Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Many parents overfeed their children and do not promote physical activity. Another contributing factor is low income families often feel forced into buying unhealthy foods because they are inexpensive. Many cheap foods are loaded with saturated fat and hydrogenated oil with little to no redeeming value.
The U.S. has responded to the obesity problem by changing the food standards for schools by reducing fat, sugar, and salt. Puerto Rico is taking a different route in hopes that it will reduce the problem in their country. They plan to put at risk children on diets with required exercise included but if after a period of six months the child(ren) are still significantly overweight then the parents will be fined.
The penalty seems awfully harsh and appears to be aimed at maintaining physical appearance versus actual health. Naturally, there has been an outcry from parents about the enforcement of diets and such and health experts at the Amen Clinic have offered their services for free to families that are struggling.
Is Puerto Rico stepping over the line into personal territory or are they trying to be proactive with the next generation’s health? It is hard to say and largely based on opinion right now. The best possible scenario is the children will follow their diet plan and not have to worry about any possible fines.