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The Dr. A perspective: passing out letters for Halloween won't stop childhood obesity

10.31.13 |

Make health a positive conversation

As you may have heard on your local news station, a woman in North Dakota announced that she intended to hand out letters to overweight children in lieu of candy. The letters scold parents for allowing their children to live an unhealthy lifestyle. If you missed the controversy and would like to catch up, this article is a good place to start.

Childhood obesity is a real epidemic in America and a challenge that will require a fundamental change in mindset of both our societal institutions and our individual citizens. The good news is the efforts to date are helping slow down the rise in the total percent of overweight and obese children but not in the age and extent to those that are already overweight, Younger and younger children are becoming heavy and also morbid or extreme obesity is still on the rise.

This woman’s intentions are probably honorable but her actions will be ineffective and may actually do more harm than good in her attempt to help with this crisis of obesity. Attempting to control parents will elicit defiance and anger. You can not judge and dictate to parents what they must do with their children.

She has no authority and certainly no right to use  Halloween Trick or Treating as an example, a ritual once a year occasion to give her opinion is a recipe for disaster. If she wants to make a point, she could serve healthy snacks such as apples which support her desire to not give overweight children unhealthy candies and further contribute to their weight challenges.

There are betters ways to help create a healthy America. To win people over, we have to be empathetic and caring. We have to make health a positive conversation.

dra-halloween letter