Obesity and coddled kids


One misguided solution in search of a problem inevitably leads to another problem.

Consider the frequent reports about a childhood obesity epidemic.

The Nevada State Health Division and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas reported last month that roughly one in three kindergartners is overweight or obese, a rate that's no different from a few years ago. This despite an ever-growing, taxpayer-funded Nanny State that intervenes in children's lives through health care programs, wellness education and school meal subsidies.

Indeed, the study also found just 17 percent of kindergartners lack health insurance; that 80 percent of kindergartners' parents said they have no barriers to health care; that 84 percent of kindergartners had received a routine medical checkup in the past year; and that 72 percent of them had seen a dentist in the past year.

Lifestyle choices might be to blame, Amanda Haboush, a research analyst at UNLV's Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy, told the Review-Journal.

Now there's a shocker.

Parents have been pummeled with scare tactics over the past 20 years, made afraid to let their children out of their sight. Generations of children have never been allowed to explore their neighborhoods unsupervised, or ride their bikes to parks to meet up with friends. So children whose parents cannot afford structured activities or sports end up sitting around glued to the computer or TV. And lo and behold, some of them are getting fat.

Naturally, the Nanny State that helped create this crisis has all the answers. More school-sponsored health care. More meals at schools. Less instruction on reading, writing and math, and more classroom time on nutrition. Or longer school days -- at considerable expense -- to fit in more structured physical education. How long before these busybodies simply ask you to hand over your kids?

It's about more than food quality, preservatives or processed meals. Kids have craved junk for decades. It's about calories in vs. calories out.

Here's an idea: Back off, give kids the freedom to play like kids and see where that gets us.

 

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