Is it OK to Fine Parents When Children Don’t Meet BMI?
I read that Puerto Rican Sen. Gilberto Rodriguez is suggesting that parents be fined if their children don’t meet their “ideal weight.”
I wonder if Senator Rodriguez and his staff have considered the multitude of undesirable consequences of such a bill. Will this lead to children being put on fad diets or being denied food in the home to avoid this financial penalty? Will this lead to victimization of parents who are blamed for the problem plus bullying and abuse toward children who “cause” this financial burden on families?
This bill is a poor idea for many reasons, the main one being it is a penalty bill that punishes parents for something that is difficult to manage. It also makes the cure much less likely. Families who couldn’t afford fruits and vegetables before are going to have a much harder time affording them with $800 less in their food budgets. Does it provide motivation or resentment?
Instead of fining parents, why not incentivize them? For example: much like orthodontists and dentists buy Halloween candy from their patients, why not offer tennis shoes and basketballs in exchange for Xboxes and videogames. Decrease the technology and increase the physical activity by providing the environment that promotes it. Pay moms a buck a day to breastfeed – this may be a lot cheaper than the costs of treating babies for illnesses associated with formula-feeding. Invest money in neighborhood playgrounds and walking paths. Check out the neighborhood stores and offer government incentives for fresh fruits and vegetables and stop allowing super-sized soda pop to be advertised in the faces of children. In other words, change the environment and lifestyle that promotes excess weight.
The government blames individuals but continues to support the food industry in all of its tactics to overload children with excessive sugar and calories. Until they stop those tactics, they have no right blaming families and especially innocent children.
Senator Rodriquez, please re-think this and drop this bill.
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