America’s most notorious food guilt-tripper, the sprinkle-hating MeMe Roth, apparently needs something new to do during the summer months when demonizing Santa Claus for being hefty won’t get her on CNN. Yesterday Roth warned that summertime treats could lead kids to get fat and lazy. Her solution? Make kids run 3-5 miles whenever they eat an ice cream cone, or else—wait for it—they might grow “man boobs.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
It would be easy to blow off Roth’s zealotry (as entertaining as it can be), but she has enough networks on speed dial to make the rounds on cable TV and push her prickly Puritanism. Roth rejects the idea that you can be healthy without being stick-thin—not surprisingly so, given her vitriol for every last lipid cell. But science tells a different story.
A 2007 study in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) found that physical activity levels, regardless of weight, determine the likelihood of dying prematurely. Research in the journal Obesity last year determined that overweight people had a lower risk of dying than those of “normal” weight. Similarly, a 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that those with higher waist circumference and body fat had a lower risk of dying.
While looking like a Biggest Loser contestant's "before" photo is obviously not healthy, there’s no need to make kids do an Ironman triathlon for every slice of pizza they eat. Most parents can recognize the extremism associated with deeming Ronald McDonald a “child predator,” opting instead for moderation in what their kids eat and ensuring that they get an appropriate amount of exercise. That’s the healthiest solution—for our bodies and our minds.