In a recent study released today, 1 in 6 children are considered "obese". This isn't a new revelation and I'd venture to say that the results of this study made few raise an eyebrow given that the sight of overweight children seems to move closer to the norm with every passing year.
I'll stop short of saying that it's become an "acceptable" norm as I'd like to continue to believe the percentage of society that doesn't believe overweight children is acceptable still outweighs those who seem to dismiss the issue as another fact of life. Yet, I'm still forced to contemplate the question: Why do children with no physical or mental ailments still facing an obesity challenge at such a young age? Is it the reduction in physical activity due in large part to more sedentary ways of keeping oneself busy, such as the rise in social media? Or, perhaps it's the rise in alternative meal options brought about from society's desire to eat faster in an effort to get more accomplished in a day. While these more overt possibilities are real considerations, one has to consider who is making these lifestyle decisions for the children suffering from obesity.
Children don't understand the difference between the need to be active rather than sit on the couch and update their Facebook accounts or play another round of Madden on the Playstation. Nor do children understand the difference between the nutrition in a fast food hamburger versus a chicken salad. You see, it's not the children who are overweight who should garner our looks of distain. It's the parents and those otherwise responsible for raising these children to whom we should be addressing our curiosity. Why do they feel it's ok to promote a lifestyle proven to lead to a lifetime of healthcare issues all of us will finance through an increase in healthcare insurance? The fact that many of these same parents and caregivers are living similar lives is not an excuse, it's the pathetic passing of an unhealthy lifestyle from one generation to the next.
Those of use who recognize that obese children is not a fact our society is forced to live with forever have the power to create positive change by working to promote a healthy lifestyle among our own children and then working to promote a healthy lifestyle for the child next door. Moreover, we owe it to our generation and the next to not let the parents and caregivers who promote unhealthy lifestyles among their own children to continue the progression. Those who do so should be held accountable or at a minimum educated to the ways in which a healthy lifestyle can be promoted among the children under their care.
Don't accept the norm. Change takes place one child at a time. For them, for us, promote a lifestyle that will result in future generations that are healthier than our own.