Food For Thought…(11.14.12: Childhood Obesity and The UMC)

The United Methodist Church in Tennessee is putting its money where its mouth is. The church has decided that it will take a stand against childhood obesity, a growing problem in our nation.

 As today’s Food For Thought article demonstrates, United Methodists have within their book of discipline specific considerations for children and how the faith community should take care of them.

 In the article, Gayle Callis, president of the United Methodist Association of Preschools, points out:

“In the Book of Discipline, under Social Principles, we’re responsible for the whole child…I think it’s important that we not only spiritually fill our children, but that we take care of the physical part of them as well.”

 The United Methodists in Tennessee are involving themselves in fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity by several means. First, the UM Churches are going to be providing education on many levels, in small groups with parents and in Sunday services with whole congregations. Next, the church is partnering with several advocacy campaigns in order to inform the general public.

 The movement by the United Methodists causes one to pause and ask questions. Should the church involve itself in such projects, and, if so, how should we engage? Do you agree with these actions? If you agree with fighting against childhood obesity, how do you think you and your church should respond?

 Debates have raged outside of the faith community about the government’s role in telling us what we should and should not eat. Many people say it is no one’s business what a family has for dinner other than the family itself. Do you think this move by the UMC will cause debates within the faith community now that the UMC is taking its stand? If so, why?

If we at The Echo Life might interject a thought, it would be this. The Bible calls us to act on behalf of the marginalized and for those who cannot defend themselves. Children have very little control of the food they eat, and the food (and the amount of food) many parents give their children causes obesity, which leads to life threatening issues. These children are being placed in harms way with no means to help themselves.

So, if the parents won’t help, who should?

Whether you agree or not with the UMC movement in this campaign, you cannot deny that the UMC in Tennessee is acting out of its core beliefs. They are not simply stating that they should care for the whole child; they are doing something about it.

Article: Tennessee Faith Groups Fight Youth Obesity

Read the article and discuss the why and how of helping children overcome obesity.

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