Can We Talk?, Food, Parenting

Child Obesity Linked to Working Moms and Corporations

Wow. I can’t believe the mom-o-sphere hasn’t been up in arms about this latest “study.”

And before we go any further, just to set the record straight – I’m a mother. I’m a blogger. But I don’t consider myself a mommy blogger. No disrespect to any mommy bloggers out there, I just don’t put myself into that category. So when I say “mommy bloggers,” I’m not talking about myself, per se. I prefer to observe a group, as opposed to being part of a group, then I can be more objective (and vocal) in my opinions without being boiled alive.

If that makes any sense.

Anyway, here’s a snippet of the article:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The more mothers work during their children’s lifetimes, the more likely their kids are to be overweight or obese, according to a US study published on Friday.

Researchers from American University in Washington, Cornell University in New York state and the University of Chicago studied data on more than 900 elementary- and middle-school-aged children in 10 US cities.

They found that the total number of years the children’s mothers worked had a cumulative influence on their children’s body mass index (BMI) — the weight to height ratio used to measure if a person is overweight or obese.

The researchers were unable to clearly explain the findings but theorized that because working mothers have little time to shop for healthy food and prepare meals, they and their children eat more fast- and packaged foods, which tend to be high in fat and calories.

I wish the article had linked to the study, I would like to see the data on this “conclusion.”

Though I can sort of buy it. I mean, working parents are pressed for time. And fast food is fast and convenient. And when you have a 1001 things to do when you get home at night, cooking is low priority. And the kids are hungry. And probably whining … and offering healthy choices is a lot of extra work AND expensive.

I’m guilty of doing this from time-to-time. Kevin and I will get home and THE LAST thing we feel like doing is cooking dinner and then cleaning up afterward. So, we’ll go out and grab some Wendy’s (or some other fast food) just so we’ll have more time to relax and do the things we need to do.

We’ll all crunched for time, we all cut corners whenever we can. There’s nothing wrong with that. I guess the problem starts when that’s ALL we do – when we consistently go for the unhealthy shortcuts and skip the healthier options. Eating healthy is not really that hard – if we make a conscious effort to do so and plan ahead.

Dr. Laura’s blog is what first drew my attention to this. Here is what she had to say on the matter:

The most important part of this study is the part that gets people mad. Well, it gets moms mad. Children’s chances of becoming fat rises the longer mothers work outside the home. Weight problems among children have soared in the past 3 decades as more women have joined the workforce.

But the main problem children have is the inattention of their mothers, because their mothers are burning the candle from one end to the other and all along the middle. Because women have been bullied by the feminist mentality, they no longer believe being a mother and a wife and a homemaker is an adequate thing for anybody to do.

So they have full-time jobs, kids and a husband. They can’t adequately take care of their kids to make sure they exercise and eat right. …

What studies like this show is how important you are to the well-being and health of your children

As usual, Dr. Laura doesn’t mince words. I’m sure that working mothers out there aren’t purposefully feeding their children fatty foods out of neglect, but convenience and cost are definitely factors. I can totally understand WHY working moms resort to these types of food, but I wonder if they’re really thinking about the long-term repercussions of doing so.

(And just for the record, and just to keep things fair and balanced – I’m sure there are a lot of working moms that break their backs to make sure their kids are eating right and getting enough exercise. I’m also sure there are some stay-at-home moms that feed their kids a lot of crap, too. Everyone has their reasons, everyone has to do the best they can do. My point is to try and raise awareness about making healthier choices for our childrens’ sakes, if for no other reason).

One of the reasons I think this article hits a nerve for a lot of people is that once again, parents feel like their parenting skills are being questioned. It’s like watching a caged animal being backed into a corner – they get vicious and defensive. And once again, some people will do, or say anything, to get out of being held accountable.

Which sort of leads me to the other thing I wanted to talk about…

How some people think it’s the big-bad corporations’ fault that people, in general, are obese because of the food they sell.

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(RSS readers – another video that won’t show up in your readers. My apologizes. Click over to watch it).

Where to start….

Yes. Some companies offer fatty foods. They do so because they want to make a profit. It’s the reason companies exist. They do not exist to better mankind, they exist to make a buck. And when they’re successful at making that buck, they expand and employ people.

Jobs make an economy strong.

Should they offer these types of fatty foods? Well why not? People buy them. If people stopped buying them, they would stop making them because they would be losing money. Again with the profit margin thing.

Personally, I think it’s sort of sick that they sell these heart attacks waiting to happen food types and it makes me uncomfortable when I see obese people inhaling these fatty foods. But guys, no one is forcing them to eat that stuff.

No one is twisting people’s arms to buy these fatty foods. No one is holding a gun to people’s heads to consume these fatty foods. Is it sad that they make unwise choices? Absolutely. But it’s their choice. They have the freedom to make that choice and they will have to deal with the consequences of making that bad choice.

(Pst – moderation is KEY).

I’m not sure how it’s the corporations’ fault that people make bad choices.

Once again, blaming corporations is much easier than owning up to our own weakness. Pointing fingers is a heck of a lot easier than exercising will power and simply refusing to eat the junk that’s offered.

But again, let’s be fair. It’s also equally sad that healthy food is not more affordable.

Do I wish the food industry wasn’t so off balanced (and dare I say, corrupt?). Yes. Do I wish people would start demanding that healthy food be made more affordable and available? Yes. And I think we’re starting to make strides in that direction. But do I think we should blame and/or punish big industries for people making bad choices? No. Just don’t buy their products. Get them where it hurts, in their profit margin. They will soon get the hint.

Once again, it’s about taking responsibility for our choices. Once again, society is scrambling to blame someone else.

I’d be discouraged by all of the finger pointing, but I honestly think people are starting to wake up to these tactics.

Finally.