In an April 24 op-ed, Drs. Natalie Muth and Rachel Johnson urged lawmakers to place higher taxes and greater restrictions on sugary drinks as a means to reduce childhood obesity and improve overall child health. This comes as a surprise, as one would assume medical doctors understand the complexity of childhood obesity and the folly of blaming one consumer item.
Childhood obesity can’t be blamed on one thing. Many factors affect a child’s health: sleep, screen time, family habits, etc. Socioeconomic factors and cultural norms also play a role.
What about physical activity? You don’t have to be a doctor to understand exercise is critical to staying at a healthy weight. Yet, kids aren’t getting much of that these days. According to a 2015 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, kids are only exercising 48 minutes a day (pediatricians recommend two hours, minimum) and that the rest of their day was spent napping, eating, and being sedentary.
Perhaps Muth and Johnson should focus on some of the other things that affect a child’s weight instead of recommending higher prices at the grocery store.