On Childhood Obesity

“So they said no more chocolate milk in the cafeteria,” Mrs. Bowman was saying, “because we have to do something about childhood obesity. But you know I think they’d do more about childhood obesity if they didn’t make kids sit in a chair seven hours a day.”

“Yes, it’s an interesting problem,” Mr. Magundi said. “I don’t have the answers. I’m not even sure I have the questions. But is it mere coincidence that the rise in childhood obesity has paralleled the rise in nutrition education? The more we tell our kids how bad their eating habits are, the worse they eat. Perhaps we should admit that the obsession with nutrition is itself a form of gluttony. Instead of promoting good eating habits, all our education seems to promote furtive and guilty overindulgence. We’re teaching our kids to be unnaturally obsessed with food. And I don’t know what to do about that, except to say that perhaps our best course would be to leave nutrition up to the parents, and not get ourselves in too much of an uproar over what children are eating.”

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