If you’ve been online at all today you know that there is a woman in North Dakota who’s planning on handing out letters tomorrow to kids whom she deems too fat for candy. Let me clarify: she’s not handing out letters to all kids, explaining why she thinks Halloween candy is bad. Oh no, if you pass her visual test, you get candy. If you don’t, you get a letter addressed to your parents, telling them to “step up” and not let their kids eat Halloween treats to the same extent as the children she has decided are normal.
I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s just start with the letter itself, which she provided to a local station:
Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!
When I’m gearing up to eviscerate someone’s parenting skills and ruin their child’s holiday, I like to draw them in with a nice cheerful greeting. Well done.
You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? I am disappointed in “the village” of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.
You child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.
“You child is” is hopefully a typo. And really, if you’re going to go down a road as public as this, you should have someone proofread for you.
My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits
I’m sure many people who would never give out a letter like that would still have many things to say about kids, candy, good eating habits, and childhood obesity that involve not eating candy on Halloween. I’m not one of those people, because I’ve been tackling my own son’s addiction to dessert in a way I hope will serve him well for his whole life, not just today: he gets dessert. Every day. Because I don’t want his cravings to control him like they controlled me for so long.
And as you can see from that picture up there, taken this summer, he’s in no way obese. There have been times in his life when we were worried if he weighed too much, but I knew that simply taking away dessert wouldn’t solve the problem.
In fact, there’s evidence that young people who consume candy are actually thinner. And while I’ll take that study with a grain of salt since it was partially funded by candy producers, it makes sense when I think of my own life and weight fluctuations. I’ve lost more than 40 pounds recently, and didn’t give up a single food while doing it – in fact, I eat dessert five mornings a week with my breakfast.
Of course, that study doesn’t address what happens to those children as adults – maybe their candy habits morph them into obese desk-jockeys twenty years later. But Ms. Letter Writer wouldn’t be able to spot those kids with her very subjective test either.
That’s all really a different post, though. And this woman isn’t telling parents to take dessert away, she’s telling them to ration it. She thinks that’s the answer, and she thinks that Halloween is the perfect time to get her message out to those she thinks need it the most.
Childhood obesity isn’t caused by one fun night of begging for candy. If this woman was really intent on making changes in her community, here are just a few things that she could do, just off the top of my head:
- Advocate for farmer’s markets that accept EBT cards. It can be really difficult for poor people to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Volunteer as a coach with a local youth sports team.
- Work with groups that build playgrounds and ball fields.
- Work to improve poverty rates in general, since living in poverty and poverty-stricken areas are tied with high rates of obesity and diabetes.
- Promote good old-fashioned play for all kids, where they just leave the house and find their friends and play, without fear of perverts lurking around every corner, just waiting for a child to walk by.
Ah, but those things take time. Meaningful change always does. It’s so much easier to choose one specific day to pick on a few kids, to give them a quick once-over and decide that you know what’s best.
I agree with only one thing in her letter: it does take a village to raise a child. But if that village is filled with self-righteous people more interested in a quick fix than in actually helping, then the village is in trouble.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.