THUNDER BAY, ON ------ November 24, 2010 ------ Childhood Obesity media messages continue to mislead our public to support special interest and very persuasive ad campaigns. This piece of writing is focused on the media, the weight loss industry and the concept of prevention. The lifestyle tool appears to be a very big tool used to scheme over to and slide into blame. Our media and food industries have been blaming TV’s and couches for years and years. We, as a society have been standing by and watching our children get bullied, due to obesity and we are all shocked when we see young girls nearly starving themselves to death, in the hope of emulating the Hollywood image. The media continues to promote an image of woman to be extremely thin often wearing a bikini, with a perfect body.
These images continue shape our vision of what beauty and health are. Obese children are seen everywhere and when six month old babies are overweight can we still blame TV’s , or is there something more sinister at hand. The miracle, colon cleansing weight loss industry has made losing weight simple, easy and fun. However, if the diet fails, who fails, is it the diet, or is it the individual child with all of that weight. How do we insulate and protect the self esteem of a child, who is labelled in the classroom? What safety plan is in place for the children going home with their BMI score? The “BMI” provides a number and fails to measure any actual fitness level of the individual. Many refer to these negative messages as forms of motivation and some tend to believe this is bullying and detrimental to the overall health of our children.
Our oppressive media continues to shape the complex issue of childhood obesity onto the individual. Daily I watch children in my community struggle to move and witness bullying at the expense of their mental health and fragile self image daily. These children often dress in dark, unassuming colours that do not draw any attention to themselves. Watching these wonderful little people adopt and adapt skills that avoid detection by their peers, so that they do not stand out in any way. They are very in tuned to their body, and do not need any health care professionals adding more negative attention upon them. The media driven perception of the lifestyle, lack of will power and blame is very prevalent. Are obese children included in ¬
the charter of rights and freedoms? The discussion on bullying is searing all across the planet and it is wonderful to bear witness too. Change is coming and we are awakening to the messages that label children to be unhealthy, or lazy. The Biggest Loser Tv program that is very popular and eagerly accepted by our citizens continues to be promoted by the giants of media. Is calling someone a big fat loser okay? Some have called this a national disgrace. Describing someone as a loser, a big loser, no less is downright shameful, and shaming people is a kin to bullying. The term is offensive and another example of bullying the overweight, obese child. Our community can work to educate others and at the same time recognize my own beliefs about obesity bullying. Children are the victims of this food environment and our media needs raise their level of awareness, and open up to a full investigation of the obesity issue. Reporters can go out into the community and talk to people and truly investigate the issue and ask some questions related to the powerful lobby groups that steer the discussions. Experts can join in and support a national childhood obesity discussion from media outlets .We could call it “ Fat Talk” and people could discuss their experiences on the radio with a call in panel. The concept could be an open line radio, or TV program. People could talk about the issue of childhood obesity and healthy work plans and test the information.
The billion dollar weight loss industry has been feasting on ignorance for many years and the message of diets and exercise appear to be at the core. Diets are generally calorie restricting in nature and focus solely on numbers on a scale. Do we love and accept our children more if they lose a pound? Obesity is a by product routed in many complex issues like poverty. Since poverty is not a lifestyle choice I am left to wonder why being overweight is linked to a lifestyle decision. Lifestyle is the miracle tool that many in the weight loss industry embrace and I believe it is blame .Blame allows other issues to pass by and slither on without any real notice. Does the weight loss industry portray the obese child as valued? Our children continue to be victimized and bullied by the weight loss industry. Thanks to the many social networks people are getting their ideas past the media and more obese acceptance movements are moving into mainstream. This represents a wonderful opportunity and encourages the conversation about this complex issue.
Since fat kids tend to run slower than thin children I am forced to wonder why we need to tackle, or fight obesity. The time for obesity peace talks is upon us and the food environmental childhood obesity crisis is gaining momentum. I believe the intervention is the big fat conversation that is taking place due to social networks. We could address food advertising, re-tool our grocery stores, lower the costs related to real food, and challenge the weight loss industry for misleading our vision of what healthy children should be. Blood pressure testing for every single child in Canada and education on body image may assist in guidance and actually pay dividends. Childhood obesity interventions will require education and the creation of community,”grass-roots” action plans. Maybe, through a process of addressing the hidden messages and dissecting heavily funded programs that are restricted to the “Activity Only “ plan, we may have an impact on the issue. Could we be blinded by the “Inactivity Crisis”, or the “Physical Activity” plan? Our plans could include the feelings of the overweight child and promote fitness at any size and talk about bullying and acceptance. Accepting children for who they are and their exceptional gifts and talents that they can bring to the growth of our community, when we support acceptance. Obesity is a by product and it has downloaded onto the innocent child. Together we can create an articulated community driven action plan and build our action plan on the basis of food security and the availability of affordable, brightly coloured fresh produce.
In closing the landscape of childhood obesity and our views of the obese are changing dramatically. The conversation is raging and accountability is front and center and this includes all aspects of the food chain. Children living in the grip of poverty are feeding themselves with the food products that are brought into their homes. Childhood obesity statistics are reprehensive of this food environment and the efforts at addressing childhood obesity are changing slowly. The media needs to remove their couch potato glasses and finally, report on this obesity crisis. Our weight loss industry and our focus on what is healthy, sexy, and attainable need a shake up. Our eat smart, healthy, active, living messages that are heavily fortified by the giants of the food industry appear to be fleeting and very misleading. Why would the food ¬
and weight loss industry want to scheme and restrict the camera lens? Weather the plan is called, “Let’s Move”,”Particapaction”, or” Change4Life” the tired old message remains and it is routed in the physical activity fractured work plan. At some point and time we need to stop funding plans that are failing to address the issue.We also have the” Inactivity Crisis” and this fails to address the surplus calories that are genetically altered to taste much more exciting and just a little addictive. Perhaps we need to do more farming and less pharming. After all obese children are not the enemy, they tend to be the victims of this food environment. “ Our children are what they are being fed .”
I want to thank the wonderful people of Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario for their feedback and support for the issue of childhood obesity. I also, want to express my appreciation to Lake Superior News. Please feel free to send your feedback .
"I use to think 'someone should do something about that'. Then I realized I was someone. - Lily Tomlin
For Lake Superior News