March 28, 2012

Kids on diets: is the tide finally turning?

Until recently, it felt futile to argue much about the dangers of children dieting. People thought I was nuts. Even my child's pediatrician fought me on it and it felt Sisyphian to try.

The outcry about "childhood obesity" has been so strong and the public's solution, dieting, just seemed so obvious to people.

I sense the tide finally easing and more and more reasonable people joining the change in direction. Not only that, I see social networking and the Internet's power to give individuals a voice and share information may be changing how tides turn in general.

Recent examples:

Maggie goes on a diet book protest
Jenny Craig CEO speaking at girls' school conference protest
Mom putting kid on diet in public protest
Academy for Eating Disorders statement on obesity prevention
Questions for Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign

Maybe soon we can get to the point where children dieting will be seen as controversial rather than it being controversial to question that!

P.S. For those who are about to click "comments" to protest that children today are too fat and that parents should be controlling their weight, let me stop you. One: dieting doesn't control weight it just promotes weight cycling and weight gain. Two: parents should be promoting healthy lifestyles for their kids regardless of weight: family meals, a wholesome variety of foods, activities, and positive body image. Three: the real beneficiaries of the dieting message are the twin corporate interests of diet programs and processed convenience foods - as both promote one another.

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