Childhood obesity has grown to an alarming rate. We are a fast food society and many hard working parents are so tired at the end of a day, it is very tempting to buy burgers and fries for dinner, especially when they know the kids prefer it anyway. No wonder kid's meals have names such as "happy" Not only do kids love them, they make parents happy by lightening the load.
Should a parent who overfeeds his child be considered abusive? Is not constantly plying one's child with sugar, fat, and salt very much the same as giving him drugs? After all, both are unhealthy. Parents are responsible for their child's well-being, and that well-being includes his physical and emotional health.
Not only are children's eating habits unhealthy, kids are spending more and more time in front of computer moniters and video games, missing out on precious physical exercise.
Many overweight children have obese parents. This is because there is a pattern of unhealthy eating habits in the family as well as a lack of exercise. Not only are they eating the wrong foods, they are eating them in excess and eating them for the wrong reasons.
Children do what they are taught to do by example. If a child sees his mother comforting herself with a half gallon of ice cream, that child will learn to do the same.
Are parents who allow their child to eat this way being abusive? Do parents even realize the damage they are doing to their child by overfeeding him? And if obese parents do not know how to help themselves, how will they know how to help their child?
People overeat when they use food for comfort rather than as fuel for their bodies. They also overeat because they develop addictions to sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and fat. Many parents believe they are "loving" their child by comforting him with food. They do not know any other ways to nurture of comfort...either their children or themselves. Little do they know they are "loving" their child to death.
Labeling these parents as "abusive" is not what is needed in this situation. Education, medical attention, and therapy is what is needed. These things will give parents the information and tools they need to make the necessary changes in the eating habits of the entire family. It will involve a total lifestyle change for everyone.
Lifestyle changes must be accomplished a little at a time...with baby steps. With each new step learned, a family will be on their way to a more healthful way of living...ensuring their child will learn good eating habits that will last a lifetime.