Parents, Not State, Should Lead Efforts Against Childhood Obesity, Sacramento Bee Columnist Writes
The California Center for Public Health Advocacy last week asked Gov. Gray Davis (D) to take action against childhood obesity in the state, but "parents, not state government, are in the best position to fight the epidemic of overweight children," Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub writes (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 12/17). A statewide study of fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders released by the center last week found that more than 25% of California children are overweight and about 40% are not physically fit (California Healthline, 12/12). In response, the study recommended that California officials enforce state laws that require physical education in schools, establish nutritional standards for schools and ensure that schools have water fountains. However, Weintraub writes, the "danger" of such studies "is that they send a message to parents and kids alike that obesity is somebody else's fault." He attributes the problem of childhood obesity to parents "who let their kids eat unhealthy foods and sit in front of the television or computer for hours at a time." Weintraub writes, "The sooner we face up to that fact as a society, the sooner we are going to be able to do something about it," but he adds that "no one seems to want to tell parents that they need to protect their children from unhealthy foods and from sloth." He recommends that health care foundations encourage parents to cook meals at home and encourage children to exercise. "Before we start talking about banning fast food, let's do more to encourage personal responsibility," Weintraub concludes (Sacramento Bee, 12/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.