Critique of Greg Crister's "Too much of a Good Thing"
Greg Crister, the author of the op-ed essay that was featured in the Los Angeles Times, "Too Much of a Good Thing," argues that in order to stop obesity, we should stigmatize overeating. Crister states that we should place shame on overeating due to the rising obesity epidemic that faces the world today. The U.N. proclaims that "obesity is a dominant unmet global health issue, with Westernized countries topping the list." Crister states that twenty five percent of all Americans under the age of nineteen are either obese or overweight. Children are becoming more obese, and more out of hand with their weight, and something needs to be done to try and solve the obesity epidemic. In our society, stigmatization of overeating may have positive results; however, by itself, it will not solve the worldwide childhood obesity epidemic.
In Crister's essay, he states that in order to solve the problem of childhood obesity, we must stigmatize the unhealthy behaviors that cause obesity. Crister says that this epidemic should be treated swiftly because of the expensive medical costs to treat people with obesity related illnesses such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and crippling bone conditions. Crister states that these stigmatizing tactics have worked in the past, with situations such as smoking and unprotected sex, and that these tactics can also work with the obesity epidemic. Crister writes that children respond positively to dietary advice, and that we should implement dietary restraint to prevent children from overeating. He states that this would be very effective, as there are studies that indicate that children do not know when they are full.
Crister mentions that in the past, the early medical injunction was to "never put a kid on a diet." The concern was that children would become under-nourished, which would lead to stunted growth. Research has been conducted in four randomized experiments that children who were on a supervised low-saturated-fat and low-cholesterol diet showed no significant negative influence in their growth during the first three years of their life. This implies that children can be placed on a diet, without stunting growth. Crister also writes that parents are the leaders of the "much strained" American families; however, he clearly emphasizes that he does not want to blame parents for childhood obesity. He states that it is not necessarily the parents fault for the lack of dietary restriction, but that parents are convinced of the generalization that confronting children about unhealthy eating will only create tension and therefore increase the likelihood of disastrous eating behaviors.
The purpose of Crister's essay is to stigmatize the activity of overeating, but not to stigmatize the person or people. Crister, in turn, blames the media for a large part of the country's obesity problem. Crister states that "today's bounty of cheap...