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OUR VIEW: School, home are best places for obesity fight, not at neighbor’s

How offended would you be if a neighbor left a note in your child’s Halloween bucket, warning that the child is trending toward obesity?

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Probably pretty offended. We would be.

Media outlets in North Dakota are reporting that a woman planned to hand out notes to chunky children during Halloween trick-or-treating. The idea behind the woman’s campaign is to warn that kids are getting heavier, and that parents need to take notice of the trend.

As of this writing, it was still uncertain if the whole thing was real. It was first reported on a radio station in Fargo, and then picked up by our company’s news service. Time will tell.

A copy of the alleged note was obtained, however, and told parents that “Your child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.”


We have railed in the past that childhood obesity is a problem that needs to be addressed on many fronts, including the schools. In recent years, schools have addressed the problem — some even say schools have gone too far with their healthy meal plans.

Either way, it’s good the issue is being raised.

At home, perhaps it’s a different story. Parents need to be a guiding light in society’s constant battle against obesity.

But neighbors? Not so much.

South Dakota has seen improvement in its obesity rates. According to statistics released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, South Dakota had one of the largest drops in childhood obesity between 2008 and 2011. The study was based on low-income preschoolers, and the rate of decline wasn’t much, but it’s still a trend in the right direction.

We don’t think it’s right for neighbors to target particular children with notes warning of their impending obesity.

Too, we don’t think Halloween is the problem. Kids have been gorging themselves on candy the first week of November for generations. We see no reason to withhold treats during the holiday season, nor do we see any reason to ruin this wonderful tradition by telling children they are overweight. If this occurred at school, we’d call it bullying.

Our advice is let the kids have their candy this week. Then, in a few days, parents should enforce a regular regimen of basic activity, generally wholesome foods and moderation.

Personal attacks won’t make a difference, but consistent efforts at home and school can. The neighbor lady should stay out of it.