President Calls on America to "Cope" With Child Obesity

President Bush described child obesity as "a costly problem for the country" and called for strategies to "help folks...cope with the issue" as he met with executives from McDonald's, Kraft, PepsiCo and other companies that market food products to children. The President cast the problem of child obesity as one of personal responsibility for choosing what to eat and whether to exercise. The guests previewed a Dreamworks public service announcement of characters from the movie "Shrek" who encourage kids to go outside and play. The Post article omitted reports that a Dreamworks promotion with McDonald's has been scheduled to begin with the release of "Shrek 3" sometime in 2007, according to CorpWatch. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest called the meeting "a feel-good event for a beleaguered White House" and "...great for some of the companies that have been major contributors to childhood obesity."


The best way to cope with childhood obesity is to realize it is a deviance scare or moral panic akin to witchhunts or McCarthism. There is no real proof moderate fatness causes ill health. There is proof making kids a target of so much negative attention and constant barage of nagging does permanent psychological damage far worse than an increased risk of diabetes in late middle age. It also causes eeating disorders which can cause weight gain.

Every time society experiences rapid social change, we are at risk of finding a "bogeyman" to rally around as a way of achieving temporary unity. We are experiencing social breakdown as we speak. Faith in government and religion is at an all time low as we see scandal after scandal. Then there are the scandals that are yet to be exposed, like the cult involvement we are not yet ready to talk about. Unfortunately, all that collective anxiety rises to the surface and manifests itself as hysteria over obesity, particuallary childhood obesity. (I think fat children are the targets because of all the ways we have hurt our children and refuse to admit it. Sadly, it is out of control fear by those leading the crusade that prevents them from looking at past mistakes and repeating the same old tired scare tactics again and again. Antifat crusaders are just as responsible for this alleged "obesity crisis" as any fast food company.
Ironically, in a few decades, we will probably have to worry about for shortage due to global warming. Food production is already down. I actually hope that I personally don't live along time because knowing what emotional torment these antifat crusaders are doing to children with their myopia makes me resent I have to share the planet with them. I do regret I won't get to laugh in their faces though and say I told you so when we finally break denial we have so many more urgent problems to worry about!

Sherie Sanders, MA (I took my name of my login because I send my students here sometimes and I don't want them to feel they have to agree with any of my opinions. But I stand by every word of the above!)

"Weight obsession is a social disease. If we cared more about CO2 than BMI there would still be time."

I find your edit function impossible to use with my browser. So spelling errors be damned along with George Bush, Harkin, and the lot of them!

No one has mentioned "moderate fatness" as the issue, they've mentioned obesity though, which is completely different. One is moderate, the other is extreme, very different things. Besides, there is definitely proof out there that being overweight at all is bad for your health. Just look at its effects on blood pressure, joints, the amount of energy a person has, not to mention the psychological effects.

I have a friend who's 21 and has been overweight since he was little. That's overweight, not obese, but overweight. At 21 he has all kinds of health issues including things as serious as heart problems. He could have a heart attack by his 40s simply because he's overweight, not even obese.

I don't think it's the government's place to force people to get into shape and there are certainly other issues out there that need attention but that doesn't mean that our culture doesn't need to change and that this isn't an issue.

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