By Chris Byrne
Now you may wonder what in heaven’s name Kate Moss and her comments on eating have to do with toys and play, but stay with me on this one.
Moss is being pilloried for saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” in an interview. The outrage patrol, which jumps on everything to leverage publicity, has taken her comments out of context and attacked her for promoting anorexia. Of course, they did. As I repeatedly say, we’re outraged all the time over everything. Is anyone else getting exhausted by all this vitriol?
Moss was commenting on how she personally stays thin. Her publicists say the comments were taken out of context, and for once they’re right. The papers say that Moss is idolized by teens. Really, every teen and tween I’ve talked to lately is swooning over “New Moon.” A waspish model barely registers on their radar.
However, let’s take Moss’s comment apart. Moss is dependent on keeping her figure for her work, and one of the ways she does that is to remind herself of the consequences of eating certain foods. She didn’t say, “Starve yourselves into a fashionable shape.”
Yet when I look at obese and inactive families and young people lined up at McDonald’s in airports (where I am a lot lately) and carrying away trays loaded with shakes, burgers, fries and more, I’m concerned. When I read that costs of obesity are going to skyrocket, I can’t help but think that Moss, who is advocating conscious eating, may have a point.
Let’s face it, being overweight has serious health consequences, particularly for kids, which I don’t need to go into here. The way to control weight is reduced intake of calories balanced by increased expenditure of calories. Eat less. Move more. It’s not brain surgery.
For kids that means absolutely reducing what is eaten and be more active. Watch diet. Eliminate soda. Limit sugar and processed foods. And get out and play. I have yet to meet or interview any kid who has gotten their weight under control who doesn’t feel better about themselves or life. Kate Moss may have said things to make news, that’s what celebrities do, but it does feel better to be healthy.
That’s the goal of a new program from the NFL. NFL Play 60 program is designed to get kids, up, active and healthier. It’s an inspiring initiative, and full details on the Play 60 Challenge are here.
Many of us remember the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and attempts later by Arnold Schwarzenegger to get kids up and playing and to make physical fitness a cultural value. It’s sad that we’ve lost that. Hopefully, an entity as big and admired as the NFL can make some progress restoring physical fitness as something that’s part of our lives. The impact on the culture would be profound.
We all know that riding bikes, playing pick up ball, just plain running around all count. We have to make that happen, or we will inevitably pay the price in the end.
What’s ironic in the Kate Moss flap is that the outrage that makes headlines is always ginned up to allow people to reinforce their positions and avoid making any kind of change. The number of kids who will become fashion models is statistically non-existent. The number of kids who should be taught that being healthy feels better than subsisting on inactivity and a terrible diet is, well, all of them.
Let’s teach kids responsible eating, being active—and let them see for themselves how good that feels.
As for me personally, knowing I’ve avoided the 730 calories and 9 grams of fat in a 16-ounce fast food shake (more than 1/3 of the calories I should have in a day) feels a lot better than the soon-forgotten shake and the few minutes it took to consume it. Now, I’m not advocating an ascetic lifestyle. Occasional treats are fine. Occasional treats, however, don’t make kids fat.
So, let’s rephrase for Kate because she’s not getting a chance to: Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.