A North Dakota woman says she'll be handing out warning letters, not candy, to any child she deems "moderately obese" this Halloween.
"I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight," the Fargo, N.D., woman, whose name was not released, told Y94 Radio
. "I think it's just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just 'cause all the other kids are doing it."
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She said she plans on doling out some sweet treats to trick-or-treaters, but will make sure to include a copy of the letter she's typed up.
"You child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season," the letter reads. "My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits."
When asked why she feels it's her business to patrol other people's children, the woman said, "I feel like I'm contributing to their health problem and, really, their kids are everybody's kids. It’s a whole village. We've got a problem with these kids who are getting obese and potentially looking at diabetes and all kinds of health problems and, really, the whole community's going to be paying for it ultimately."
Experts are divided on the subject of obese letters to kids. Some think it could scar them emotionally.
"It's just that kind of thing that for some kids, if they're vulnerable, might trigger major problems," Katie Gordon, North Dakota State University assistant professor of clinical psychology, told Fargo's Valley News Live.
"Even if a child is overweight, they might be very healthy because of what they eat and how they exercise. It's ineffective anyway because it's not likely to help the kid."
While others think receiving a letter about their child's weight could give parents a wake-up call.
"I think it's a tough-love letter," David Smith, a cardiologist in Doylestown, Pa., told USA Today
. "Eating disorders are a problem but the magnitude of that risk just pales in comparison to obesity. Obesity in the last decade has taken over smoking as the leading health problem we face today.
"Giving candy to an obese child is like giving a cigarette to a person with emphysema. It is giving a drink to an alcoholic. It is giving heroin to a drug addict."
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