1. Maymama1

    Wow. Obesity Octopus? Really? The Obesity Octopus is ruining our children’s lives? What an amazing illustration of Fat Hatred.

    We live in a country with serious body image issues. Fat Hatred/Death Fat is now the hot topic, instead of talking about and striving for the healthy ideal, which is different for every person. The impact of fat hatred is that 54% of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat, 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat, 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities like, giving an opinion, going to school, and going to the doctor because they feel badly about their looks and in the U.S., as many as ten million (10,000,000) women are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. That’s more than are suffering from breast cancer. (http://kateharding.net/2008/10/13/quick-hit-fat-talk-free-week/)

    Kids do not need to learn about health and nutrition from a cartoon octopus. Kids who are considered overweight deal with abuse from their peers, from the media, from health professionals, from parents, and from other do-gooders like Jamie Oliver and Michelle Obama. They have learned from their cultural environment what it takes to be considered worthy of life, love, and happiness.

    Please stick to “real life toddler nutrition” information, recipes and advice. That is useful. Fat Hatred? No. We have plenty of that already.

  2. Thank you for adding juice right along with soda on your octopus.
    Since you’ve only got 6 out of 8 of the octopuses arms covered, let me offer a suggestion for the other two which are out of sight in your graphic.
    GREED thats right, Greed. Corporations make lots and lots of money at the expense of personal and planetary health. This is why chocolate milk, juice and soda continue to remain in schools. Sadly, we live in a country in which disease is profitable, health is not. There is no financial incentive to feed kids food that will sustain their health. Have you seen all the ads for drugs in the parenting magazines? That’s where the money is.

    The other arm of the octopus would have to be Low Food IQ. So many parents don’t know what a health supportive diet really consists of. Thanks to corporate GREED, they get suckered into heavily marketed junk food, vitamin supplements and much much more.

    But the real deal is that this “obesity octopus” is just a distraction from the real issue: declining children’s health. Obesity is merely the tip of the iceberg http://bit.ly/duxXg8 . By focusing on obesity, you play into the corporate calorie counting game and you miss the big and very scary picture: our planet can no longer sustain our way of life.

    • Hi Susan
      Great points! The childhood obesity octopus did not grow up overnight! Vested interests, busy parents, misguided priorities – they have all contributed to the growth of this monster.

  3. RaisingBoysWorld

    I strongly agree with Dr. Susan’s Low Food IQ point. There is such a disconnect between the food source and the table that people no longer care where their food is coming from and what steps it has gone through before arriving on their plates. Many children (and parents) don’t know what half their foods look like as a plant…growing in the ground. People no longer like to think their neatly shrink-wrapped chicken breasts actually came from a chicken because it’s icky. Common knowledge on how to have a balanced diet is no longer common.

    This disconnect just lowers people’s standards on what they choose to eat and also push them towards processed foods that are easier and not always cheaper.

    I’m going to be honest and say when I see a parent with an obese child at the supermarket, and their shopping cart is filled to the brim with processed junk. I judge. I feel that it is unfair the child has to suffer from a lifetime of an avoidable disease, along with low self esteem and poor health, because the parent does not try to seek out the info.

  4. Teach your children to make healthy choices. Children learn better when actively involved and when it is fun. There is an awesome resource on the market that will teach your children healthy eating habits while they are incontrol and having fun planning and eating healthy meals! It’s called The Eating Game and it is making a difference for many kids and their families. http://www.theeatinggame.ca

  5. This is really cute – and easy for kids to understand. I would also add an exercise component as well. It would be fun to do a series of posts in connection to this – ways in which kids can battle the obesity octopus 🙂 Thanks for sharing – it’s a good fight and one worth having!

  6. It all starts with parents, if parents make the right choices, then our children will also!

    • That concept sounds great in theory. As kids get older, you have less and less say. We need to eliminate toxic food environments where kids spend significant amounts of time. School is the biggest toxic food environment. 12 years, 180 days each year. The school environment can undermine all the great choices that parents model for their kids.
      You’ll see what I mean as your kids get older.

  7. I was going to say that a big issue is “parents’ ignorance,” but perhaps Low Food IQ is a nicer way to put it. Simply stated: parents don’t understand the effect that food has on kids’ bodies. There is so much more to a nutrition label than calories and fat! I recently wrote a blog post about this very topic, emphasizing 7 simple food rules that can help parents choose healthier snacks for their kids: http://decafmom.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/preschool-snack-guidelines/

    Not enough parents read food labels, and not enough people realize the detrimental effects of ingredients like artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup, and trans fats. People don’t make the connection that foods with empty calories — even seemingly healthy ones like juice, or grains (cereals, crackers, bread) that lack fiber — just make kids hungrier.

    But it’s not just the parents’ fault, either. It is nearly impossible to find foods at a traditional supermarket that aren’t heavily processed and full of this junk. Even “trusted” brands like Nabisco, that most of us grew up with, pack all sorts of artificial colors/flavors and partially hydrogenated oils into their “kid-friendly” snack foods. Busy parents who rely on convenience foods, but don’t shop in a place like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods (where such ingredients are against policy), have little choice.

  8. Doug Millington

    The key to fighting childhhod obesity is to get kids active and eating healthier foods. The $64 dollar question is how do we do that. It all begins and ends with the choices the parents make. The parents do the grocery shopping and set the tone in the family for regular physical exercise. You can read more about what parents can do to prevent childhho obesity at http://fitnessweightlosscenter.com/health/5-things-parents-can-do-to-prevent-their-teens-from-becoming-obese/

  9. Andrei @ Turning Winds

    For kids to become healthier, parents should do their part to be role models too. You can never teach kids the right things when they see you doing the opposite. I think a healthy lifestyle starts with the way parents should control what the family eats. This is important because kids who are obese often times feel depressed at being overweight when they become teens, their confidence gets affected. By helping our teens become confident with their bodies, introducing them to healthy food while they’re still young, then I’m sure the problem on obesity will likely decrease in time. Cute illustration!

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