A Weighty Kids' Issue


"How To Win the Weight Battle" [September 10] is doomed to failure when schools focus attention on screening and educating kids according to body weight.

Florida and Pennsylvania have now made it acceptable to be unkind to the fat kid. I speak from the experience of a woman in her 50s who has battled weight issues since childhood. The elementary and junior high schools I attended weighed the students on a regular basis. Since I never knew what days this might happen, and the resulting shame would be more than I could face, I would fake sick days. The result was that I missed a lot of school, felt ashamed and made fun of, and all I learned was to go home and comfort my pain and rejection with ice cream. Doctors gave me diets and diet pills at age 12. Based on my experience, I can tell you what will help overweight children and not hurt them: movement and exercise, along with education, healthy eating, portion control, and the understanding that food is not an emotional friend.

Carole Osselaer

Oceanside, Calif.  

I loved that your article focused on the positive approach to weight loss. My husband and I are opening a youth fitness center. Our center's mission is to build children's confidence. Then while they are having fun they will get more active, start to feel healthier, and before they know it, they are losing weight. Our center is for all sizes and fitness abilities. We believe that living a healthy lifestyle is not only about being physically able to do all the things you want to do but feeling the confidence to do all that you want to do.

Kelley Layton

Ringwood, Ill.  

The surge in obesity among our children is a national public health crisis. But teens opting for liposuction is not part of the solution. No matter how much fat is removed by liposuction, the fat will come back if the patient overeats. Liposuction is helpful and effective in changing body proportion in adults and teenagers who are at normal or near-normal weight. The statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons that show the increase in the number of teenagers having liposuction parallels an overall increase in all cosmetic plastic surgery procedures among all age groups.

Roxanne Guy, M.D.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Melbourne, Fla.  

As a longtime physical education and wellness teacher, I have witnessed the rise of children's weight and the marked decline of their physical activity levels. Texas has passed laws that require daily physical activity for all elementary students. In addition, foods of little or no nutritional value are not allowed in elementary schools during the school day. The Coordinated Approach to Child Health program mentioned in the article has been a great tool for schools to teach the importance of healthful eating and physical activity. A coordinated approach to the childhood obesity epidemic is urgently needed to save the next generation.

Benjamin Avalos

El Paso, Texas