Woman's Halloween treat: 'Your child is obese'

(Photo courtesy of ABC News)

October 30, 2013 2:05:08 PM PDT
Everyone knows the feeling of being a young trick-or-treater and not getting the candy you wanted but what if you got a letter instead? And not a "Happy Halloween" letter either.

A woman in Fargo, North Dakota known only as "Cheryl" has decided to take childhood obesity into her own hands. Rather than handing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters this year, she plans give children she believes are overweight letters to their parents saying in part, "[Your] child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats..."

The story has stirred up a lot of controversy after it surfaced on social media. The letter surfaced after Cheryl called in to local radio station Y-94/WDAY-FM to voice her opinion about obesity and how it really takes an entire community to solve the obesity challenge.

"I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight. 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," Cheryl told the station.

"I'm contributing to their health problems and really, their kids are everybody's kids. It's a whole village," she said.

NDSU assistant professor of clinical psychology Dr. Katie Gordon studies eating disorders and says that children and adolescents in particular are very conscious of fitting in with peers. She says the letter might hurt more than help. "It's just that kind of thing that for some kids, if they're vulnerable, might trigger major problems," she said.

Gordon says it's important to remember that one's appearance does not necessarily reflect whether or not a person has healthy eating and exercising habits.

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