Sometimes I feel like everyone has been freaking out so much about the “childhood obesity crisis” that we overlook some other important issues—many of them concerning children of normal weight and the ways in which their attitude towards food is so impressionable at a young age.
I’m not saying that I have the magic ad campaign bullet, but I will say that I think there’s a lot of room to mess up when the boldface message out there basically amounts to: OMG OUR KIDS ARE SO FAT! SOMEONE (ELSE) DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!
Imagine being, say, a nine-year-old girl and thinking, “Are they talking about me? I had a cupcake yesterday. Maybe I am fat…” Or even a kid who is somewhat overweight or has a borderline BMI could get their head all turned around by the mixed messages or internalize it too much, thinking that they need to be constantly exercising or avoiding all trans fats or whatever it is that spells “weight loss” to them. It sets up a mechanism for disordered eating.
An interesting article I came across yesterday has nothing to do with weight loss in kids or childhood obesity. It’s actually about children with Type 1 Diabetes and how they handle Halloween, a traditionally sugar-laden holiday.
Because their bodies don’t produce insulin, children with Type 1 Diabetes have to carefully monitor their blood sugar and insulin level as well as follow a modified diet, which helps make sure that carbohydrates are distributed evenly throughout the day.
For years, sweets were heavily restricted, but in recent years, some doctors have begun to allow candy in small amounts as long as it’s balanced with the right amount of insulin. They do suggest having a plan before the trick-or-treating starts, though.
I found this a very interesting viewpoint, since I don’t read much from this perspective. It’s kind of a reminder that not all kids are gorging on candy all the time. It’s too bad that kids with Type 1 have to learn moderation because of their disease, but in some ways, it probably does spare them some of the issues other children are dealing with.