Breaking my silence once again to comment on the recent hubbub over a certain municipality banning McDonald’s Happy Meals*(see note at the end of this post), inciting an outcry of horror from customers and probably emboldening the hideously stupid Sarah Palin to be even dumber than she usually is. A deposit of saturated fat between the ears is notoriously hard to cure, isn’t it?
I guess sometime recently Palin attacked the First Lady’s anti-child-obesity campaign by feeding a classroom full of grade-school kids all the sweets they could ever rot the teeth out of their heads with. No doubt a bucketload of snarky comments was passed around to wash it all down — with another bucketload of sugar added for good measure. (Yes, this did happen — click on THIS to read the whole sorry story.)
But, back to McDonald’s.
I often have the opportunity to see the public’s eating habits firsthand. I have noted that it’s fairly rare for a skinny mom to have obese children, but common for a fat mom to have tubby kids. I’ve also noted that about 30% of parents refuse to take any sort of responsibility whatsoever for what their kids put into their mouths, and how much. In fact, if anyone tries to deny food to their kids, outrage ensues. There is no ratio of fat to thin I can think of in this category; I’ve seen skinny parents go nuts about this as well as fat parents. In the end it has less to do with food than with a perceived attack on their child (who not only can do no wrong, but can do anything s/he wants — or else). In plain words, it’s bad parenting.
The majority of parents will thank you for leaving them in control of their child’s food intake. That’s as it should be. It’s called good parenting. It is something Sarah Palin knows even less about than I thought she did, seeing as she thought it okay to feed other people’s kids a mountain of sugar, just to make some sort of political point against the (black) First Lady.
And that’s the basic problem with outlawing McDonald’s Happy Meals.
As far as I know, most parents have more money than their kids. They are the ones paying for the Happy Meals…or not, as they choose. If they choose to neglect their responsibility and let their kids turn into little balloons, that is their fault, not McDonald’s. To put it more concisely, if no one buys Happy Meals, they will go away by themselves.
Quite the same applies to Sarah Palin, who as I said apparently took it upon herself to become a cause of childhood obesity. Why I should even have heard about this monumental bit of stupidity is beyond me, but it’s definitely been in the news…and for once, almost no one — even among Republicans — is trying to excuse it.
Obesity in the U.S. (and most of the world, from my own observation) is not a “liberal” verses “conservative” issue. It is not a political football. It is a real problem, and controlling it involves real personal responsibility. This is all the First Lady is saying. No one outside of the occasional city and/or school board is talking about banning fatty Happy Meals or sugary cookies.
Banning kiddie meals and snacks will not help. Allowing a wayward political Barbie doll to force-feed your kids mountains of sugar to make some sort of political point will not help. Saying “no” to your kids is the only thing that will help. For some people it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the only one that will work.
*12/30/10 edit: further research left me unable to identify the municipality that was trying to ban Happy Meals, but found some information on a current lawsuit a parent brought against McDonald’s for “tempting kids with toys” in their Happy Meals. This is essentially the same sort of ignorance and abdication of parental authority that I was talking about anyway, so I’m not going to bother to rewrite this post.
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