Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

A Weighty Problem: Childhood Obesity — Causes and Cures

Azriela Jaffe

Childhood obesity is on the rise. And we know how damaging excess weight is for our health. What are the possible health issues facing overweight children? What can we do to prevent the problem from occurring and to deal with it once it arises? Family First speaks to a plethora of professional about this critical topic.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sarah* is 100 pounds overweight, and her husband tips the scales at 200 pounds overweight. Not surprisingly, both of her teenaged children are also obese.

Both Sarah and her husband are considering gastric bypass surgery, as all efforts to lose weight have failed. Sarah hones in on the challenge of all overweight parents of heavy kids: “It’s hard to lead overweight children in a healthier direction when you’re suffering yourself. What I really wish for is a magic genie to wave a wand over all of us so we could lose weight. I wish we could summon the appropriate willpower and remain focused on the goal. It’s frustrating to know how long the journey we have is.”

Sarah does not shirk responsibility for her family’s discouraging situation. “Certainly there is a genetic component to all of us being heavy, but ultimately, if you don’t put the food in your mouth, you aren’t going to be fat,” she says. “My son has a friend who is one of four. What his mom makes for the six of them is a lot less than what we prepare for the four of us. We are always hungry. I spent ten years of my adult life close to a healthy size. To balloon to this weight, I made choices that got me here. My husband and I are hesitant to do gastric bypass, (although our doctors are strongly advising it because of our health issues), because we don’t want our children to presume that surgery is the only answer.”

Unfortunately, Sarah is in good company. Millions of Americans seem destined for a lifetime of obesity unless they make major lifestyle changes. Obesity has risen to be the number one health concern in America and the world, even topping smoking. The number of obese children and adults has almost doubled in the last three decades. What must we do to avoid obesity? How can we maintain healthy eating habits and pass them on to the next generation? 


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you