Who is to blame for childhood obesity? Doctors say parents


According to the World Health Organization, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health threats of the 21st century, putting children at serious risk for Type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart failure. Doctors are concerned as well and have some tough love for parents.ss

A recent SERMO poll found that the majority of doctors (69%) think that parents are mostly or completely to blame for childhood obesity. Thirty percent of respondents said parents are somewhat to blame and only 1 percent said they weren’t to blame at all. The poll received 2,258 responses from doctors around the world.

Doctors on the social network have been discussing the topic, who is to blame for childhood obesity, beyond the poll question.

One doctor, an obstetrician/gynecologist said, While it is likely true that in some instances excessive childhood weight is genetic, it’s hard not to think that in most cases the etiology is environmental. The most important component of that environment is parental control. Obesity is more a result of diet than exercise (as many have found, it is very difficult to “work off” excess consumption). Whether it is giving a young child a large bag of potato chips to keep him quiet in the store, or insisting she eat all her dinner, then give her dessert or multiple additional snacks, many parents have abandoned their responsibility to make the right decisions regarding their children’s health in exchange for expediency.”

A pediatrician added, Clearly, parents need to shoulder some of the responsibility, and the blame. As parents, we have to set an example and to promote within our families healthy eating and healthy exercise. However, children are beset on all sides by their non-parental environment as well, which includes access to cheap, high-caloric foods; glitzy advertisements; a raft of screen and video entertainment; low-nutritional value school lunches; and on and on. Parents can be perfect role models, and still lose in this effort. But at least they stack the odds more favorably for their kids.”

And an ophthalmologist said, “So we have now gone from fat-shaming saying the fat person is lazy to now blaming the parents of obese kids. Are they not knowledgeable? They don’t parent firmly enough? They won’t admit that their kid needs to lose weight? What is the excuse now? I won’t deny that there are some examples like this but I don’t think it is the majority.”


Join the conversation about childhood obesity and its causes on SERMO.

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