The Political Debate over Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has left out of the doctor’s office and is now in the political arena. The president has a council on fitness. Politicians have sounded the alarm about overweight kids and how they are affecting the health care system. The recent debate on health care included discussion on childhood obesity. Some claim that a random sample of high-school students in the United States can't touch their toes from a standing position as easily as their European counterparts. Some question whether American children can run or do push ups without getting extremely tired.
You will hear many comments about why kids are so heavy today:
• They are not tough enough. It was more difficult for our generation.
• Why do they not walk to school like we did? They all have cars.
• We worked for what we had. Now parents just give everything to children.
Why are we worried about our children’s weight? Are we concerned that there will not be enough men for the military because they cannot meet the standards. There are no statistics that talk about why someone is rejected from military service because of health problems that could have been prevented or if they were rejected because of injuries they sustained in an accident.
So what is fitness to us? Is it our children’s ability to do callisthenics or to win at a football game through excellent play? Do we want our children to have the body seen on magazine covers? Or do we truly want them to be fit and have a good body image? Do you approve of crash dieting so that your son or daughter can have a better body?
Real fitness is actually about more than the body. Real fitness is about being healthy physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Even if someone can’t run as fast as others or has physical disabilities, that doesn’t mean that they are not physically fit. We have to consider our definition of physical fitness and fitness overall when deciding whether or not someone is fit.
Finally, encourage your children in whatever they are struggling with—physical fitness, social acceptance or if they are just trying to find their place in this world. The more you help your children, the better they will be and the less chance they have of being a statistic debated by Congress.
Author: Denise Nero is the owner of Youth Fitness Equipment . She specializes in giving parents advice in helping children develop a health lifestyle. She can be reached at