July 07, 2006

More Harm From Political Correctness

Greg Crosby's written another of his usual winners, this one on political correctness in the obese children's arena.

...The way things are done now is tantamount to living in denial. Officials are so afraid of hurting the feelings of kids that they refuse to call their problem by its correct name — obesity. The overly delicate approach adopted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (and used by many doctors) avoids the word "obese" because of the stigma. So a kid who really is obese is simply called "overweight" by the CDC. A kid who is really overweight is called "at risk of overweight." Don't want to hurt the sensibilities of the little butterballs.

In my case, I was generally pretty thin until I was into my late twenties, when the indulgences of a "wine, women and song" lifestyle began to catch up with me. Even today, at fifty, I'm somewhat heavier than I'd like to be or than is healthy for me to be, and to that end I've enlisted the help of Matt Furey's Combat Conditioning, the best exercise regimen I've yet encountered, which is based on using your own body weight as your exercise machine and which is helping me take off pounds and feel better overall, but that's another story entirely.

Back on topic, when I was a lad, as Crosby points out as his own experience as well, there was none of this feel-good PC stuff a certain segment of our society has forced on the rest of us -- if you were fat, you were told so in no uncertain terms, and that was good. Sure, it might well have hurt the feelings, for some reason, of kids who already had to know they were fat, coming into daily contact as they did with other children who weren't fat, but it was also the best encouragement on earth to do something to remedy the situation, like eat less sweets and get more exercise. As an adult, I have met numerous acquaintances from my childhood days I hardly recognized because being called "fatty" et al finally got to them enough that they did something about it and were now in great shape.

Stroking them with neutral PC terminology doesn't cut it, and rarely if ever will. I call attention to a quote in Greg Crosby's OpEd,

According to Dr. Reginald Washington, a Denver pediatrician and co-chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics obesity task force, calling a child obese might "run the risk of making them angry, making the family angry,"

Instead of becoming angry, the family {In addition to the child subject of the diagnosis, I take this to mean the parents of same} should disconnect the kid from the tube, the X-Box or the computer and send him out for some exercise, refrain from over-feeding the child and counsel him/her regarding moderation during those supersized stops at the local fast food franchise after school. They should work at cultivating an interest on the part of the obese child in participating in competitive sports. Additional biproducts of a child's being physically fit are that it generally helps bring up his or her school grades while augmenting the development of baggage-free social skills.

This is a really relevant OpEd, what I'd call recommended reading, and can be read in its entirety here.

Posted by Seth at 08:26 AM | Comments (6) |