This week, news surfaced that the a 200 lb 8 year old was removed from his family home. It has sparked discussion all over the blogsphere, Twitterverse, FB land and social mediaville over whether it is the government’s place to remove children who are too fat.
A huge cause of the problem, many people commenting on this story have said, is that it is quite expensive to be healthy. Organic foods and fruits and vegetables cost a lot more than traditional conventional version of foods.
Also, in some very low income neighborhoods like the one the 200lb kid was removed from, grocery stores and supermarkets don’t build there or stay there. The stores often site heavy inventory loss from theft for reasons to close up shop and leave. These communities are left with small mom and pop corner stores that only sell packaged, processed and low quality foods and junk food.
There are nationwide efforts to encourage more stores to return to these neighborhoods and with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, championing childhood obesity as her cause, more communities and volunteers are creating community gardens in these neighborhoods.
In some instances, members of the community can come and pick what they grow for free, eliminating the concern of being able to afford healthy fruits and vegetables to feed their families. Of course, education is the other issue and teaching parents how and what to feed their children to avoid childhood obesity. In many of the homes with obese children, the parents themselves have weight problems and are eating the wrong high fatty, high cholesterol unhealthy foods. Culture and traditional foods can also be an issue. In some cultures, the foods associated with them are fatty, greasy and unhealthy so parents need to learn how to prepare low fat and healthier versions.
The challenges are plenty, but the American Community Gardening Association has at least one solution. It has a tool on its website that lets you plug in your zipcode to find where a community garden is near you and how to access it.
Also, it has a page on its site with steps to teach any community how to start a garden on its own.
These efforts combined with concerted plans by state and local development boards and commissions to get more supermarkets to return to low income areas will perhaps ease situations like the one in Cleveland.