shit, it has undeniable physical effects. Not to mention, parents are supposed to instill solid values in their children that they would like for them to have as adults. Well, healthy eating starts in the womb. This commercial nailed it:

      2. It does doesn’t it? How many people do you think see that and ignore it and it just becomes background noise, as opposed to people who see it and decide to change their lives I wonder?

        ‘Short and to the point’ wasn’t a snarkey complaint by the way!

  24. There is no excuse for letting your child become obese. They do not cook for themselves and take responsibility for their own lives so it is the responsibility of the parent to ensure they are active and healthy and understand that both of these are important. I think there should be consequences for this just as there are for child cruelty. You are setting your child up for physical and mental illnesses. Not acceptable!

    1. I agree. Cruelty in the result, but often ignorance as a cause. Actually, some time back a woman who had a dangerously overweight little girl WAS charged with child cruelty. They went through a whole education program (mom and daughter) to help the little girl get to something approaching normal. She could not even stand up on her own. It was some years back — I wish I remembered more useful details.

      1. Good she should be, it is a form of abuse in my opinion. Other kids can be mean as it is and you are fuelling their fire towards your own child. There are so many problems that come with obesity that pushing a child to this is plain cruel.

  25. I think blaming food for people being fat is a lot like blaming automobiles for drunk driving. I don’t get this “healthy choices are expensive” stuff — not if you can cook they aren’t. As for childhood obesity being child cruelty? I think there’s a new “normal” for what we expect people to look like and be like and that “normal” is immense compared to my parents’ generation when a size 12 was today’s size 2.

    1. The reason I would proffer disagreement with your analogy here Martha is that automobiles have not been rigged (yet) with hidden or misleading elements to crash on purpose. Today’s food however is rigged with harmful chemicals that suit the purposes of the ‘food’ industry rather than foster health. Therefore you can eat a lot less than say when your parents were younger and get fat or ill a lot quicker.

      “Eat vegetables then!’ I hear you cry. But what about when they rig the soil experimenting with our basic fresh food needs?

      1. I never said eat vegetables. They’re not actually “healthful” for everyone and yeah, you are right about the soil. I still do not think it’s just the fault of food — I still think there is something about WHAT people choose to eat, how much they eat, how often they eat and how much physical activity is no longer built into our lives. There is also a change in the attitude toward food — people can now buy fabric printed with cupcakes; they take photos of their food and share the photos with their friends via Instagram etc. A great many things have changed around food and our attitudes toward it.

        As for automobiles? I charged them with drunk driving, the point being that someone has to be driving the thing. I still think someone has to be driving the fork. The food by itself is just going to sit there.

      2. No worries — I just happen to have a stupid condition that makes a lot of vegetables, spices and fruit send me into anaphylactic shock. I’m allergic to salicylates — nature’s pest control. I’ve wondered about where this came from — few people have it, the cause isn’t known. But as this chemical is used in extreme amounts to “organically” protect food crops from pests, I suspect that’s part of the problem — no idea, really.

      3. I agree and disagree with both of you. Yes, foods are totally misleading — however, this is the age of the internet, and many people know what’s up. How often do I get made fun of by my reasonable, educated, 6 figure pulling in friends when I buy grassfed butter or when I go to my local farm for my meat instead of grabbing a 12 inch sub at Subway? Often. Even more basic, how often am I mocked for not eating fast food by these same people who certainly know what’s going on? I just wrote about this a couple days ago — why do people eat fast food? No one gave me a good answer.

      4. I think people eat fast food for a few reasons.
        Some people actually like it.
        Some people are unconsciously buying into the sales pitch that it is fast and convenient and perfect for a 20 minute lunch break. Because we all to some extent live part on our lives unconsciously just following a learned pattern or following others. Our brains probably couldn’t cope if everything was processed right at the front consciously all the time.
        It takes someone to wake us up and stop doing it by bringing our negative behaviour to our front consciousness and giving us a chance to re-assess it.

  26. Childhood obesity is an American problem. We are all to blame. The parents are very much to blame. We are the adults; we have the final say.
    Having said that, there are so many conflicting messages, not just from the food industry, about what is best for our kids. Lack of real nutrition education for parents is also to blame.

    1. Oh, I think it WAS an American problem. It is is now spreading fast throughout Europe with the UK at the forefront.

      I would agree with you with the rest however particularly the conflicting information, or in a lot of cases purposely misleading information.

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