I have been interested to read the discussion of last month's Huffington Post blog regarding Michelle Obama's "War on Obesity". Thank you to everyone who has weighed in thus far in various formats to continue the dialogue!
What has encouraged me -- readers who write in to say "thank you" for at least presenting an alternative to yet another "war". To all of you, please know that I appreciate your willingness to consider alternative routes to addressing such a critical issue.
What has shocked me -- readers who write in to personally blast me for having the gall to suggest that there is any other way to get (and keep) our kids healthy than by declaring war on habits, behaviors, and knowledge they have innocently learned from observing US.
The only conclusion I can make is that there are some adults moving amongst us who don't want to clean up their own act. WE are the ones who are afraid of calories, diets, fat, obesity. Our kids are just caught in the crossfire.
I realize this sounds harsh. So be it. Eating disorders are LETHAL. Deadly. Not to be messed with. While some diseases can be successfully treated through careful application of the causative virus, eating disorders are not one of those illnesses.
We must be careful, careful, careful, when designing a plan to create healthy, fit kids without killing some of them off for the cause.
Case in point -- I opened up my inbox this morning to find a note from a respected colleague, Kimberly Krueger, MSW, LCSW. Ms. Krueger is the founder and director of Southlake Counseling Center in Davidson, North Carolina. She writes:
"I meant to send you a note about your article in the Huffington Post. It was awesome and I couldn't agree more. I can't tell you the number of younger kids who are now coming in after their eating disorder was triggered by various school or scout lectures targeting the 'War on Obesity' and explaining what is a 'good' food versus a 'bad' food. These kids are now terrified of what might happen to them based on their food choices. As a clinician with more than two decades of experience treating individuals of all ages who present with disordered eating concerns, it seems to me like all of this focus on war on obesity and weight, combined with genetic predisposition, might be triggering the rise of eating disordered behaviors in younger and younger children."
Please understand -- my intention is not to blame anyone as we continue the dialogue. Blame, like war, never got any of us anyplace that great.
Instead, all I am asking for here is a modicum of consideration for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, our intentions may be very good, but our methods may be off.
Out with the "War on Obesity".
In with "Americans for Fit, Healthy Kids".
Who is with me?