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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pointing Fingers

Tuesday night, while doing laundry (actually, avoiding doing laundry) I caught up on reading the ag blogs in my inbox. One recent news piece by Gary Truitt of Hoosier Ag Today caught my eye – “Send Out the Clowns.” This title did its job and got me to read the whole piece, which to my disappointment brought to my attention a watchdog group called Corporate Accountability International, blaming McDonald’s and other fast food chains for obesity in children. As I continued to read I vowed three things:

1. I will teach my children how to control their weight by eating healthy foods
2. I will achieve #1 by cooking providing balanced, wholesome meals that are high in protein and fiber – aka dairy products, meat and vegetables
3. In addition to #2, my children will not be sheltered from McDonald’s and the like – they will undoubtedly eat there however, they won’t need the super-sized drink and fries. Portion control is essential
Let’s examine a few points here – in the article, Gary says, “What we need here is a personal accountability group not a Corporate Accountability group.” It is not Ronald McDonald, or The King or the talking Chihuahua’s fault that children are overweight. Parents who are irresponsible with their children’s diet and lifestyle are to blame. Period. Instead of allowing kids to play video or computer games for 4-5 hours/day, get a dog and make it your child’s job to walk it every day. Encourage your kids to sign up for school sports team, a dance club or take them to the park for a some Frisbee or catch.

Also, has anybody ever heard of the Ronald McDonald House? They’re dedicated to helping children and their families in times of need and despair. Just look at their mission statement “The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.” Nowhere in there do I read, “Turn children into Butterball Turkeys by deceiving them into eating far too much.” Their efforts include providing mobile mental, dental and medical education to children, providing for support for families with critically ill children and most recently providing dental, mental and medical attention to underprivileged children.

I understand that there are other factors involved in childhood obesity – genetics, environment and household income are a few. However, those obstacles can be combatted with proper diet and exercise.  For example, beef is high in protein which fuels an active lifestyle (running, playing sports) which in turn keeps kids in shape.  Lots of exercise yields hungry children which leads us back to beef and protein. 

The only way to point a finger at the child obesity culprit is for a parent to look in the mirror – then start pointing.

Until next time,

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