It Happened This Week: Helping without Harming – A Message to Michelle Obama

By Marsha Hudnall
0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 0 Flares ×

Body image problems can start at a very young age.

We began and end the week with wise words from Ellyn Satter.  Today, we focus on her message to Michelle Obama to stop talking about childhood obesity.  Ellyn encourages instead a focus on helping parents set up a healthy feeding environment that will support their children’s natural abilities to choose what’s right for their health.  Her feeding dynamics model which I posted about Monday and which you can read more about here will help do that.

A few snippets from a message she sent to Mrs. Obama via http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact:

  • “Research shows that children who are labeled overweight or obese feel flawed in every way–not smart, not physically capable and not worthy. Parents who fear obesity hesitate to gratify their child’s hunger for fear s/he will get fat. Such labeling is not only counterproductive, it is unnecessary.”
  • “Provide, don’t deprive.”
  • “Optimize feeding and parenting, and let children be children.”

If you don’t understand the specifics of what Ellyn is recommending, read her newsletter discussing all this.

Ellyn also encourages us all to mount an email blizzard to Mrs. Obama at the same url and gives these tips for making our voices heard:

  • Call it a policy/other and put To: Michelle Obama and Re: Child Obesity; Help Without Harming in the message box and post your message.
  • Keep it short—somewhere on the order of 250 to 400 words. (Actually, 2500 characters—about 400 words—is the maximum the site will accept.) Your short, heart-felt message will have an  impact.
  • Start off with a sentence that summarizes your message, then develop it.
  • Address one aspect of the topic. Each of us will choose different aspects and together, we will cover what is important.
  • Send this newsletter to your fellow travelers (that is, other proponents of the feeding dynamics model), and encourage them to post their message.

Will you join Ellyn in ecouraging Mrs. Obama to help our children without harming them? I did.

5 Responses (Add Yours)

  • I agree about changing the way we encourage children to return to a state of natural weight and health. Kids remember every statement said about this stuff, it will follow them for the rest of their lives! It’s time we change our tactics and actually get somewhere!
    .-= Sarah Ikegami’s last blog post..oops & a bonus! =-.

  • Kerry says:

    The labeling theory backs this up well – by labeling kids obese, they will identify themselves that way, and become obese adults. I agree that kids need the proper feeding environment, and there are many challenges which we need to overcome to make that happen.
    .-= Kerry’s last blog post..Sweet and Sour Lentils =-.

  • love2eatinpa says:

    way to go ellyn! and thanks to you for not letting this just drop.

    kids are brutal to each other and the meanness and cattiness (did i spell those right?) start younger and younger.

    i knew from an early age from my father’s “teasing” that i had a big rear end and let me assure you that that stuck with me for a LONG time.
    .-= love2eatinpa’s last blog post..Exercising and Dessert Buffets =-.

  • Cindy says:

    I also agree that just focusing on the fact that kids are obese sends a negative message instead of offering help for the family environment. It also isn’t helpful to make the parents the villans. They need to be educated as much as anyone else with realistic, affordable and time-saving tips that work.
    .-= Cindy’s last blog post..Grace Notes =-.

  • Marsha says:

    So glad you’re all on board with this. It is such an important message and let’s hope it gets through to Mrs. Obama. I just returned from the Binge Eating Disorders Association conference where this was a big topic, too, so know more people will be writing her.

Leave a Reply

Ask a Question
×

Ask Us Anything!