February 15 2011
The folks over at the Center for Consumer Freedom make a very good point in suggesting that the next task force (they do love a task force over at the White House) the Obama administration sets up should be a task force on anorexia.
Kathy Warwick, a registered dietitian, writes in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger about the uptick in children suffering from eating disorders. Inspired by the first lady's Let's Move campaign, many schools are focusing on food - maybe just a little too much.
The first lady announced her "Let's Move" campaign with the ambitious goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. The USDA has proposed new guidelines for school meals requiring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Local school districts have wellness committees and some schools are sending home BMI or body mass index reports to parents. Cupcakes, cookies and chips have been banned from school birthday parties and popular fundraisers that sell chocolate or pizza have been eliminated. School districts have re-instituted physical education and nutrition education is required for all students.
And as this focus on food, weight and "health" has grown, so have eating disorders among young children:
Now experts are seeing another problem on the horizon. The rate of eating disorders among children is on the rise. Children as young as 6 or 7 are being diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia nervosa. Eating disorders are most common among teenage girls, but can strike boys and young adults as well. Children may begin to restrict their eating, become obsessed with exercise or induce vomiting after eating. Some child psychologists are concerned children are hearing so much about the "obesity epidemic" and seeing the way our society discriminates against those who are overweight that we may be driving this generation to unhealthy relationships with food. Well-meaning adults may present foods as "good" or "bad" or "fattening" in an effort to encourage children toward better eating habits. Children may begin to judge themselves as "good" if they are thin and "bad" if they are overweight. We must use extreme caution as adults when talking about weight and dieting in front of children. Remember that 70 percent of kids are not overweight.