“Too Much of a Good Thing” by Greg Crister

Greg Crister in his article “Too much of a good thing” has discussed the problems related to childhood obesity, and had come out with very interesting issues in relation to obesity in children. Some critics believe that his arguments have a lot of flaws in examining the issues concerned. Crister attempts to convey that obesity in children is something, which has very far-reaching adverse consequences for them and must be taken care of the moment it is observed as having become inherent in the child’s physiology. He has researched that the problem of obesity has started to reach serious proportions and must be stemmed immediately failing which a large percentage of the population will become obese by the time they become adults. His information indicates that 25% of children below the age of nineteen are obese clinically. Crister opines that it is the media and parents of children who must take the responsibility and take concrete steps in putting a check on it. It is evident that attempts in trying to educate children about the harmful effects of overeating can sometimes be viewed negatively by them, but whatever the implications, it is essential that remedies be found to this aggravating problem in society. It is necessary to teach children dietary restraints in eating habits so that healthy eating habits can be incorporated into the family. While traditional thoughts make us believe that trying to restrain eating habits in children may cause health problems in the future, Christer has referred to recent studies that give evidence in regard to the advantages of diet control and healthy eating habits. He has cited a study by Barbara Rolls, which reveals that children above the age of three years do not know when they are full in the stomach and would continue to each as long as the physiology permitted. Christer is appreciative of the French who he says, do not have obesity problems in children since they took remedial measures in this regard from the beginning of the 20th century.

The ideal solution to the problem according to Crister is to criticize and stigmatize the act of overeating and not the children who do so since it is an urge, which can be checked by counseling them in this regard. He says that when such strategies can work with habits such as smoking and in the prevention of AIDS, there is no doubt about its success in eradicating this negative habit amongst children. It is a common fact that when any such exercise to improve the overall circumstances in society are initiated, some people do feel bad and hurt and there are criticisms, but ultimately it is the betterment for the society at large, which is very true. If a large percentage of people become obese it proves to be a big deterrent for society in indulging in healthy and consistent social and economic activities in the right earnest. Hence it is always a good idea to adopt these reasonable means to curb the incidence of obesity amongst children who will ultimately be the future generation that will carry things forward in this world. In the long term, the ill feelings generated due to this kind of stigmatizing will fade away and people will ultimately benefit from the accrued advantages and consequently, the advantages will far exceed the pain caused due to such actions.

Crister believes that instead of solely relying on the practices of the French in this regard, it is more important for parents to play increased roles because they are the best placed in achieving a state where there are minimal obese people. Some people say that his solution to obesity appears to be very simplistic in comparison to the extremity of the problem since he says that the only solution appears to be inputting a check on obesity in early childhood. On the contrary, Koplan and Dietz (1999) have offered a comprehensive plan to curb the practice, whereby parents and the media should not be solely blamed for obesity, but there should be more proactive measures as the French took. A contradiction in regard to Crister’s solutions is cited by way of the impossibility of all children being checked for obesity in childhood and that this implies that those who are missed out will continue to be obese in adulthood. That is not so since there is a solution to obesity in adulthood also. Crister, while revealing some facts about childhood obesity has provided a solution that envisages the stigmatization of overeating behavior. This does not appear to be the only solution since in today’s modern age there are several options to overcome the effects of such epidemics as also to eradicate them to a large extent. The fact remains that society cannot and must not rely only on efforts that are narrowly focused with very limited options. There have to be widespread efforts by society to find ways and means on a wide spectrum through trial and error methods, which will surely guarantee the effectiveness of creative and innovative techniques in this regard.

References

Koplan, Jeffrey P. and William H. Dietz. (1999). Caloric imbalance and public health policy. In Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen (Eds.) Writing and reading across the curriculum (pp. 440-446). New York: Longman.