Debates about the childhood obesity epidemic often come down to the parents — and for good reason. Establishing healthy habits and an active lifestyle in our increasing digital age of fast-paced schedules and overworked moms and dads is the modern parents’ dilemma. But despite everyone and literally their mother having an opinion about who to blame with regard to overweight children, it’s often a space where we rarely hear from the children themselves. Fat-shaming ads aside, obese kids are often spoken for in lunch time policies or by parents. Seldom do we hear from children who, confronted with unhealthy practices, decide to turn it around — like 12-year-old Marshall Reid.
The New York Times reports that the then 10-year-old was the brunt of bullying for being overweight and on a single walk home from school, decided to develop his own weight loss plan. Although the kid did ask for his mother’s help, it was of his own volition to change his diet:
As Marshall walked slowly into the house that day, he said, “Mom, let’s do the opposite of ‘Super Size Me’ ” — Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about a McDonald’s-only diet for 30 days — “and be healthy for a month. I’m tired of this.”
Marshall brightened, adding, “We can call it Portion Size Me.”
The “kid-driven” plan then became a family project as they developed YouTube videos of his meals to share with his father in Iraq. By accident it seems, Marshall developed quite an online following and in time, the kid was fielding calls from producers at CNN and The Nate Berkus Show. A literary agent eventually came a running over too and now, at only 12 years old, Marshall is a published author of Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthy Family. Co-written with his mother, Marshall reportedly has penned a 110 low-fat alternative recipes along with facts about nutrition.
Not only has Marshall dropped the weight through dietary choices, but he’s also busy promoting his own brand — a kid taking charge of his own health. Call him a Jamie Oliver junior if you like, but initiatives by kids (who have the means) to make these changes is perhaps just what the child obesity epidemic needs.