What is the real solution to child obesity and bullying?

From the Washington Examiner.


Call it the Nanny State run amok. By hosting an all-day White House conference on adolescent bullying last week, President Obama elevated a schoolyard issue to the level of public enemy No. 1, perhaps on a par with the first lady’s labors on behalf of childhood obesity.Typical of all federal “preventions” that mobilize the Departments of Education or Health and Human Services on behalf of some perceived crisis, none of the players of the conference had the guts to yank at the underlying root of the bullying culture: family breakdown.

[…]In a national study of nearly 2,500 Norwegian boys and girls ages 12 to 15 published in the November issue of European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers found a substantial statistical correlation between both victims and aggressors of bullying and parental divorce.

Given that both victims and aggressors of bullying, relative to their noninvolved peers, were also found to experience more psychological problems, the parental-divorce link should not be surprising.

The distress of parental breakup, the Norwegian researchers claim, leaves adolescents emotionally vulnerable and therefore easy targets for bullies among their peers.

At the same time, parental divorce incubates bullying by leaving adolescents, according to study, with “less monitoring, often fewer adults to confide in, and sometimes increased aggression because of feelings of loss.”

[…]Yet this common-sense understanding of bullying wasn’t entertained at the White House. If this were the first time Team Obama ignored the data, it might not be troubling.

Instead, a disturbing pattern is emerging: The first lady’s high-profile campaign against childhood obesity suffers the same blind spot. Paralleling the Norway study on bullying, recent research on obesity finds that children of divorced or single parents suffer another disadvantage to their well-being: higher risks of being overweight.

For example, scholars at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work in Miami, writing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last July, found that children in single-parent households, relative to their peers from two-parent households, were more likely to be “overweight” and nearly three-quarters as likely to be “obese,” or seriously overweight (odds ratio: 1.72). Kids from broken homes were also more likely to have higher cholesterol levels and lower HDL levels, indicators of type 2 diabetes.

By not keeping up with the research, the White House ends up, as it did last week with the bullying conference, calling for greater public “interventions” by education and health authorities to address the problem.

Democrats are ignorant. They attack traditional marriage because marriage supports “unequal gender roles”, which is incompatible with feminism. They think that stay-at-home moms can be replaced by strangers and that children will not be adversely affected. And then when massive social problems result from the destruction of marriage, they resort to legislating higher taxes and more social programs – draining money out of the families that are left to subsidize more broken homes. Single mother families are the leading cause of child poverty. It’s a death spiral, and it’s going to continue until people stop acting irresponsibly and expecting their neighbors to bail them out.

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