Your Parenting Info Sign Up

Dealing With an Obese Child

by Jacob P. | July 27th, 2011 | Teen Perspective

Childhood obesity is becoming a more and more prominent issue in today’s world. With an estimated 1 out of 3 kids being obese, it can not be considered a minor problem. Sadly, the fight against obesity itself is fraught with problems. Both sides of the coin are wrong. So, there are a few things and tips I feel people should know.

The definition of obese is completely wrong, in my opinion. It is based off of BMI (Body Mass Index). This is an index based entirely off of height and weight. This is a simple system to assess obesity, but it does not work. For example, at 6 ft tall and 240 lbs, a human male is considered obese. Yet a 6 ft tall male with a muscular build and larger shoulders could be six foot tall and have 10% body fat, which is completely healthy. The scale also doesn’t account for the fact that woman naturally need greater body fat and will develop it naturally during puberty. This results in inaccurate estimates over the number of obese children and adults.

At the same time, we are handling it all wrong. I believe in good amounts of exercise and healthy diets. The problem is that it is being handled wrong. Many people take the easy option. They merely try to improve their diet. If you do not work out more, you will not become healthier. In order to lose a pound of fat, one must burn off over 3000 calories that are not replaced. So, if you merely reduce the amount consumed, you have achieved nothing. Rather, you should work out more. During wrestling season, I lost 18 pounds. And this wasn’t due to diet. In fact, I ate 3000-4000 calories a day. Rather, I burned almost all the calories I consumed. Working out will do more than dieting, period. Also, please don’t just limit screen time. Reading a book is not exercise. In fact, if there is a major problem, such as a child spending 6-8 hours a day on a gaming system or TV, don’t play nice. Make sure it is not an option.

The worst of it all, in my opinion, is the fast food industry’s stance. I enjoy a nice, greasy hamburger. In fact, after football games, I would consume as many as three dollar menu chicken sandwiches or hamburgers. But they are ludicrously unhealthy. Treating yourself to them is nice, but it should not become a habit. Once it is a habit, you are on a slippery slope.

What irks me more is the way fast food restaurants, especially McDonald’s, attempt to portray themselves as healthy. So, I visited McDonald’s website and viewed their page on how it is healthy for kids. The page begins with, “Kids need a variety of foods and nutrients every day to help them grow strong, play long, and learn better in school. We’re constantly looking at our menu to ensure we’re giving our customers (including our youngest guests) a selection of balanced choices.” Well…, that’s vague. The page goes on to discuss how the food is full of vitamins and nutrients, but never covers the appalling levels of fat and calories. So, they essentially avoid the topic. And, just as an example, the kids menu hamburger contains 9 grams of fat, of which 3.5 are saturated.

Obesity is a dangerous health problem that threatens Americans, especially kids. If a child is obese, don’t let them sit around, make them begin exercising and modify their diet. When the ads for fast food claiming to be healthy come around, don’t take the easy option and go to the fast food restaurant. Make a healthy meal and be a family. In order to confront obesity, you must take the bull by the horns.

Comments on Dealing With an Obese Child