As others have noted, Paul Campos’ piece on how the US “Let’s Move” campaign aids and abets bullying is worth reading. Besides noting that advocating for “child obesity to be eliminated” paints a “pick on me” sign on anyone who isn’t model-thin, Campos also cites studies that have tried healthy interventions with children in the past. Result? The kids got healthier. They didn’t get thinner.
Consider the first lady’s major policy goals: She wants children to eat a healthy balance of nutritious food, both in their homes and at school, and she advocates various reforms that will make it easier for kids to be physically active. These are laudable goals in themselves, but there is no evidence that achieving them would result in a thinner population. Indeed ambitious, resource-intensive versions of Mrs. Obama’s initiatives have been implemented on a smaller scale, for example by the Johns Hopkins University Pathways program, which attempted to improve the diets and increase the activity levels of Native American children in three states, while educating their families about health and nutrition. The program had some success in all these areas, but it produced no weight loss among the children as a group. The same basic results, improved health habits but no weight loss, were obtained in the Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health, a similar program involving thousands of ethnically diverse children in four states. Pursuing comparable initiatives at a national level might be worthwhile—these programs did, after all, result in improved health habits among the children who participated—but there is no reason to think the kinds of reforms Mrs. Obama is advocating will make American children thinner. The perverse result could be that an initiative that might have been judged a success had its primary focus been on producing healthier children will instead end up being used as another example of a failed Big Government program, simply because it did not produce thinner ones.
[Links from the original; emphasis added]
Campos also points out that dieting is often linked to long-term weight gain.
…and on a less serious note, Seanan McGuire wrote a brief description of sci-fi conventions and 10 tips on how to cope with one. Whether you’ve been to a con or not, it’ll likely make you smile.
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