How to reduce obesity in children

June 2nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Paul Walker blogs another example of unintended consequences:

Results suggest that [child care] subsidy receipt is associated with increases in BMI and a greater likelihood of being overweight and obese.

I await the Action Coalition to call for reduced child care subsidies to fight !

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37 Responses to “How to reduce obesity in children”

  1. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Make the podgy little bastards run and turn off the TV. Its not rocket surgery.

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  2. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    More like the “law of hand-wringing moralisers corrupting statistics to support their arguments”.

    Unless you’re also prepared to believe that being racially taunted makes you fat!

    I wonder how much money these academics get paid to write this nonsense? Here’s an alternative thesis they can have for the price of a Double Whopper with Cheese: People in receipt of government subsidies and those of non-white ethnicity are statistically more likely to be poor, and thus to be forced to eat non-nutritious but filling foods. Thus more of them become obese.

    It never ceases to amaze me that this sort of “research” is usually picked up by the left, who then proceed to make a huge noise about what a nasty bunch of racists we must all be… thus entirely obfuscating the point that many of these people – whom they claim to represent – don’t need counselling, they need a decent income and maybe some practical diet advice. But that wouldn’t keep the resentment industry going, now would it?

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  3. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Careful Murray – demerits on the horizon for that.

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  4. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Fuck off asshole.

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  5. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    muzza, how sweet of you. I missed you while I was on hols. But whenever i missed you too much and wanted to hear from an arsehole, I farted.

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  6. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Why not go plot the deportation of some Jews there adolf.

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  7. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    jews? where Murray? I don’t see no Jews. But you, on the other hand, seem morbidly fascinated by their presence. Do they haunt you in the night?

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  8. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    I’m not the one who called for their mass deporation.

    You did.

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  9. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    People in receipt of government subsidies and those of non-white ethnicity are statistically more likely to be poor, and thus to be forced to eat non-nutritious but filling foods. Thus more of them become obese.

    I hope I’m reading you wrong Rex, because that is nonsense! When I stopped buying my lunch every day and dinner every night (usually from such fine dining establishments as KFC and the golden arches, not to mention various Pizza establishments) and switched to making my lunch and dinner from healthy ingredients I saved a shit load of money!

    These people are not forced to eat unhealthy food, they are too bloody lazy to make a healthy alternative!

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  10. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,833 comments) says:

    You’ve got it in one, Bevan. When I grew up there were no fat kids at school but all their parents were poor.

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  11. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    An interesting theory.

    However my GF’s preschool daughter is in barnados care on weekdays (some subsidy assistance) yet is tall and skinny for her age.

    IMHO credit for this goes to her carer’s common sense in not providing a “freedom” school tuck shop lunch of greasy fatty shit. Not to complex political theories about subsidies/socialism/etc etc. :-P

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  12. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Banning fatty food is not the answer either Ratbiter, why should I or any other responsible person be barred from treating ourselves now and then just because some unfit parent cant be bothered cooking a healthy meal. I mean it aint rocket science to figure out that eating KFC or fish and chips every night is gonna give you a fat arse.

    Hows this for an idea, let people who smoke excessively and eat fatty foods every day of the week continue, its a free world and we live in a free society – but bar them from using taxpayer funded health services, make them either go private or get health insurance. Why should we pay for their health bill if they are going to do their best to ruin their health?

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  13. TimG_Oz (924 comments) says:

    My little dynamo goes to creche and comes home hungry. Not because they don’t feed her (they feed her a very healthy diet of fresh fruit and vege), but because she is SO much more active there, playing with all her little buddies than what she would be at home.

    Add to that, the fact that she has developed socially phenomenally well.

    I was actually against the idea of childcare, but changed my position once I saw what she got from it. My Mum, who was very big in early childhood in NZ (before she retired), is also glowing in her praise of the center we use.

    BTW – Childcare subsidies in Aus were introduced by the Howard Government, and increased as part of the ALP’s election promises.

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “let people who smoke excessively and eat fatty foods every day of the week continue, its a free world and we live in a free society – but bar them from using taxpayer funded health services”

    Yeah, but apparently we’ll need to put a video camera in every room of every house to enforce it, otherwise how are you going to know who’s eating what or who is smoking and who is not??

    What an unbelievably idiotic suggestion.

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  15. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Yeah, but apparently we’ll need to put a video camera in every room of every house to enforce it, otherwise how are you going to know who’s eating what or who is smoking and who is not??

    Gee, I find it easy to figure out which lard arse eats the wrong food and doesnt exercise enough – they are normally walking around with half their gut hanging out of their t-shirt and doing to two cheek jiggle as they walk. If you cant tell the difference between an obese and a healthy person, may I suggest you get your eyes checked, and please do so before you next get behing the wheel of a car.

    As for the smoking, gee lets see, smell, skin, tar stains on fingers, seriously reduced lung capacity. And thats just thinking back to when I used to smoke. Doctors arnt dumb dude.

    Shit red, you approve of funding smokers and obese peoples health service? How socialist of you.

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  16. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    OK, I get it now. More simply put, it is that smokers and fat people should be denied taxpayer funded health care on the decision of doctors.

    Fine, but lets also allow them to opt out of paying tax for those services, and ensure that no tax collected from cigarettes or “fatty” foods goes towards the healthcare system. Fair is fair right?

    Hell that’s all gonna work so well.

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  17. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Fine, but lets also allow them to opt out of paying tax for those services, and ensure that no tax collected from cigarettes or “fatty” foods goes towards the healthcare system. Fair is fair right?

    Fuck fair. Their taxes from cigarettes and income still got to fund the health effects from second hand smoke.

    Hell that’s all gonna work so well.

    Better than your suggestion so far which has been ………….. fuck all.

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  18. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Better than your suggestion so far which has been ………….. fuck all.”

    You’re such a dumbarse. I advocate for a privatised health care system on here frequently. Your solution is just an unworkable joke.

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  19. Sector 7g (237 comments) says:

    Anyone ever thought of reducing tax from healthy food?

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  20. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    You’re such a dumbarse. I advocate for a privatised health care system on here frequently. Your solution is just an unworkable joke.

    And yours are un-votable. Who’s the biggest dumbarse, someone who tries to look for a way to make a system better? Or someone neck deep in fantasy land dreaming of something that is extremely unlikely to happen? No major political party could advocate for purely privatised health care and hope to win the election. The best we could hope for is to make the cost of private health insurance costs tax deductable. Try living in reality instead of day dreaming.

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  21. village idiot (748 comments) says:

    More obsession with obesity on Kiwiblog!! It’s becoming the flagship topic. Fatties, here be safe haven!

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  22. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Bevan suggests:

    These people are not forced to eat unhealthy food, they are too bloody lazy to make a healthy alternative!

    Often but not always, Bevan. Compare the cost of 2 minute noodles, rice, pasta, cheap white bread, potatoes and other filling but empty carbohydrates with that of fresh fruit and vegetables. Let alone cheese, yoghurt or meat.

    If you’ve got a couple of adults and a couple of teenagers all wanting to be filled up, and you’re on minimum wage or a benefit, you might well want to make them a healthy lunch but you’re going to find yourself padding everyone’s diet with carbohydrates to make them feel full on less. I know because I’ve had to do it.

    If, on the other hand, they’re feeding themselves from KFC then they don’t, IMO, deserve to cry poor at all.

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  23. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Want skinny kids. Make the little buggers work, play sport. It also helps living 40k’s from any takeaway joints.

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  24. Paul Walker (50 comments) says:

    “I wonder how much money these academics get paid to write this nonsense?”

    So Rex, what EXACTLY is wrong with their paper? PRECISELY what errors have they made in their theory and their empirical work? Is their estimation technique wrong? If so how can they improve it? What technique should they be using? There is problems with the way they have handled their data? What errors are there in their modeling of the problem? How would you improve on the model used?

    Do you have a copy of your definitive rebuttal of their paper available yet? I’m sure many people, including the paper’s authors, would like to read it as soon as you have completed it.

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  25. Steve (4,522 comments) says:

    Play sport? Oh no mummy I just want my real games on the computer.
    Btw get me a pie and MD and KFC on your way home from work, coz we are starving.
    I need something to eat tomorrow OK.
    Don’t forget the coke

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  26. Ed Snack (1,798 comments) says:

    Ratbiter and Tim-G, you don’t realistically expect to make a rational criticism by quoting a single instance anecdote do you, seriously ? This is a statistical result, possibly true in general but not falsifiable by individual examples. It makes some sense to me, busy parents maybe have less time to be active with their children maybe, not that I expect that to be the reason, but possibly a reason. I think it is an interesting finding and one well worth extra research. If there’s a real cause, let’s see what it is. Science works best that way; without preconceived political notions of what SHOULD be the right answer. sadly often honoured more in the breach than the observance. Well spotted Paul.

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  27. TimG_Oz (924 comments) says:

    Ed – I gave an observation of the system, which is backed up not only by me, but by a lot of parents, and by my Mum who is an early childhood education expert in NZ.

    Kids are more active at Childcare than at home. This is a fact.

    In Australia (at least) – the childcare subsidy is not means tested, so it is available to all. It appears that in NZ, this is not the case, so does the sample present any other skewed information. My family would certainly not have access to it if it were means tested.

    However this study presents conclusions, but in the abstract does not present any supporting reasons or hypothesis as to why. You would think a summary would at least make the abstract.

    So then, could there be other reasons – e.g. socio-econmic, patterns in the subject base or what?

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  28. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    Well Paul I’m not in a nice tenured professorship, I’m chasing dollars in the real world. If you want to find the funding, I’d be happy to provide the detailed debunking you request. As it is, even a cursory analysis requires that I pay out to access the details of their study.

    I’d start with the fact that BMI itself is not an especially accurate measure of obesity because it cannot distinguish between fat, muscle, organ and water. Even those who support it as a measure for adults debate its value in children, which were the subjects of this study.

    I might also suggest they’ve fallen into a post hoc logical fallacy given the probability that other factors – particularly, as I’ve noted above, the connection between poverty and poor diet – would be virtually impossible to negate as causative unless they undertook to provide all the subjects with a similar income and access to healthy produce (since unhealthy produce seems freely available, as Bevan has pointed out).

    The fact that supposedly legitimate researchers have produced a report should be indicative of the accuracy of it’s conclusions but alas it’s not – refer to the WSJ’s debunking of the Boston University study linking obesity and racism (I’ve linked to it above). The WSJ’s conclusion is that the study “offers no support whatever for this statement”.

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  29. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    Rex – I am sorry but even on a budget you can feed your family cheaply. Last year we had a lean couple of months and I still managed to feed us on less than $50 a week (2 adults and 2 kids). All of us went to school/work with cut lunches every day and we managed to get by without stuffing ourselves with nothing but potatoes. Admittedly we grow a lot of veges but that just goes to show that we used resources we had – some dirt and time – to supplement our grocery buy. You just have to plan, rather than stand in front of a cupboard thinking “what am I going to make for dinner tonight”.

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  30. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    I remember at Primary School there was perhaps one fat kid per class.

    The rest were ever so lean. Same a secondary school through puberty.

    They copped a lot of abuse for being tubby.

    But in our nearest town, I regulary see kids eating pies or ice cream on the way into school.

    Funny breakfast that. Exercise is the key element. It’s free and healthy.

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  31. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Simple, you can fix child obesity, a large portion of out social problems and our appalling productivity rate by returning to the good old fashioned Kiwi two day weekend.

    We work some of the longest hours in the western world yet our productivity rate is pathetic, give the real two day weekend back to parents and they will have time to take their kids to sport and spend time with them participating in recreational activities.

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  32. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Glut

    I really do not think it is so much about the diet, when we were kids we ate butter, white bread, full fat milk, our roasts were cooked in beef dripping and the fish and chips we had once a week were also cooked in beef dripping.

    Obesity is more to do with a lack of activity rather than a poor diet.

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  33. nickle (29 comments) says:

    In this country a lot of childcare centres receive subsidies of some kind – it’s whether you qualify for the extra (income tested) subsidies that you need to apply for that make the difference. I saw one family leave daycare with a car full of kids, and none restrained, let alone in an approved car seat – I’m sure they get all the subsidies going. I think they get extra if they keep their kids noses running down their faces all day long too.

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  34. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    If it weren’t for Sue Bradford we could just smack the fat right off them! :D

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  35. bharmer (686 comments) says:

    Rex Widerstrom (1949) Vote: Add rating 3 Subtract rating2 Says:
    June 2nd, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    “Well Paul I’m not in a nice tenured professorship, I’m chasing dollars in the real world. If you want to find the funding, I’d be happy to provide the detailed debunking you request. As it is, even a cursory analysis requires that I pay out to access the details of their study.”

    Rex I don’t think Paul is a tenured professor either (and for the record, nor am I). However, his point is perfectly valid. If you are going to disagree with peer reviewed research, you should at least offer some evidence of the basis on which you do so.

    A very cursory analysis of the study reveals that the full paper is available to you as a pdf file. It describes its data sources and methodology. I am no economist so I don’t understand it well enough to argue. So what is your position based on?

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  36. Sam (498 comments) says:

    So much nonsense being spouted when obviously so few bothered to follow the link to the report. This is US research, which is concerned with a completely different situation then here. Over there the subsidies are free to be used at any centre, rather than the heavily legislated system that is operated in NZ. The actual findings from the report suggest that it is the kids attending the lower quality centres that are the most at risk – I’m assuming there is no operative nutrition/exercise, or probably even curriculum regimes active in such centres – which is probably a warning for what might occur if deregulation were to occur here…

    Of course, in an open market, parents could choose to put their children into better childcare – but this is of course more costly (and no doubt beyond the range of the subsidies) – OAC would no doubt therefore use the report to call for higher subsidies and/or tighter regulation to avoid US experience.

    If I were DPF I’d avoid superficial analysis designed for provocative effect unless I had read the paper (rather than just the abstract)…

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    bharmer:

    Didn’t mean Paul, I meant the authors. The pdf is available for purchase. Admittedly only $5 (US, presumably) but times are tough and I’m looking to make enough to cover the rent. If I had ~$10 to spare on dubious literature, I’d head to the comic shop.

    I’ve offered my reasons for doubting the validity of the study – and at least one of those reasons (BMI as a valid index of obesity in children) is well-supported. And that’s without delving further into the thing.

    Brian Smaller:

    $50 for 4… I managed on $100 for 7 (4 adults/teenagers and 2 children) but that was back in the 90s when things were a little cheaper so I’d guess we employed pretty much the same strategies. And when I had the land to do it, I grew vegetables (still manage lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, peas and herbs on a small balcony). I enjoy cooking so rarely are meals unplanned, even if I’m the only consumer.

    But poverty does limit what you can do. Rice, pasta, potatoes and bread aren’t unhealthy in the sense of the takeaways mentioned by Bevan, but even recently, with the fall-off in demand for what I do worse than in many areas of the economy, I find I’m eating more of these (and things like cup-a-soups, a reasonable lunch at 50c a sachet) and less of the healthier alternatives. It’s not by choice, but rent and electricity beats food as a priority every time.

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