The little porcine child snorted down another “whole grain” cereal bar and grabbed her “all fruit” juice and plop herself down in front of the TV to watch the Disney Channel. Her belly loomed out between her stretch pants and her T-shirt. She called to her mother—“MOM! I’m still hungry—can I have a Go-Gurt?”
The mother cooed, “of course, calcium is good for you.”
I looked at my friend in horror. “Isn’t there a lot of corn syrup in that?” I cautiously queried...knowing the answer.
“Oh, but it has a lot of calcium too” she countered pointing to the flashy swath of yellow across the package—“one full serving of calcium!” the label exclaimed. “I am very careful with what I buy.” she said with authority.
I looked at the little ball of flesh and asked: ”You don’t think she is getting enough calcium?”
What is driving this behavior in mothers? Twenty years ago a call from a fat child who is sitting in front of a TV demanding more food would have been met with a push out the door into the backyard. For some reason if the label on the food mentions vitamins or calcium it is supposed to negate the fact that it has a billion calories that the child does not need.
But it is not just mothers who have changed. There seems to be a new, all-consuming fear in America that someone somewhere might feel a pang of hunger and they will not have an immediate remedy for it. Snack food is everywhere.
I must admit that I that was raised by a mother who read Adelle Davis’s “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit” like it was the family bible. Perhaps because of that background I cannot understand why someone would ever think to give a child soda at the dinner table. Could any parent possibly believe that Kraft Lunchables are a suitable replacement for a sandwich, an apple, and milk to send to school with their child? Is there not a direct link to the Child Welfare Department when someone purchases Kid’s Cuisine, the frozen dinners for children that have up to 18 grams of fat per meal. What has happened to people’s common sense? Is stupidity one of the symptoms of this obesity epidemic?
All these questions are high in my mind as I try to slowly push The Beast to watch her belly. THE BELLY that I thought would go away with age, but seems instead to remain firmly intact. She patiently explains to her friends that she cannot have soda or cheeze doodles because her mean mother is a “nutritionist.”