Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preventing Childhood Obesity Creates More Problems Than It Solves

     I'm fat.  I have been since I was a child.  I can tell you now that during health class, when the text book showed pictures of large people and talked about how this was a preventable, unhealthy condition, it did not make me want to lose weight or exercise more.  Instead, it allowed other kids to tease me.  It caused my teachers to not look me in the eye during those classes.  It made me feel bad about myself. It made me feel insecure, less of a member of society, and it made me sad. 

    Recently, people are all jumping on the "beat childhood obesity" bandwagon.  They are walking into classrooms and talking about childhood obesity.  But they can't look the fat kids in the eye.  They don't realize that this discussion flings the doors open wide for bullying.  It actually encourages students to treat the fat kids poorly.  And it makes those kids hurt.  

     There is all kinds of media against bullying recently.  But, in the same tone we are teaching kids that there is something fundamentally wrong with their larger classmates.  And if there is something wrong with them, what do kids do?  They treat them poorly.

     Why can't we just encourage health?  Talk about fun ways to get exercise.  Talk about a balance between eating what we like and eating junk.  Why do we have to single people out?  Why do we have to make larger kids feel bad about themselves?  Why do we have to make smaller kids so concerned about their weight that they crash diet and form eating disorders?

     This came to me today because I subbed in a Pre-School class.  Several 3 and 4 year olds told me that I was obese and I would die soon.  One girl said, "You seem nice, but teacher said only bad people have fat bellies."  I am sure that is not quite what the teacher said, but it's the message that came across at "Prevent Childhood Obesity Day".

   In the process of "preventing" childhood obesity, I wonder how many kids went home and cried themselves to sleep tonight? 

Some great info at this website,

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