One of the things that concerns me about all of the obesity epidemic hysteria (read about the lack of evidence here) is the impact on the kids. My six year old daughter is constantly barraged with messages to keep her on the path to thinness. We get "friendly" reminders from her school that we should be sending healthy snacks and lunches each day. They've doubled the amount of gym class and lost library time. (Obviously, reading books does not keep a person thin.) I received a communication requesting that she be involved in a pilot program to track children's blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. I refused to let her participate in the program. She's got a doctor, thanks. I really don't think she needs tutoring in self-consciousness and obsession with body image in the first grade.
But she's not immune to the messages. We went out to lunch last week with my work colleagues on a rare week day together. She got milk to drink and I could see she was upset when the carton was brought to the table.
"Mommy...." she started worriedly. "This milk has FAT in it!"
Her six year old reading abilities didn't allow her to catch the word "reduced" before the word FAT. She just saw what she believes is a dirty and bad word.
"Honey, it's okay. As a growing kid, you need fat. Your brain needs fat. Drink your milk."
She believed me that day and she drank the milk. At what point will she begin dismissing me as just a FAT person who doesn't know a thing about this, otherwise why would I be fat??
Before you know it, they'll be suggesting that we begin exercise regimes right out of the womb. You think I'm joking? Sandy Szwarc over at Junkfood Science has this story about exercise programs for 4 month olds.