That the country's youth are plagued by an obesity epidemic is not up for dispute. But just how best to battle The Heavying of America is. There's Michelle Obama's straightforward, "Let's Move!" approach, which — let's face it — requires a lot of heavy lifting. But does it really address the problem? Not the children's inactivity and addiction to 2-liter bottles of Fanta — that's the symptom. I'm speaking of the problem: those completely out-to-lunch parents.
At an Illinois Senate Public Health Committee, one senator floated the idea of denying parents of obese kids their $2,000 standard tax deduction.
"It's the parents' responsibility that have obese kids," said state Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga. "Take the tax deduction away for parents that have obese kids."
Drastic? Unconstitutional? Or exactly the kind of aggressive, out-of-the-Jack in the Box thinking we need at a critical time when "one in five Illinois children [are] classified as obese and 62 percent of the state's adults considered overweight?" If Mayor Bloomberg can ban the use of foot stamps to buy sugary soft drinks, certainly Cultra's suggestion makes about as much sense?
Until, of course, when tax season comes around, and all those overweight kids see their self-esteems plunge even lower, as they inadvertently become the scapegoats for their family's budget woes. So, yeah, bad idea. [stltoday, photo via Shutterbug]