Is walking to school dangerous or healthy?

Your child is 40,000 times more likely to get diabetes from obesity than they are to be abducted and murdered.

We as Americans are loving our kids to death. It starts with baby strollers. What’s wrong with a baby stroller? It starts a lifelong trend of inactivity. I just spent two weeks backpacking in Peru and the last day it hit me, I had not seen a single fat Peruvian nor a single baby carriage. Infants are carried in a pack and any child capable of walking walks on their own two feet! In America, its quite common to see three and four year olds in baby carriages. Heck, why walk when if you just make a little fuss your parents will push you around like a pharroh? Preventing small children from getting exercise does nobody a favor. It establishes a bad, lifelong pattern of laziness and leaves kids with undesirable, pent up energy.

Then our carriage coddled kids enter first grade. What does any responsible parent do? Well they drive their child to school! Why? Because of the danger of abduction, it’s in the news all the time! It would be irresponsible to make them walk or bike to school … or would it? Lets look at the facts, here are the yearly abduction/murder numbers for the USA for our 74,782,000 kids under the age of 18:

1) 203,900 child abductions by family members
2) 58,200 abductions by strangers
3) 60 child abductions/murder by family member
4) 40 child abduction/murder by strangers

What is the chance your child will be abducted and murdered? About 1 in 747,820 or about a 0.00013% chance. Abduction and murder is horrible, but does driving your kids to school prevent it? First, remember that most of these abduction/murders are perpetrated by family members. Of those 100 abductions/murders not all happen on the way to school, there are many more places for kids to be abducted so simply driving them to school does not eliminate the problem.

Now lets look at the harm done to kids by all this coddling – baby carriages and depriving them of daily exercise by driving/bussing them to school. According to the Center For Disease Control, one third of our kids under the age of 18 are obese or overweight, that’s about 24,924,000 overweight kids. This isn’t just harmless childhood pudginess, it can be life threatning obesity. About 16% of these obese/overweight teens are pre-diabetic and diabetes is a life threatening disease. That’s 3,987,000 kids who will probaby become diabetic if they don’t change their lifestyles. Diabetes is serious and life threatening, here are the risks:

– blindness;
– heart disease;
– reduced blood supply to the limbs, leading to amputation;
– nerve damage;
– erectile dysfunction;
– stroke.

OK, now lets look at the staticistics and decide what is safer for our kids – driving them to school or forcing them to walk to school.

– chance of abduction/murder 0.00013%
– chance of becoming pre-diabetic 5.3%

There you have it, your child is 40,000 times more likely to become pre-diabetic from obesity and suffer the ravages of that disease than they are to be abducted and murdered.

But would something as simple as kids walking to school prevent obesity? Yes! Lets look at the numbers. Lets take an average 20 minute walk to school, thats 200 minutes of walking a week. For a 130 pound child, that walking would burn off 858 calories per week or 3432 calories per month – thats enough exercise to lose a pound of fat per month!

So, what is a responsible parent to do? Watch the news with a critical eye. Remember that the sensational and shocking stories make the news and increase ratings. Childhood diabetes and heart disease are boring, child abductions are shocking. When there is a child abduction in your community, before the knee-jerk reaction of driving your child to school remember that for each one child abducted and murdered, 40,000 get life threatening health complications from being overweight and that never makes the news. Of course, you need to take the overall safety of your neighborhood into account. If you live in the inner city where gang activity is commonplace, there are far more likely problems for your child than abduction. On the otherhand, if you live in the surburbs, its most likely quite safe. So what do you tell your kids about abductions? First, its even more important to talk to your kids about what to do in terms of family/neighbors/acquaintances as it is to talk to them about “not taking candy from strangers” because statistically speaking, only about 40% of the abductions come from strangers. A bigger question that a parent needs to decide is the risk/benefit of raising a child to fear. Fear is a great way to control people and only you can decide if the increased safetly from not trusting anyone is worth the lifelong fear and paranoia it might cause in your child.

References:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/healthy-weight-basics/obesity.htm

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2810

http://www.keepyourchildsafe.org/abduction-murder.asp

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WeightManagement/Obesity/Childhood-Obesity_UCM_304347_Article.jsp

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

101 thoughts on “Is walking to school dangerous or healthy?”

  1. One more comment….I am a huge fan or Scooby. I am 50 yrs old and have used his workouts with a couple of my own. I feel great and look good and fit for my age. I now have 2 of my sons working out. One is 15 yrs old so only have him workout with lighter weights with high reps once a week on his off day from sports. I still believe at this young age that kids should go slow.

    About losiing weight: My wife lost 30 lbs in a couple of weeks (maybe in the last 3-4 months)…and is still losing weight. all she did was WALK everyday about 3-5 miles. she also gave up SODA, COOKIES, CAKES, and SWEETS. I have seen it for myself and and know this to be true. She started her first weight program with me last week to tone up. I met her 30 yr s ago when she was 110lbs……through the yrs her weight increased to about 175lbs……she is now 145lbs…and her goal is about 120lbs – 125lbs. She is looking like her old self again! And the weight lose has really motivated to make it a lifestyle, rather than lose weight….just to gain it back again by going back to bad habits.

    For the most part Scooby knows what he is talking about. I was always thin so never had a weight problem and kept in decent shape during my later yrs, because I was active with my kids. However, I too started seeing some belly fat and love handles as I got older. I am now taking walks with my wife and “trying”: to cut down on sweets. My wife has more will power than me when it comes to not eating cookies and cakes. I also never knew that you could not target belly fat. I always thought by doing stomach crunches, you would lose stomach fat….Scooby educated me on this!

    Scooby …keep up the good work!

  2. Love you videos about excercise. However didn’t even finish reading the above because you are way off track here. I have 4 boys…all thin and all have good muscle tone. That is because they are active in sports since the age or 4-5 yrs old. There is NO HARM with a parent making sure there kids are safe by driving them to school or anywhere else. My wife and I do it! The key is to get your kids active and keep them active in sports….soccer, basketball and lacrosse has them constantly running

    1. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

      Saw the lecture of Gardner now and also read the Time article. The Gardner lecture was nice, but didn’t contain too many news for me. First of all – Gardner does by no means imply that exercise and right nutrition are overrated. He just questions the current state of what is regarded as “good nutrition”. What he brings up, is that the mantra of high carb diets doesn’t really cut it for anyone as it is supposed to do. Especially if someone is overweight already and has developed a high resistance against insulin (which is likely), high carbs will do him no good. Well, no mystery there! There is paradigm shift anyway, at least that’s what it feels to me. Carbs are not as emphasized anymore like they used to be – which I consider a good development.

      As for the Time magazine article …. yes, working out makes one more hungry. But that doesn’t mean, that exercise becomes useless. After all you alone decide what you eat. The article constantly brings up poor examples. Like guys, who jog regularly and eat a muffin afterwards ….. DUH! Of course, exercise alone is pretty useless if you still maintain a sloppy nutrition. But to use the problem of sloppy nutrition and say: “Therefore exercise is of no use.”, is just unrealistic. I mean, it portrays exercise under counter-intuitive circumstances and claims that the observation is valid gospel about exercise in general. Again …. DUH!
      The exercise of many people out there might indeed be next to useless for weight-loss, because they sabotage their efforts with “questionable” nutrition. I don’t see where this proves that exercise itself “won’t make you thin”. But I guess it makes a catchy headline.

      People, who want to lose weight and want to live healthy have to make up their mind. I honestly think the one thing that most people, who don’t reach their fitness goals, lack, is authority on the subject. If one wants to be empowered in regards of his own fitness and to lose some weight, he needs to become competent and aware about what he is doing. What is recommendable to eat, how much, when, portion size, enough meals, drinking habits, exercise … it’s all that – lifestyle. There will never be a diet that breastfeeds a healthy life and permanently fading pounds of body fat to anyone!

      To come to what I really feel is the heart of the problem: We have a ridiculous offer of rather unhealthy, over the top processed simple carb garbage, which is consumed rather mindlessly by hundreds of millions. So I absolutely agree with Gardner that carbs are likely the bigger problem for many obese people. This combined with both, a lack of knowledge and awareness, is and remains the single greatest cause for obesity being on the rise in the western world.

        1. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

          What always struck me about fast food (Burger King) – it all tastes the same! There is always this artificial but somewhat tempting taste …. and nothing beyond it. If you eat a Whopper, you don’t taste the ingredients – you taste the taste. I think you know what I mean.

        2. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

          Just finished the Lustig lecture (“Sugar: The bitter truth”) and it was quite informative. Now I can better understand what your point was. I highly recommend the lecture to everyone, who reads this.

          Like I said, it’s much about being informed to make competent lifestyle decisions. And this lecture teached me a few new things. I had no idea that fructose was such a problem. I always regarded it as the poor man’s sugar.

          I can honestly say that it changed my view on the obesity problem quite a bit. Not in the way, how to distinguish between good foot and crud in general (which so many people fail miserably at). But in the way that I realize now what an uphill battle it is for an obese person, who suffers from a maybe drastically altered metabolism, due to fructose being virtually in the most processed foods and having fatal effects over time.

          Thanks for pointing this lecture out! I think everyone should see it.

  3. I love it Scooby. I walked/ biked a lot to and from school when I was in middle school and high school (I’m 22 now). I love to ride my bike for fun, and I actually commute to work now at least once a week (It’s a pretty dangerous 11 miles each way otherwise I’d do it more). I think my parents helped to create good habits for me, and looking back in retrospect I’d have preferred it if I walked to high school everyday! Keep up the teaching Scooby

  4. Scooby_Werkstatt

    I travel a lot internationally and I have to say that I have found the American people to be the least physically active in the world. It also appears that we in America have one of the biggest obesity problems on the planet. I believe that these two facts are related. In my opinion the roots of this problem start with the baby carriage, driving our kids to school, driving to work. In America transportation = automobile. Until we break that connection we are doomed to get fatter and fatter – just my opinion.

  5. Ugh, I’ve been thinking the same about laziness and strollers. First you have these people strolling their children around all over the trails I run in the morning. Then most of the time on my way home from school, you see ELEMENTARY school kids in strollers! They’re like, what, 5 or 6 years old? Come on! There’s a bunch of other kids the same age chasing each other- exercising! In yet some parents coddle their children by pushing them around in strollers!

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      Perfect example of loving our kids to death. Making them happy by pushing them around in carriages when they need the exercise isnt doing them any favors.

  6. I really enjoy these posts, Scooby, because apart from the occasional bad joke, you avoid value judgments and stick with the facts. Even as pure extrapolation, it seems like you are coming to logical conclusions. You seem to avoid stating categorical conclusions based on that. I appreciate that. I have found it beneficial to me.I find it it some what curious that no matter what you say, someone disagrees. Haters will hate, to call back to an earlier post. Also, I do not see you blaming the victim but rather being compassionate. I’m no expert. Just my 2 cents on your blog.

    1. Thanks Nigel. This is a really touchy subject. Nobody wants to hear somebody tell them they are wrong, ESPECIALLY when it comes to parenting. Its tough love on my part. When it comes to the fitness and health of millions I view it my duty to call a spade a spade even if I ruffle a few feathers. I live in the one of the safest cities in America and still traffic jams happen every school day morning from parents dropping of their obese kids at school.

  7. Parents are of course right to be concerned about road safety, however, the best approach is not to avoid the risk altogether by resorting to driving their children to school, when they could otherwise walk, but to help to equip their children with the key life skills they need from an early age. An ideal way to do this is to accompany children to school during early years, passing on route finding and road safety skills until parents are confident that their children can make the journey unaccompanied. There is not a set age by which children should be able to walk independently; rather parents should be helped to understand the learning process that their children need to complete in order to gain their independence safely.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      I agree again! Kids need to be taught safety and how to be street wise and the best way to do this is for the parents to walk with the kids to school until its clear they have learned. There is no set age for this, the parents have to decide when they think their child is capable of walking safely by themselves.

      1. I live in Brussels, but grew up in Bulgaria and my parents took me to school only the first day. Never had a problem with finding my way or anything like this and it helped me been more confident in myself later on and being independent.

  8. I think the real message is not only don’t drive your children to school. The real message is, never drive your kids if it is not necessary, because the kids will get lazy. For exampel, my parents walked with me to school always and to supermarket and to city. now i’m 18 and i don’t want to make a drive license, because i don’t see the necessarity of a car. But if somebody usual alaways use a car, he will have a bad habitute and become very lazy.

    1. Someone earlier had a great suggestion. If parents are really concerned about the safetly of their kids walking to school then they should walk with them!!! Kids learn from the actions of their parents. By explaining to the kids that exercise is important and walking WITH them, they see that the parents believe it enough to do it themselves. Kids believe actions more than words. Besides, most parents dont get enough exercise either and can stand to lose a few pounds so walking their kids to school is a great idea. “Don’t have enough time” to do this? Life is about setting priorities, how important is your health and the health of your kids???

  9. Yes, it’s not simple calorie per pound math. The body will try and fight to stay at the equilibrium it’s accustomed to. In response to deficit, it will lower metabolism. TDEE is highly individual and varies day to day. However, there’s only so far the body can adjust. Cardio helps bring up metabolism throughout the day. Persist and in the long run (months) progress will occur. It won’t be linear, it will come in jerks, but it will happen.

    Yes, if you want to take yourself below 10% BF, it’s trickier. But Scooby is talking about badly overweight kids here. There’s no reason a young person can’t take themselves down below at least 20% BF through basic methods. I’ve helped several friends and family exactly like that, never failed. They were all convinced they were just doomed through genetics. Once there, they may not be thin, but they will not be unfit and will not be endangering their long-term health through excess weight. 99% of those kids who are overweight didn’t get there due to some terrible disease or serious hormonal problem. There weren’t so many of them just a few decades ago. It’s just bad diet and lack of exercise.

    Excercise is always uncomfortable when a person is unfit, doesn’t matter if they’re fat or thin. That changes fast as they progress. Of course, a very overweight person shouldn’t do high impact stuff like running until they lose some weight. There are plenty of other options: bike, swim, row, elliptical machine.

  10. The answer may be quite simple…it is the implementation that is not quite so simple.

    Scooby offers a personal fitness program suited to the individuals specific needs and requirements.

    In much the same way, when a child is considered ready to walk to school, especially unaccompanied by a responsible adult, should be suited to that child’s specific needs and requirements.

    There is no plan that is ideally suited to everyone and that goes for Home Fitness and Bodybuilding as much as it does for children walking to school.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      Agreed, one solution does not fit all. Some people simply live in neighborhoods too dangerous to walk in either because of crime or the nations unwillingness to provide safe pedestrian pathways. Having said that, I live in one of the safest cities in America with great sidewalks and bike lanes and yet twice a day the city is gridlock with parents dropping off or picking up their obese kids :(

      1. Here you go Scooby…just to show I am not anti-walking.

        Research shows that children burn about .00877 of a calorie for every pace they take. That amounts to 114 steps for every calorie. If we take the distance of 2 miles as a reasonable distance to walk to school (a purely arbitrary distance) it would amount to approximately 7000 steps.

        Based upon the above calculations 7000 steps would burn approximately 62 calories.

        Assuming the child also walks home, that would add up to 124 calories a day burned.

        This in itself is not enough to ward off obesity if a child does not have the other aspects of a healthy life under control, ie. A healthy diet and regular additional exercise, however, it is better than if the child was to sit on the back seat of a car and be transported.

        Every little bit does help.

        Having said that, the child’s safety should, and always must, be the main priority.

        1. But it’s not about burning the calories, but about showing kids that exercise is important and a normal part of life. It’s about habits! Later those walking kids might turn it into a daily jog instead and you’ll feel safe as a parent knowing your kid can deal with whatever dangers are out there!

  11. If we are going to quotes a source then one shouldn’t miss out on important information.

    “For every successful stranger abduction, there are many more failed attempts. It’s hard to know the exact number, as many cases are disregarded by parents and never reported, and record keeping is spotty at best. But based on our own monitoring of news reports, we would estimate around 20 failed attempts for every successful abduction.” Ref: keepyourchildsafe.org/abduction-murder.asp

    This makes it all the more imperative to make sure that children are accompanied by a responsible adult until they are mature enough to make their way to school on their own.

  12. Scooby has chosen the most extreme symptoms. I would love to see even one reputable scientific report that suggests driving children to school, directly or indirectly, results in these extreme conditions.
    • blindness
    • reduced blood supply to the limbs, leading to amputation
    • nerve damage
    • erectile dysfunction
    • stroke

    Fear and alarmist comments should not be used as motivation. Sound, logical, scientifically based proven facts are what is required.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      Please read the last link, the article from the US Center for Disease Control – one of the most highly respected research organizations in the world.

      1. Scooby, Thankyou for your response to my post.

        You will have seen from my other posts that I am not anti-exercise, but if we are going to post a reference then it should always be in context.

        I have read the article from the US Center for Disease Control and it does mention those particular symptoms/diseases, however, they say quite specifically they are related to childhood obesity, and not from the failure to walk to school.

        I dispute that giving children a vehicular mode of transport to school makes them obese. It may, in some way, contribute to that condition, however, there are many other factors that also need to be considered before parents are lampooned and lambasted as being irresponsible.

        Having said that, Keep up the good work and thank you for all your Home Fitness and Bodybuilding advice.

  13. Parents know their children, and are well suited to make the decision as to when their child is intellectually mature enough to cope with making their way to school unaccompanied by a responsible parent.

    Children are not a statistic and should not be treated as such. Children are complex beings, and each is unique maturing at different stages in their life..

    For a man without children to make such statements is naive and irresponsible.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      And I say its irresponsible for all parents to drive their kids to school and deprive them of badly needed exercise because of a few sensationalized reports of abductions. Guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

  14. Scooby, you are so right about encouraging young people to move. Yes, obesity IS a very complicated issue, but that’s not a reason to “throw the baby out with the bath water.”

    I just finished watching the HBO special, “The Weight of the Nation:” http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/ Every American should watch it. One suggestion they have is to form a “human school bus,” where kids and adults walk to school instead of taking the bus. The mayor of Nashville, TN (Tennessee is one of the most obese states in the US) instituted a “Walk 100 miles with the mayor” campaign. It’s so important to do something, and this great 4 part HBO special talks about large US agribusiness and how it’s contributing to the obesity and health care crises in this country. Good for you, Scooby, in speaking out.

  15. Very good article Scooby.

    1. The media likes to take things out of porportion because that is there job and it’s pathetic…

    2. There may be some truth to aeodoul’s statement’s but on a greater emphasis Scooby ,in my opinion, is also right.

    3. Considering I never walked a day in my life to school because i was homeschooled, i really have no great authority or opinion on this matter.

  16. Scooby_Werkstatt

    I just checked the national crime statistics and saw that violent crimes are at the same level now as they were in 1980 when I left high school. I rode my bike to school every day in high school. If its no more dangerous now than then, why is everyone driving their kids to school now? My guess is that it is the media whipping everyone into a fear frenzy.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      Aeodoul, dont shoot the messenger (thats me). Do you question the statistics? Which ones? The references are at the end of the article. Exercise leads to weight loss, you are seriously questioning that? Its simple energy balance, 3500 calories of energy expended walking lowers bodyweight by about one pound if eating remains constant. Check with the American Heart Association, exercise is key to weight loss and kids dont get enough exercise. Parents need to make an informed decision about the risks and benefits of driving their kids to school every day. The news does a great job of terrifying parents about the “dangers” of abduction by sensationalizing every abduction case in the nation, I am the only voice out there making any attempt to show the other side of the coin – that depriving kids of that 40min of walking daily also has its risks. As always, I just want people to THINK rather than knee-jerk believe everything they hear.

    2. Well we used to have to walk to school/ take the bus (different schools we went to) and for one it instilled in us skills that taught us not to be afraid of the world. Secondly our parents encouraging us to walk or ride our bike places taught us that we could in fact do these things and that they are part of an everyday life. It really enabled us to grow to enjoy these activities and not to have any hesitation about implementing them as a normal part of life. We all have never had problems with weight and all have an interest in exercise!

  17. American TV / News……of course europe has enough disreputable media of its own. But everytime i watch american TV my brain starts to feel dizzy and is asking for intoxication (omg i cant take this, please numb my experience).

      1. Well, i have to disagree, i was never hindered from posting anything that criticises scoobies words. Im not praising him or his ways, like they were the only path worth going. Yet, he provides refreshing and REASONABLE information which he is often backing up by giving us links to further information. Scooby relies on SCIENCE, therefore he deserves my respect!

          1. Scooby_Werkstatt

            I’m clueless about weight loss? Thousands would like to disagree with you on that point, just check out my weight loss success stories!

          2. this is nuts. there are 2 reasons people don’t lose weight: there may actually be something wrong with them or they didn’t try hard enough. Most overweight people do not have a disorder keeping them overweight. They have self-control issues with food. Yes, its difficult eating right but hey, life is tough.

            addictions, and in this case I use the term loosely, CAN BE OVERCOME WITH WILL POWER.

            and don’t blame biology. Your body does fight to keep its weight but you never see an overweight POW returning home, do you?

            this is why scooby and others refer to being fit as a lifestyle. Its why fitness is considered a subculture. If you want it you have to live it.

          3. It seems to me you are trying to suggest we can’t control our lifestyle and we are at the whims of our nature. Well, some alcoholics manage to control their addiction. It’s a matter of determination actually more than a matter of quiting on account of genetics, pre-natal conditions and childhood nutrition.
            Furthermore, you are saying that refined carbs have the effect of crack-cocaine on some people. I agree, everyone has his/hers weakness. But the problem is overconsumption of craved products makes you go over the necessary calorie intake per day. The key is to find a lifestyle that keeps in control your cravings. I think Scooby has addressed this issue on a number of times.
            As a personal example, I had a bit of a sweet tooth, I used to like sweets very much, but I trained myself to deny them as much as possible for the past 3-4 years. Well, as it turns out, these days I just can’t swallow stuff that’s too sweet. That’s what determination did for me.
            What I get from your message is this: the problem with weight loss is it’s so complex and customized you just can’t solve it. My opinion is the solution is quite simple: energy (calories) intake. The real challenge is defining a lifestyle that helps you maintain indefinetly the kind of energy intake you need.

      2. But I’ve never asked any question or stated any critic ? I just want to read the articles cause I’ve been working hard for the last month, following Scooby advices…

      3. @Cancervive What on Earth are you going on about? The forum’s filled with people with varied opinions that differ from Scooby. You don’t get banned from holding a different opinion, it’s welcome as it sparks debate.

  18. There is absolutely nothing wrong, or ill advised about driving one’s child to school. Children travel to school at one of the busiest times of the day, when most people are traveling by car on their way to work. Many children have not developed the understanding and road-skills to safely navigate the dangers when crossing roads and can be irrational when faced with situations they do not understand.

    Rather than suggest parents allow their children to walk to school, it would have been far more rational, logical, and safer to suggest parents walk to school with their children.

    The benefits of this would be, at the least, six fold.
    1. The children get physical exercise.
    2. The parents get physical exercise.
    3. There is that additional bond between parent and child.
    4. It reduces the risk of accident or injury by having parental supervision
    5. It removes the risk of abduction however small that risk may be.
    6. It gives the parent peace of mind knowing their child has safely arrived in school.

    Parents transport or accompany their children to school for a number of reasons, safety from abduction simply being one of them. Overall safety is paramount, and in the case of younger child that must be safety from abduction, accident or injury, and bullying.

    The U.S. Department of Justice reports
    • 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.
    • 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
    • 58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
    • 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)

    “For every successful stranger abduction, there are many more failed attempts. It’s hard to know the exact number, as many cases are disregarded by parents and never reported, and record keeping is spotty at best. But based on our own monitoring of news reports, we would estimate around 20 failed attempts for every successful abduction.”

    I don’t know of one parent who would so casually dismiss these statistics and justify their dismissal by arguing that it is saving the child future problems such as the ones named. Scooby has chosen the most extreme symptoms, and it should be pointed out that nowhere, has it been suggested that driving children to school directly or indirectly results in these extreme conditions:

    • blindness heart disease
    • heart disease
    • reduced blood supply to the limbs, leading to amputation
    • nerve damage
    • erectile dysfunction
    • stroke

    The suggestion that driving a child to school causes these conditions is alarmist at the very least and totally irresponsible.

    I am not suggesting that children shouldn’t be encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle. That lifestyle should include a healthy diet and regular exercise, but should not be at the expense of common sense.

    Parents know their children, and are well suited to make the decision as to when their child is intellectually mature enough to cope with making their way to school unaccompanied by a responsible parent.

    I have no knowledge of Scooby’s parent/child status, however, having read his comments, I would be extremely surprised if he is a parent.

    References:
    http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2810
    http://www.keepyourchildsafe.org/abduction-murder.asp

      1. Scooby_Werkstatt

        Oh, but it IS simple but not easy – people just would rather spend millions on infomercial gadgets, weight loss supplements, and $97 eBooks promising shortcuts than accept the fact that losing weight requires WORK. Losing weight is straight forward but everything valuable takes effort. To lose weight requires eating less, exercising more, getting enough sleep and drinking lots of water.

        1. Scooby so right…IT IS darn simple! Its like keeping your budget right every month. If u spend more money than u earn ur gonna get in trouble (dont believe me? read the news!). Same with energy (=food): Eat more than you use up and u will get…what? Yes, fat / obese. Its simply a law of nature, anyone who defies it is (to me) an enemie of reason (oh i love that expression, Richard Dawkins seems to have coined it, another man i truely admire). Nobody is trying to say it is easy!! Alles klar? Grüße aus Österreich :)

          1. I can see your point and it is surely a valid one. Some people just seem to have a genetic tendency to becoming fat, such as some people (including me) seem to be able to eat and eat and eat without putting on a single gram of fat. But thats as far as it goes. The physical laws of our world DO apply to these people as well as to me and everyone else on this planet (and most likely the whole universe). Your point, although perfectly valid, does not change the fact, that in the end, when i eat more than i use up, it will add to my fat body mass. Also, i would like to add, compare the USA to other countries with different traditions in eating. America is the fattest country in the world, most other industrial nations are on the same or a very similar path. Have these genes that make some “naturally” fat or “naturally” lean somehow decided to concentrate themselves in mainly the USA and subsequently in most other industrial nations? I sure as hell think not. Industrial nations become fatter and fatter because of quasi unlimited food supply and processed foods containg waayyyy too much sugar. Sry, but to me (without having read the studies) this seems just perfectly obvious…

          2. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

            As Will brink nailed it so brilliantly:

            “Total calories dictates how much weight a person gains or loses; macro nutrient ratios dictates what a person gains or loses”.

            That is how it basically works for everyone, regardless if his genetics are more on the bright or more on the not-so-bright side. Do you really question that? If someone eats little else than cookies, pizzas and hamburgers and has sloppy to no exercise … he is bound to get fat. His body may tip-toe his way around this, as long as it is growing up and the genetics are somewhat forgiving. But as soon as that growth is over, the excess calories will end up somewhere …. in the gut.

            There are some universal laws that apply to EVERYBODY (nature, you know). And especially in the area of nutrition and exercise there are mechanisms, that have been proven beyond any doubt. It might be true, that many fat people have a poor metabolism. But that is not the reason for but the consequence of their lifestyle in the vast majority of cases. The body adapts. Nature struck yet again! That is exactly what Scooby’s point is all about.

            I agree with you that there is the wild card of genetics. But it doesn’t completely randomize or alter things – at least not to the degree that you imply. For example: I don’t care how potentially great someone’s genetics are – they will be meaningless if he lives a really poor lifestyle. And also he – the genetically gifted one – will end up fat, ill and lazy if he just eats crud and if scratching his balls is among the most athletic things he does.

            Of course, some people are genetically prone to be somewhat chubby, no matter what they do and how hard they try. Many Samoans have this problem. Check out the wrestler “Samoa Joe”. He is chubby but very athletic, strong and agile at the same time. And he is Samoan (obviously).

            There are without a doubt people, who have either Hercules or sumo genetics. But both of ’em – the gifted and the tainted ones – are the exception, not the rule. And no matter what your or my genetic wild card may be ….. the game overall (and how it works!) is still the same. Just imagine what Oprah might look like if she wouldn’t take care of herself and you get the idea.

            Bottom Line: Yes, there are genetic extremes in both directions. But they (the extremes) are few and far between and even for them the laws of nature apply, when it comes down to the consequences of good nutrition and exercise or lack thereof.

            BTW – If I come across a tad aggressive here and there – no offense, really. I tend to be a self-righteous prick in the net. Just like everybody else.^^

            Have a nice day!

          3. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

            Damn, these replies get slimmer and slimmer (no pun intended …. man, I am such an asshole …..).

            “The real question is why are some people driven to eat more and exercise less than others.”

            Mostly it’s learned behavior aka bad habits. Why do people smoke? I smoked for several years (despite knowing everything about the risks and how pointless it is). Today I would rather juggle with scorpions than lighting another one up.

            It might be true that some – like you – have their genes stacked against them. I think you talk about the MC4R mutations. Yes, they are a legit problem. But only like 2% of all obese people are hit by that.

            Please, look what many fat people consume. It is not as if they eat a bowl of innocent salad to much and explode. The most eat exactly what one would expect – useless crud. Fast food, Junk food, loads of red meat, candies, white sugar, too much salt, alcohol ….. you name it.

            I don’t wanna debate that there are some genetic very sensitive individuals. That’s true. But the stone cold facts are that the clear majority of overweight people eats unhealthy stuff. Take a peek in their shopping carts, on their plates and in their kitchens. It is blatantly obvious.

            As for your numbers ….. damn, if they are valid, than you need to have an iron will and I salute you for that. I guess fiber is among your most precious allies.

          4. Well, you have made a sound rebuttal, whether right or wrong, I really want to hear your solution? Are you implying some people are born with genetics to be naturally overweight? Im not throwing you down, I just want to hear your solution instead of a rebuttal to Scooby and his gnomes ;)

          5. Mitchell Holland

            From my personal experience as a personal trainer, I’ve talked to many people and discussed on several occasion weight loss and weight maintenance. The one BIGGEST common misconception that most people have in regards to weight loss is they think that after they have changed their diet to eating healthy foods and exercising more regularly that once they have reached their weight goals is that they no longer need to continue exercising as much and often revert back to old eating habits and wonder why after several months they’re back to square one. They don’t understand that they need to change their lifestyles indefinitely if they want to keep the weight off. I’ve never once had a client that continues his exercise and eating regime just randomly start gaining weight one day without changing anything, which is what you seem to be claiming happens to people?

          6. Mitchell Holland

            How to you propose getting something done by doing nothing about it? And as I said, the majority of people that I have dealt with don’t seem to understand that they actually need to stay on the program, they stop it because they have got to their goal weight and revert to old habits of low exercise and eating patterns. As we get a lot of people that come back after several months saying it “didn’t work” because they put their weight back on and when asked did they stick with the healthy food and exercise program the answer is always no and that they got to their goal weight and didn’t want to lose anymore weight so they stopped etc. Most people that do actually come back get it in the end, but it just comes down to self motivation, there are so many variables when it comes to what motivates you to exercise, there will never be a 1 size fits all system for weight loss because of this.

          7. @aeodoul

            I don’t know if I am incorrectly interpreting what you’ve been saying, so let me just confirm:

            Are you suggesting that you can’t loose weight through exercise and a caloric deficit if you are obese ?

            Are you suggesting that NO obese people are just lazy and lacking in will power ?

            Because I was obese for a decade entirely because I was lazy and had no will power, and eventually when I mentally grew up, I started to lose weight properly through daily exercise and a caloric deficit.

            I went from 18 Stone to 12 Stone entirely because of this.

            Its a bit of an ego wound to admit, but I wasn’t obese because I was biologically compelled to be, I was obese because I was greedy and lazy… and then I got fit through no other means than exercise and a caloric deficit.

            Sometimes I still feel like being greedy and lazy but I overcome it with a little will power now. It isn’t an insurmountable chemical/biological compulsion.

            Maybe some people are abnormally compelled to obesity through medical problems, but I can guarantee SOME people are only fat because they don’t want to change yet. they may want to be changed but they don’t want to put in the work to change themselves.

          8. Are you suggesting that you can’t loose weight through exercise and a caloric deficit if you are obese ?

            Answer — no, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that a large portion of the population is unsuccessful at maintaining a caloric deficit over long periods of time, and that finding a solution to this problem would be far more useful than just repeating the mantra of caloric deficit over and over again and wondering why the obesity rate continues to climb.

            Are you suggesting that NO obese people are just lazy and lacking in will power ?

            Answer — no, I’m suggesting that for the population as a whole, it is neither useful, nor fair, nor accurate to blame the obesity epidemic on simple laziness. There are plenty of lazy fat people, but I don’t think they’re nearly as big a portion of the fat population as is believed in fora like this one.

          9. Ah, gotcha.

            So its actually fair and reasonable points that you are making. It just looked wrong/combative in the tone I was imagining.

            Right on.

          10. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

            Jesus, what kind of miracle program do you expect? There is always room for failure. Because people often fail. There is no program and never will be a program that does the work for anybody. You ask for something so foolproof that never will be there.

            And as for hard genetics (like MC4R mutations) …. Yes, they exist. But these things mostly apply for like 2% of the obese people. What about the other 98%?

            And I don’t even say that all fat people are lazy. Hell, I am lazy myself! Many people, even very ambitious ones, have a guilty pleasure. And food is nothing rare in that regard. The urge to overeat is way more often of psychic nature. Not genetic. Again – genetic extremes exist. But they are the exception, not the rule.

          11. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

            What exactly have the historic black death and the modern day obesity in common? Don’t throw apples and oranges comparisons at me. They always sound fancy – but fail to make any sense.

            Again, what makes you so confident, that the majority of the 90% has no one but themselves to blame. Has it never struck you, that people aren’t that great? That failure is more common than success? Get over it.

            Again, you continue to use this rhetoric as if being overweight would be some sort of genetic destiny – when it just applies to a minority (!) of overweight people.

            Bottom line is: People – genetically gifted, neutral or tainted – have to keep themselves in check. There is no way around that (except for cosmetic surgery, maybe). It might not be the most comforting answer but it is the truth.

          12. ScoobyForPresident_BrinkForGod

            Yeah, only that the black death is an acute disease and being obese is a physical imbalance. One is an infection, the other is (mostly) the result of a poor lifestyle. So the comparison is still pretty apples and oranges. Being fat makes one ill but is not an illness itself. Or do you think that antibiotics and your own immune system would get rid of body fat for you? That’s where the significant difference lies.

            I am currently watching the “The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?)” video, that you pointed out in an other post. Right at the beginning Dr. Gardner talks about the poor studies, where so many participants dropped out. And that is exactly what I mean! If so many people fail to follow the advised nutrition under monitored circumstances, what do you think how many people quit when the only one watching over their shoulder is their monkey on their back?

            BTW- Dr Gardner constantly talks about diets. Well, my humble opinion is: Forget them anyway! What about lifestyle? A diet just works for so and so long. But if the pattern after the diet remains the same, it’s worthless!

          13. I love that quote from Will Brink, its brilliantly concise! To repeat Will Brink’s quote “Total calories dictates how much weight a person gains or loses; macro nutrient ratios dictates what a person gains or loses”.

          14. Erm, thank you for the civilized discussion so far. BUT….are you seriously comparing my reasoning to the 1500’s and the flat earth theory or geocentric view of our solar system or similar things?
            Sorry but that is just unreasonable and very close to ridiculous, even ignorant. Sry to be so direct. Have a nice day!

      2. First off, Scooby, your indent comment thing needs work. One of aeodoul’s comments is 2 characters wide. I’m not gonna bother trying to read it.

        2nd, aeodoul, you are a fat apologist and a liar. I saw the interview Oprah had with, I think it was Dr Oz, about what happened. She was in a state of chronic fatigue that caused her pituitary gland to go nuts and give her intense cravings. Yes it was cravings, not some overwhelming bodily disfunction that made her fat.

        We all have cravings at some point. But giving into intense cravings doesn’t mean you’re prone to obesity, it means you’re weak willed. Just be honest about it. Don’t complain to scooby that its hard, the man puts in like 100 miles of cardio a day. His average day is harder than most of us have ever had to deal with. Better yet, don’t complain to any serious bodybuilder thats its hard to get in shape, because all they know is hardship and pain.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      No, I dont have kids. How exactly does that change the statistics I quote? Depriving kids of 40minutes a day of exercise when childhood obesity is at epidemic levels is a health problem. Everything in life is a risk/benefit analysis. Parents just need to THINK about both sides of the equation, not just the fear provoking news reports of abduction.

      1. I’m totally in agreement that kids need to exercise more, but I also agree that parents need to do so as well. If you drive your kids to school, then make sure you go out and play with them at night instead of plopping down in front of a TV screen. You’re absolutely correct when you say that the reality of your child being abducted as a result of walking somewhere is extremely low, but so is your chance of getting salmonella from chicken and eggs, yet we still take precautions to avoid it if possible. Keep up the great work and I really respect your passion and opinion.

        1. Well as someone who was a kid recently, I’m thankful that my parents took us for bike rides from an early age, then encouraged us to go on our own. We ended up loving them and being incredibly street smart. Never had any trouble at all. They never would dream of driving us to school unless absolutely necessary, they would first walk with us to school and then when older make us walk to the bus stop and take the bus! I know a lot of kids who got driven to school, most were spoiled and fat. We never had any problems and as a result all of us have an interest in exercise!

  19. Its a lot more likely that you will be hit by a dangerous driver when you are walking. Almost every day when I cross a street downtown, I encounter those dangerous drivers that don’t have the patience to let the pedestrians cross the street. My point is if you are walking and crossing streets, be VERY careful.

    1. Scooby_Werkstatt

      Agreed! In this era of inattentive cars ignoring the law and texting or using their cellphones while driving, being a pedestrian or cyclist is way more dangerous than it was when I was a kid walking and biking to school! This is why its vitally important that parents walk with their kids to make sure they are certified street-smart before sending them off on their own. The only way to stay alive as a cyclist or pedestrian is to assume that every car is trying to kill you.

    1. Exactly! Its a whole mindset in this country starting with baby carriages, then getting driven to school, then driving to work … and driving EVERYWHERE. In America, transportation = car. We need to stop equating the two. Shoes and bikes are excellent forms of transportation!!!

  20. From the article it seems like you said they should walk to school when they’re in 1st grade by themselves.. they should walk to school but with a parent. 6/7 years old is way too young to be walking to school alone depending on how far they live from school and if they can even cross traffic safely..

    1. I disagree the average 6 or 7 year old child is way more capable then we tend to allow them to be. In fact we prolong childhood unnaturally which goes against our biological instincts, but I digress. One of the most ironic things about humans is that for the smartest and most advanced species on the planet, we take the longest to be self-sufficient. We are surprisingly vulnerable.

    2. The article doesn’t say they need to be walking alone, it says they need to be walking. In my area most parents are driving their young kids a quarter mile to school instead of going for a very short walk with them, and it really gives them the attitude that walking is some form of cruel and unusual punishment

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