1 Read the article Denial By Parents, Kids Contributes to Childhood Obesity ). Write a 2 paragraph (4 sentences each) summary of the article. What 2 facts did you find most enlightening and why (3 sentences each)
2. Watch the video Science of Sleep part I Click here and the Science of Sleep part 2 Click here and the Science of Sleep part 3 Click here Type a 2 paragraph (4 sentences each) summary of each video. What was of interest to you in each video and why was it of interest (4 sentences each).
The links to the video for part 2 is:
Denial By Parents, Kids Contributes to Childhood Obesity
Americans often use euphemisms when talking about their extra weight—including “big boned” and “plus sized” — in an effort to avoid the “f-word.” Obese comedian Gabriel Iglesias, for example, has made a career out of tongue-in-cheek weight denial, using the stage name “Fluffy” and naming his popular show “I’m Not Fat, I’m Fluffy.”
Social hypocrisy is always good fodder for comedy, but in the real world fat denial is no laughing matter. Though you might think that being overweight would be painfully obvious to a person looking in the mirror, the surprising fact is that many people don’t recognize how heavy they really are. This is a serious medical problem because if people don’t recognize that they’re overweight or obese, they won’t take steps to lose weight and become healthier.
Though the common perception is that most people are constantly struggling to lose weight, polls find that about two-thirds of Americans think their weight is “about right,” which is ironically the same percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese. One Gallup study found that people’s ideal weight actually increases along with their actual weight, so for example when a person weighed 215 pounds his ideal weight was 200, but a few years later when he weighed 230 pounds his ideal was now 215. The report referred to this paradox as “weight denial”: Most of us know we should lose some weight but at the end of the day we figure we’re fine as we are.
As adults we can make health choices for ourselves but when children are involved it’s a much thornier issue. Parents are responsible for the health of their children and have great influence over their child’s diet and exercise routines. Parents are often blind to weight gain in their children, a factor the “New York Times” noted is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic: “One reason parents may have difficulty perceiving their child’s weight is because of the ‘new normal’: Throughout the developed world and even in some developing countries, children are generally becoming heavier… And when parents believe their children are active, they are more likely to consider their child’s weight to be normal, studies have shown. But parents often overestimate their children’s physical activity.”
Some parents may avoid acknowledging that their child is overweight for fear of triggering an eating disorder. This concern arose in 2011 when a book titled “Maggie Goes On a Diet” was published, about an overweight teen who loses weight to get healthier and play a sport she loves. A social media firestorm erupted, with many critics deeming the book dangerous, apparently assuming that that the word “diet” in the title referred to unhealthy calorie restriction. However in the book Maggie loses weight in the way that doctors have recommended for decades: not eating less but instead making healthier food choices and getting more exercise.
A study published earlier this year in the journal “Child Obesity” asked American parents whether they considered their child, ages 2-5 years, to be overweight, underweight, or just about the right weight. The researchers found that across two surveys about 95 percent of parents perceived their overweight child as just about the right weight, and for obese children — whose condition would presumably be even more obvious — “as high as 78.4% of parents perceived their obese child as just about the right weight.”
And it’s not just parents in denial: A 2010 study published in “Pediatrics” found that nearly 30 percent of overweight adolescents don’t consider themselves overweight. The researchers also addressed the question of whether telling an overweight teenager that he or she is overweight is harmful; “the findings that accurate perceivers [those who correctly identified their weight status] did not have significantly higher levels of unhealthy weight-related behaviors… provide some support that increased recognition may not be harmful.” In other words, parents and doctors shouldn’t avoid encouraging an overweight teenager to lose weight for fear that he or she will end up with an eating disorder.
You can’t address a problem that you don’t recognize that exists, and Americans are not doing themselves — or their health — any favors by pretending that they or their children are thinner than they are.