Thursday, September 14, 2006

"where do the children play..."

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine issued a report on the challenge of childhood obesity. At the risk of making this blog any more self confessional, navel gazing, soul searching, tire ironing, I use to be a fatty, ok screw that I'm still fat according to my BMI numbers, but who isn't?

One of points is that we no longer have safe places for children to play. Looking back I realize that there was a huge transformation in the way our landscape was shaped that children are ironically prisoners in their own homes. When I was young, our neighborhood was much smaller and we could ride our bikes to each others houses, the streets were much calmer, and we could own the street. Now I know the NFL doesn't have a "Car" rule, but we had one, any play interrupted by the sudden appearance of Mr. Smith's Chrysler was a do over. Kids don't do that anymore. Our parks are too far to get to if you are young. Our environments are not changing so much in kind but in scale. Later our family "moved up" to the suburbs, and we were far from everything, I spent most of my time waiting for a ride.

Now back to my fatty years, I ballooned when I went to of all places Los Angeles (Go Figure) for a summer to be with my cousins so I could learn Chinese. I went from an active childhood to a sedentary one, and as a consequence became obese in the period of a summer. The causality of it seems laughably obvious. Now everyone lives the L.A. suburban lifestyle, and obesity is a problem for everyone. Unless you live in cities.

The wrong question isn't "why are our kids so fat?" but "Where do the children play..."


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