Common Sense: A Parental Responsibility?

Meet working mom Janice D’Arcy, who juggles children and a career. She wrote in yesterday’s Washington Post that she’s tired of people pinning blame on busy parents for their kids’ weight problems. Specifically, she objects to studies that wildly speculate about childhood obesity prevention, including claims that bottle-feeding, busy working moms, and failing to “bond” properly can all increase children’s obesity risk.

We’re equally skeptical about the weak conclusions thrown around by some of “the latest studies.” Unfortunately, D’Arcy shifts the blame to “video-game-hawkers” and other such supposed scoundrels, forgetting that parents can control what goes in their shopping carts and on their television screens.

How about an approach that regards parents as the most effective weapons in the battle against the bulge? We’re guessing working moms like D’Arcy just might be interested in hearing more about a parent-centered strategy.

Obesity researchers recently reported in the journal Pediatrics that a parent-centered diet program is the most effective means to reduce a child’s body-mass index (BMI). That should be a breath of fresh air for parents like D’Arcy who have no tolerance for “self-anointed surrogate parents.” You know the type—those “experts” who constantly offer mothers and fathers unsolicited advice about private family decisions.

Nothing good will come of reacting to finger-pointing by pointing more fingers. It’s time for parents to reclaim responsibility for their own children’s diets and healthy lifestyles.

As D’Arcy properly notes, this process begins with reversing a “culture where the outdoors is viewed as dangerous and school budgets have squeezed out physical education and team sports.”

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