Why America Faces An Obesity Crisis

What a glorious spring week!  Each afternoon, the roads of Westport are filled with walkers, joggers, bikers…

…and parents waiting in their cars, for the bus to disgorge their kids from school.

I’m not talking 1 or 2 moms (or dads).  I mean battalions, all sitting inside their (idling) cars as if the sun would give them swine flu.

Westport school busThese are not parents waiting at the end of a busy mile-long street, either.  Some live on those new little 1-house “roads” (actually driveways named for themselves).  They drive all of 6 yards to retrieve their precious cargo.  A few, I am sure, walk further to their garage than if they stroll to meet the bus.

People, please:  Walk to the bus stop.  Then walk “all the way home” with your kid.  Point out some birds and flowers.  Chat.  Amble.

Or — call me crazy — hang around the house, and let your kid walk home alone.  Maybe with a friend?

Nah.  This is Westport.  Who knows what dangers lurk between the bus stop and #2 (Insert Your Name Here) Lane?

7 responses to “Why America Faces An Obesity Crisis

  1. Dan:

    I think the general discouragement by many parents of any physical activity that is not well orchestrated has causes including general fear/smothering of kids and a habit of over structuring children’s “free” time. This has even been institutionalized with the removal of bike racks at our schools to “protect” our children.

    How are are kids going to assess big risks as they grow older if they are never given a chance to take smaller risks?

    • Great points, Paul. And that leads to a question I keep asking: Where does this “general fear/smothering” and “over-structuring” come from? Today’s parents were not raised that way themselves — in fact, they (we) had very little structure growing up.

      Then again, maybe that’s the reason why?

  2. I, too, wonder how these tense parents have evolved. Somehow, I’m sure television is to blame. (It always is.) I’m reminded of two magazines that Marge Simpson likes to read:
    Nervous Mother and Fretful Parent.

  3. Emily Hamilton Laux

    Here’s my “big idea”: with student parking at a premium, and cars with one parent & student choking North Ave with traffic and fumes, why not offer incentives for carpooling.

    Students who carpool would get preferential parking.

    Parents who drive 3 or more kids go to the “speedy drop off point” while the singletons wait in the slow line.

    Let’s get those bike racks back in place, and offer some incentive to students who bike or walk – the best locker assignments and/or free coffee…

    There are other possibilities, but some kind of change is long-overdue.

    On the same note, I am sure I am not the only one sickened by the sight of near-empty school buses at SHS. The school system should insist that buses carrying less than 50% capacity consolidate their routes.

    Other ideas? I’m sure the Staples alums could really brainstorm this one…!

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