Tag Archives: water

California Gov. Health Organization “Photoshops” Kids Picture to Fight Childhood Obesity


Good job California.  So you passed Proposition 10 to collect a fifty-cent tax on every pack of cigarettes.  You’ve used that money to create First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission which is:

dedicated to improving the lives of California’s young children and their families through a comprehensive system of education, health services, childcare, and other crucial programs.

And the commission you created with this money, chooses to use those resources to drastically retouch a picture of a little girl to make her look fat for an ad campaign designed to scare parents into limiting the amount of sugar they feed their kids.


Here’s the original photo, next to the retouched version:

First of all, whatever amount of state tax money that was used to do that image retouching is waaaay too much.  I could get far better design work than that done on fiverr.com for $5 USD.

Next, I have to ask, why would we spend any amount of state tax money on shaming fat parents and fat kids in the face of the fact it just doesn’t work?  In fact  study after study shows that stigmatizing and bullying kids about their weight not only fails to create thinner kids, but also tends to trigger more participation in unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drinking, substance abuse, binge eating and other forms of disordered eating.

So why exactly are we spending state tax money to create ads aimed at preventing childhood obesity that are actually more likely to increase levels of childhood obesity while at the same time encouraging our kids to engage in higher levels of destructive behavior?

I’m sure that some of the fear-mongering, hand-wringing, head-shaking folks that created this glorious ad campaign will ask you to “think about the children”.   They will cite statistics about childhood obesity and suggest that something must be done to protect the health of these poor kids.

To which I would reply, “Yes.  All kids deserve to be healthy.  So let’s focus on stuff that does that.”  Shaming kids does not make them thinner or healthier.  But there are some things we can do.  In fact, in honor of First 5, I’ll give you five suggestions:

1.  How about making sure kids have a safe place to play?

2.  How about reinstating some of the physical education programs that have been cut from schools for lack of budget?

3.  How about making sure that kids of all sizes have access to a variety of high-quality, nutritionally dense foods?

4.  How about we help fat kids learn to accept and love themselves so that they are more likely to exercise and treat themselves well?

5.  How about we add “body size” as a category for school anti-bullying programs.

Sure, these programs would be more difficult than cranking out a basic bus shelter advertisement.  And undoubtedly some of these programs would cost more than hiring the world’s worst graphic designer to “fatten up” the image of an innocent kid.  But given the fact that some of these programs might, I don’t know, help some kids live healthier lives, maybe we should just fund those instead.

As a final note, the folks at First  5 may find themselves facing some pretty well-organized and powerful opposition.  It’s already started in the form of an awesome homemade protest flyer at the site of one of the bus shelters:

Blog2But as some folks in Georgia found out, folks can get pretty riled up and do some pretty amazing things when you shame and frighten their children.

So maybe we should take a step back and a deep breath and try again.  I’m sure, upon some calm reflection, we can find better ways to promote good health for children of all sizes.


The Fat Chick


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Hooray for Hydration: Pour Yourself a Tall One

Glass Of Water

Here in the U.S. many of us have a drinking problem. I’m not talking about alcohol here. I’m talking about simply not drinking enough water. Sure, there’s a lot of fancy stuff we can do for our health. We can drink sports drinks and down vitamin shots and so forth. But often, the thing that will make us feel better is as close as the nearest tap and virtually free.

There’s not really any excuse. But I’ll admit that I often get busy and tied up with the everyday drama of my life and I forget to drink water. Then comes around 3 PM and I’m sporting a major headache or feeling lethargic. I’m tempted to pop a few aspirins. But maybe all I really need is the glass of water.

Nearly every function in our bodies involves water:

  • in saliva and stomach secretions it helps to digest food
  • in blood, it helps transport nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body
  • in body fluids, it helps lubricate joints and cushions organs and tissues · in urine, it carries waste products out of the body
  • in sweat, it removes body heat generated during exercise

(from Physician and Sports Medicine, Nancy Clark MS, RD – May 1995).

In terms of athletic performance, few things are more important than being properly hydrated. The amount of water needed varies from person to person. People have different “sweat rates” and therefore have different requirements for replacing water after a workout. But the effects of dehydration on your workout can be pretty traumatic. I know when I did the marathon, I almost derailed the whole thing because I was hoarding my water and not drinking enough. I was afraid they would take down the drink stations and wouldn’t have enough for later. Mary Ann, my awesome training partner, ultimately helped me find a bar, where I stopped in to fill my Camelbak again. (And the two of us popping into a bar along the railroad tracks, mid-marathon, on a cloudy Saturday in November in Springfield, Missouri were a sight to see.) Sure it took a few minutes to do that, but at least it allowed me to finish without the massive headache that had been hampering my progress.

Wondering if you’re drinking enough water?  Well my dear, the easiest way to tell is to check your pee.  Pale yellow or mostly clear means you’re doing great.  Dark yellow means it’s time to get some good old H2O into your system.  Most people need 6-8 glasses of water per day.  You may need significantly more if you drink caffeine or alcohol, live in a hot climate, or sweat a lot during exercise.

Look, of all the super fancy fitness performance advice I can give you, this is some of the most important.  Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout sessions.  You’ll feel great and you’ll have plenty of fluid left for blood, sweat and tears.


The Fat Chick