Friday, March 28, 2008

Big ol’ can of worms

The other day I was driving past 2 fast food chains side by side. The drive thru lanes were so backed up, they were causing an insane traffic jam, so I had time to pay too much attention to the people in these dive thru lanes and think too much about their behavior. The overwhelming majority of the people in the dive thru’s were mothers, in mini vans with 2-3 kids in tow, and they were all very noticeably overweight. It just made me feel sad. I felt really sad for their kids, who maybe don’t want to be overweight and so unhealthy but don’t really have a choice over their bodies because they are too young to stand up for themselves. Yet this pattern is starting which will most likely dictate their food choices and lifestyle for the rest of their lives, and it is a pattern that will most likely lend itself to a life of obesity, inactivity and major health problems. A child’s behavior, eating habits are totally molded by their families behavior, so what do you do when a families eating habits are detrimental for the child. Clearly this is detrimental, right? How do you break the cycle, and try to give these kids a chance at being healthy and not being obese? Can these parents be held accountable for their actions, should they? I guess I see this as a form of child abuse, which may not be a popular view in our society, but I can’t help but think that there should be some form of intervention on behalf of their children. People who have no autonomy of their bodies should be allowed to have the person in control of those bodies make sound decisions on their behalf, and if they are incapable of doing so, then there should be some way to intervene. This has really been bothering me, in the same way it bothers me when I see someone smoking in a car with the windows rolled up and children in the back. Ugh, I am just so unsettled by the way these things make me feel.

1 comment:

Sonya said...

I understand your frustration. I have a friend with a three-year-old. When he asked why they never went to McDonalds, she explained that because they care about their bodies they don't want to eat food that will make them unhealthy.

The mouths-of-babes punchline came a few days later when they were walking by a McDonalds, and the child pointed out (in that loud kid voice) that they didn't eat that food because they cared about their bodies.

It's sad that they are the exception, and I'm so impressed and proud of my friend for teaching her son such good habits, even when the idea could be construed as offensive.