I read with some measure of sadness a piece on the CNN website entitled: 1 in 5 Children Will Become Obese.

Like the rest of the nation, I worry that the corn-feeding of America’s youth will bequeath staggering medical costs on future generations that no economic engine, regardless of its strength, could possibly generate enough power to support. Not to mention what it’s doing to the individual kids.

When kids are already obese and diabetic by second grade, what will they be when they reach adulthood? What kind of life will they be able to enjoy? And for how long?

I agree with Dr. Jeffrey Koplan of Emory University, who led the Institute of Medicine (a group who advises the government of such matters) panel on the topic:

This is a major health problem. It’s of a different nature than acute infectious threats, but it needs to be taken just as seriously.

The problem, however, is that no one seems to have a clue about how to take it seriously. All the usual suspects (CSPI, American Academy of Pediatrics, AHA, etc) continue to line up to blame the things they usually line up to blame: lack of leadership, too much fat in the diet, lack of exercise, and only very rarely, too much sugar, HFCS, and refined starch.

Numerous states have weighed in on the topic, starting programs mostly devoted to increasing physical activity not to changing what kids eat. And sadly, if they do recommend changing what kids eat, it’s usually to strip the fat out of their diets, load them up on fat-free carbs, limit the animal protein they get, feed little boys lots of soy (click here for why that may not be such a good idea), and generally ignore the obvious.

Federal, state, and local governmental agencies spend millions, nay billions, of dollars each year to force kids to get more exercise or they institute nutritional ‘awareness’ campaigns, generating lots of pretty posters, pamphlets, and leaflets to warn kids and their parents of the dangers of eating fat. Meanwhile, they’re turning average kids into king-size kids.

Some school districts have begun to build bike paths so kids can walk or bike safely to school.

Actually, that’s an idea that I think has merit, not for helping them lose weight necessarily, because it probably won’t do much when you consider that walking a mile or two a day will only burn a few hundred calories, which if they don’t change their eating habits, they’ll cover with 4 bowls of HFCS-sweetened cereal and low fat milk before their afternoon cartoon shows end. Rather, I think it’s a good idea because it will decongest the streets, reduce national oil consumption, and besides, it’s traditional; I walked home from school every day, so they should, too.

Lots and lots of other dollars go to mandating physical ed requirements, often in idiotic and counterproductive ways, such as insisting that participation in marching band shouldn’t count as a p.e. class. For crying out loud, have these people ever carried a tuba while dancing, hopping, marching, and spinning on turf every day? Not to mention that the kids expend the wind power of actually playing the instrument while doing this. Sheeeeesh!

I’d wager it’s a sight better workout than sitting in the bleachers or standing on the sidelines while somebody explains to you how to kick a soccer ball or shoot a basket. And yet…because kids are not losing weight on their idiotic low-fat nutritional advice, it must be they’re still not exercising enough.

It’s like they can’t see the forest for the trees. To borrow from erstwhile Clintonista strategist, James Carville:

It’s the carbs, stupid.


  1. There are three things forbidden in our home: soy, HFCS and hydrogenated fats of any kind. We are also low sugar/grain. The difference between my son in height, development, etc. and other neighbor children is FRIGHTENING.

    My pet peeve…and I wish there were a “group” getting on the wagon about this: national food service companies/corporations which are hired to serve lunch in school to millions of children. They feed them cheap processed crap: trans fatty, sugary garbage, often behind the backs of their parents, and then send leaflets home emphasizing “healthy eating habits.” Nice sleight of hand, that. (In the meantime, teacher is feeding kids junk food as part of a lesson plan.)

    And then they publish articles in the paper about decining test scores…. Why can’t Johnny think straight and pay attention?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Kudos to you and your family for tending to your own table and larder. A big problem with the food purveyors for schools is that they are under federal government mandate (since all or part of their bill gets paid by tax dollars) to adhere to the letter of the law regarding ‘healthy’ food, which is the USDA food pyramid–i.e., it should provide 6 to 9 servings of grain, 4 or 5 servings of fresh fruit or vegetables, go light on fat in general and in sat fat in particular. Then the same powers that be give them a guideline that potatoes and ketchup can count as two vegetables!! That the tomato sauce in icky pizzas can count as a vegetable. That fruit juice and sweetened apple sauce can count as fruits. It’s a crying shame, and you’re absolutely right. Johnny can’t pay attention because he’s on either a sugar/starch high or in a blood sugar slump and the functional fats in his brain are being replaced by trans fats. Go figger.

  2. There is so much anti-fat and pro-carb propaganda that I fear even if the truth were to come out people woulnd’t believe it!!!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sad, but true.

  3. I am in complete agreement with A.K. Reinert (above). It is truly a National tragedy.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Yes, it is. All any of us can do is see to it that our own kids (and by extension, grandkids, nieces, and nephews) eat a healthy diet and that we teach them what we believe to be correct to protect them from the misinformation of the “village idiots” in the village that it alledgedly takes to raise them.

  4. My family was horrified when they found out what my 4-year-old son eats for breakfast – usually a slice of bacon and an egg scrambled in butter. I send string cheese, nuts and a little square of dark chocolate for his snack at preschool. I have heard countless times from well-meaning family and friends that we’re damaging his health and that he will be overweight, etc., yet he is in the 97th percentile for height and the 50th percentile for weight. He sleeps well at night – 11 hours straight through. He is rarely sick and sometimes has too much energy for me to handle!

    At the park the other day, I started crying (discreetly) when I watched an 8-year-old attempt to climb on the playground equipment. He was already so morbidly obese that he had a swayback from the weight of his abdomen. He was panting and sweating just from the effort of climbing 3 steps to reach the slide. Then he couldn’t go down the slide because it was too small for him. His mother had a “snack” ready for him – potato chips, cookies and soda.

    Parents need to be educated, but the low-fat message is being shouted so loudly that the truth can’t be heard. Thank you for telling the truth ; I wish more people could hear it.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Kudos to you for feeding your son properly, even in the face of arguement from well-meaning (if misguided) family and friends. Our first grandchild, at age 1 year, ate 1 or 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, 1 or 2 slices of bacon, and probably 1/2 cup of blueberries or grapes every morning for breakfast, much to the horror of some of our daughter-in-laws friends. It would have even been more to the horror of their pediatrician at the time, who was an avowed vegetarian and thought our grandson was eating mainly cream of rice and baby food fruit and vegetables. Our daughter-in-law (at our urging) never confronted the pediatrician, just nodded and smiled and went on doing what we/she knew to be best for him.

    As to getting the word more broadly heard, you have our permission to send a link to this blogsite to anyone you see fit to send it to. The truth will out, one reader at a time.

  5. I think bikes should be advertised as being more fun than video games. Movies such as ET, The Bike Squad, Breaking Away, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure might get kids into biking. The Tour De France might be a bit much, over 3000 miles in 3 weeks on various terrain.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Great ideas; conversely kids could do one of those follow the dance step video games. Our youngest son has that one and it’s tough…but fun.

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