Here is a fascinating article in yesterday’s Globe & Mail called “Link to eating disorders raises concern about school health programs”, by Adriana Barton.  To summarize, the article describes  the “healthy living programs” in Ontario schools that teach students to analyze nutrition labels, track their daily intake of various foods and categorize foods, and then explains the various ways in which this can lead to the development of eating disorders.  Essentially, these programs are providing students with a dangerous set of instructions that people with eating disorders use for the purpose of weight loss.  However, the obesity experts disagree, stating that “healthy living programs” can reduce the rate of childhood obesity. 

Here is the very paradox of our eating disordered culture.  The article points out that the “healthy living programs” that were introduced 10 years ago, coincide with a rise in eating disorder rates.  At the same time, there has been a rise in childhood obesity rates.  The “science of obesity” seems to have forbidden that these trends be examined in relation to each other.    

It is well documented that chronic dieting causes weight gain.  Children learn dieting behaviours in their homes, and now in their schools.  It then logically follows that this could have an impact on the rate of childhood obesity.  Could it be that dieting in the name of health has led to an increase in both obesity and eating disorders?  We know this to be true in adults.  Isn’t this worth considering as a possibility in children as well?