This story really has to be perceived as the final straw in the fight against childhood obesity. In getting kids to stop purchasing cheap candy (and cheap thrills from the sound of it), concerned parents are patrolling shops and physically stopping kids from entering convenient stores (corner shops for folks in the UK). I think this strategy speaks to our desperation in trying to prevent the long-term harms of overweight and obesity, particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
This story reminded me of the very first webinar I attended last week, entitled “What shapes health?”, courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Watching slides over the Internet and listening to the presentation over the phone, I heard experts present evidence on the harms of stressful, unhealthy living in adults and its consequences for children, with the effects being ‘written into the body’ as early as pre-conception (this comes from research presented by Professor Jack P. Shonkoff). More than a scare tactic, what I think it suggests (although not explicitly) is that health is not the individualistic endeavor we imagine it to be. We are not the only ones affected by years of physical inactivity, poor diet and stress. Future generations literally become embodiments of our excesses. Having said that, reading about mothers on foot patrol to prevent children in their neighbourhood doesn’t seem so extreme. If we consider health as a collective responsibility and take action accordingly, we may just get somewhere in terms of reducing the alarming rates of child obesity witness around the world.
Click here for Publications from the Webinar: What shapes health?
For more fascinating webinars from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, visit their website. Of particular interest are their upcoming webinars on childhood obesity prevention.