Thursday, February 26, 2009

Childhood Obesity Can Hinder Career Success

Parents want their kids to be successful in life. And of course this includes success in a chosen career. Many parents will spend huge sums of money on private kindergartens, elementary, and high schools for their children. Some parents will pay for special tutorial programs to help their kids do well on the SAT and other college entrance exams. However, it is now becoming apparent that parents can help their kids succeed in life by also taking action to help their kids maintain a healthy body weight early in life.

A study done in Canada has shown that obese persons in the workplace receive less support from fellow workers. Obese persons are more likely to be absent from work. And when they are at work, obese persons are less productive than their more lean colleagues.

Some believe that obese persons are discriminated against in the work place, including being less likely to be hired, and less likely to be promoted than persons of normal weight. Therefore, the Canadian study and other obesity-related workplace observations should motivate parents to become cognizant of the long-term effects of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity may negatively affect a child's future career.

At least one state, Virginia, has started to focus on childhood obesity. Both of the Virginia legislative branches -- the House and Senate -- have passed bills to change the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. In its present form, the organization’s mission is to focus on anti-smoking. With the name change, the organization would enlarge its mission to fight childhood obesity in addition to smoking.

While Virginia's Governor has not yet signed the bill, Virginia has taken a large step toward fighting obesity. Virginia's action is not the first time a state has taken some action to address obesity. Twenty-seven states have put tariffs on vending machine items such as candy and soda in an attempt to reduce obesity.

Although a government entity can take action to combat obesity, the fight against childhood obesity must begin in the home. Parents have the greatest influence on a child during the child's childhood. And since obesity can be an impediment to future success, parents should be interested in joining the fight against obesity. Bariatric or weight loss centers could work with parents in the community to educate them on the best procedures to use to help children maintain a healthy weight. This collaboration could help the community, and enhance a center’s local reputation.


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