Thinking Big on Preventing Childhood Obesity

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 23 2010 4:08 PM

Thinking Big on Preventing Childhood Obesity

/blogs/xx_factor/2010/06/23/we_cant_rely_solely_on_parental_discretion_when_we_need_big_solutions/jcr:content/body/slate_image

KJ , I have to disagree when it comes to the CSPI's fight against the Happy Meal. The fact that consumers make poor choices doesn't absolve companies for peddling their toxic wares. This is doubly true when it comes to children. While one can reasonably argue that an adult owns full responsibility for making poor nutrition choices, a child should not be made to suffer because she has weak-willed parents who give in to whining. Since the problem of ill health due to poor nutrition creates widespread social problems, it's perfectly legitimate to seek widespread solutions such as destroying the Happy Meal.

Advertisement

On that subject, I have to say that if Michelle Obama is interested in reducing the rate of childhood obesity, maybe one interesting avenue to be explored is fighting against the negative, hypercompetitive world of children's sports. Or, at least, that's an idea that popped into my head reading this article by Lisa Boone about when it's a good time to let kids quit sports. The article isn't really focused on the importance of physical activity per se, but the image painted of coaches of children's sports-mini-tyrants who far prefer the stick to the carrot and who drive all but the most dedicated away from sports-goes a long way toward explaining why so many children start to shun physical activity as not for them.

The snarling, right-wing cliche about the evils of giving every kid a trophy is on full display here. You'd think that was something new, when I recall having a participation trophy or two displayed in my room more than two decades ago. But the belief that we shouldn't offer encouragement to kids until after they're winners is especially lethal when we're talking about physical activity. Being proud of yourself for just getting out there and doing it is a key component to physical fitness as an adult. The people who get up every day and get some real exercise do so because they're proud of themselves even if all their hard work doesn't turn them into professional athletes.

Photograph of Michelle Obama and gym class by Yuri Gripas/Getty Images.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.