Dangerous DietI am outraged at the Aug. 25 article...


September 12, 1994

Dangerous Diet

I am outraged at the Aug. 25 article regarding "strict diets" for children. The diet laid out by Dr. Robert Suskind, one consisting of 600 to 800 calories a day diet for a child, should immediately be recognized as dangerous.

In fact, Dr. Suskind himself admitted later in the article that children who had been placed on this diet "had growth rates slightly below normal." Yet he contended that the diet was "safe when used under a doctor's supervision."

How can any diet that could possibly affect a child's growth be deemed as "safe?"

A diet of 800 calories a day is starvation. Whether or not a child is obese is irrelevant. Anyone subjected to such a severe restriction of calories will suffer from hunger. In my opinion, this diet is nothing less than torture.

The seriousness of child obesity is repeatedly mentioned throughout this article. What I consider to be an even more serious problem is our society's obsession with weight loss. It is clearly not just a health problem. Now we seem to be shamelessly inflicting our weight-watching, fat-reducing reducing culture on our children.

If health was really the concern here, our doctors would not be focusing on the health risks of being "overweight," but rather on the more serious health problems that arise from constant dieting and habitual caloric restriction.

It is much more healthy to be "overweight" and maintain that weight with moderate exercise than it is to be compulsively dieting, an unfortunate pattern that most Americans have fallen into and one that is continually endorsed by the media in articles such as this one.

It is time that we recognize the true dangers of dieting. Self-esteem is most certainly not gained through weight loss. A child needs to feel loved and accepted at any weight.

An obese child who sheds some pounds will not emerge a confident individual, as the article seems to imply. We must recognize as a society that we are oppressing these children with our cruel diets and our inability to embrace them as humans and not simply fatty organisms that need to be "fixed.`

Claire Mysko



On Aug. 27 The Sun ran an article regarding the University of Maryland's recognition of ''domestic partners.'' Recognition of ''domestic partners'' is not an educational policy issue for the university but a political and social one for all citizens.

What The Sun article did not say was that the original ''domestic partners'' resolution did not pass the College Park Campus Senate unopposed. As a member of the Senate, I and several faculty and staff spoke against these resolutions, and it took two contentious meetings for the resolutions to pass.

The article did not say that few states have adopted ''domestic partners'' as policy. While advocates have much promoted the 25 or so colleges that offer ''domestic partners'' benefits, nationally they represent about one-half of 1 percent of all 3,601 institutions of higher education. This does not indicate a national wave of acceptance. The two states to the south, Virginia and North Carolina, have considered and rejected ''domestic partners'' for extension of benefits in their higher education system.

Recognition of ''domestic partners'' is a political and social statement with implication far beyond the benefits proposed. Providing spousal benefits for heterosexual non-married couples is actually condoning co-habitation and removing the stigma of out-of-wedlock births which reduces marriage to the status of mere preference. Making legal marriage a mere preference is not something we want our public institutions to promote.

While the extension of benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples is one social policy issue, another is the recognition of gay and lesbian life-styles as being of equal value to society as marriage. While America is a tolerant nation in which individual choice is protected, it is a leap of logic to say that public and private good is promoted though endorsing and sponsoring unconventional life choices.

I would urge all concerned citizens to write to George McGowan, chair of Regents, University of Maryland System, Adelphi, Md. 20783 and express their opinion.

A. Lawrence Lauer


The writer is a member of the UMCP Senate and Senate Executive Committee.

No Raises

This letter is in reference to Aug. 19 article concerning the recommended raise in salaries for city officials. The recommended raise for the mayor alone would cover the salaries of two laid-off city employees.

I am infuriated with the insensitivity of any city official who would even consider accepting a raise at a time when people are losing their jobs and important benefits.

Just recently the mayor has made unwise decisions concerning top city school officials, while other employees were being laid off.

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