We’re all much too familiar with the finger-pointing at games being “overly violent”. Now they’re coming under fire in a big way for another reason: overweight kids.

In New Mexico, the Sierra Club is lobbying for passage of legislation that would stick a 1 percent sales tax on televisions and video games for “outdoor education programs”. Maybe SC donations have been down lately?

Over in Britain, they have a 372-million-pound program to fight obesity. Part of that is to develop tools to moderate time playing games and/or watching TV by kids.

So are kids spending too much time on games? Probably, but that’s something their parents are supposed to control. And complaints about kids doing computer games instead of “healthy, outdoor stuff” aren’t much different than those that were aimed at television in an earlier era.

What no one seems to be looking at – at least so far as I know – is what are these kids eating? Are they pigging out on Mars bars while playing Wow? Are they stuffing themselves with chips while playing Halo 3?

Then there are the “regular meals”. What are kids eating at the table, and how big are those portions? Where do they eat lunch? The local hamburger joint? The pizzeria? The school cafeteria?

And the parents, what about them? How much are they eating? Are they chowing down on junk food while glued to the TV/computer/PDA/cellphone? If so, great role models there.

There’s been a lot in the media for some time about the obesity problem in America, and not just among kids who may play video games. It seems that too many people lack self-control, self-discipline, and don’t understand the concept of “moderation”.

The food industry isn’t helping. You know I don’t watch TV, but I do catch glimpses sometimes on my brother’s set. One of those glimpses was an IHOP commercial for “all you can eat pancakes”. Just what we need, on top of super-premium ice cream, “hungry man” dinners, and super-sized fast food.

What we really need are careful and objective studies of what kids and their parents are eating on a regular basis. It wouldn’t surprise me if we learned that much of the “overweight kid” problem comes not from sitting and playing games, but from what’s going into their mouths every day.

Of course, that’s too much like work, and it’s so much easier to bash game playing. After all, everyone else is doing it these days.

Anti-Obesity Scheme on mcvuk.com

New Mexico mulls game tax on joystiq