Aug 21, 2019
by Diane McCurdy, Film and Book Reviews
As Americans we seem to be obsessed with weight. In any bookstore there will be myriad weight loss editions, the Keto diet is now the trend, ironically stacked alongside of chocolatey, buttery, spaghetti--filled, calorie cluttered cookbooks. Through the ages the ideal body type has varied. Venus de Milo and practically all the poses of the French impressionists are voluptuous according to today's standards and the painter Peter Paul Reubens' ample models have given us the adjective Reubenesque. Ancient Greek philosopher, Plutarch, noted that thin people tended to be healthier and indeed the statistics of obesity contributing to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other ailments are facts. When our primitive ancestors realized that anything sweet was not poisonous, the "sweet tooth" was born and the sugar lobby in Congress continues to support that proclivity. As ethnic and racial groups mix and mingle into a polyglot mainstream the first thing that is left behind is language. The last thing to be given up is eating preferences because that is the first thing we learn even before language. That is why it is so important to establish healthy nutritional choices at a very early age.
Dr. Edward Abramson's book It's Not Just Baby Fat! is a gentle directive with specific guidelines for steering kids in the right direction. Abramson was a fat kid so he knows the bullying and the cruelty that some overweight people must endure. Society has attached certain negative stereotypes to heavy set people in that they are weak-willed, lazy, unattractive. He cites studies that indicate obesity is established before age eleven. In his book Dr. Abramson references ten steps to help your child find a healthy weight. All his proposals have a caveat not to push, but to prompt and encourage. Try eating together as a family. Don't diet but provide healthy choices. Create a healthy eating environment and eat mindfully. Avoid the clean plate syndrome. Consider portion control and purchase smaller packages of snacks. Don't use food as a reward. Be aware that sleep deprivation can add pounds. In an era of cell phones and video games, promote physical activity. Above all, maintain a positive body image.
Written in layman's language, each section ends with a practical guide of suggestions. Dr. Abramson admits that we live in a fattening era. He has written other books and studies on dysfunctional eating. Weight and shape are not just a matter of will but a complex amalgamation of genes, environment and attitude. Michelle Obama's initiative Let's Move which addresses childhood obesity seems to have been discarded by this administration but there are some things that individuals can do legislatively and, in their community, to foster better eating habits but the place to start is in the home. Dr. Abramson, of the East Bay and Bodega Bay, has two normal body weight children but he does admit that his cat is chubby
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