Fat Kids

Seems like the big argument the fat-haters throw in everyone’s faces is “what about the children?” 

Well, what about the children?

Let’s think about all the changes that may contribute to fatter kids:

When I was a kid, we had physical education every day starting in first grade and continuing through high school.  An hour of exercise a day is really good for you, right?  And believe it or not, I liked phys ed.  For a large part of my life, I did not live near other kids, so this was my chance to actually play games that required more than one person, and to test my own strength and endurance against others.  And while an hour of exercise five days a week may not reduce weight, it will surely make one more fit!

When I was a kid, I could disappear on my bike or on foot all day, and my parents didn’t worry.  That just doesn’t happen much anymore – unless you are lucky enough to live in either a very well-to-do gated community, or somewhere rural.  Anyone living in any kind of a minimally urban setting, can’t just let their kid head off to the park alone, because parks and deserted playgrounds are often gathering places for gangs, and drug users, and drunks, and just a lot of unsavory types you don’t want your kid being alone with.

My parents both worked, so there was no way anybody was going to be able to accompany me when I went out to play.  This is also true today.  As much as parents may love their kids, after a full day of work, they pretty much don’t have the energy to go out and play with their kids, and the ability to live on one income nowadays just doesn’t happen very often. 

I was very fortunate, in that I had a big backyard to play in, but many people no longer have much of a back yard – certainly not one big enough for a kid to run around and blow of steam in.  And a lot of kids live in apartments, condos, townhouses – most of which provide no place for kids to play.

Kids aren’t lazy.  Kids like to play.  Kids like to holler and run around, given the chance.  That’s being a kid.  And that goes for all kids – fat ones too.

Do kids eat crap today?  Sometimes.  Even average sized kids eat crap sometimes.  Grownups eat crap too.  But the thing is most parents do the best they can for their kids at any given time and under their particular circumstances.  Sometimes parents don’t have any other options (because of money or time limitations, for example). 

And you know what, there have always been fat kids.  It’s called diversity.  People come in all kinds of different sizes and appearance.  So it’s not like, OMG, there are suddenly fat kids.  And some of those kids will grow up to be fat, and some won’t, and some of the average sized kids will grow up to be fat and some won’t. 

Are there more fat kids today?  Maybe.  And maybe it’s a result of our changing society, or maybe we’re just bigger than we used to be (ever look at the clothes from the past – those folks were wee). 

Are fat kids less healthy?  Actually, we don’t know, because not much (unbiased) research has been done.  More kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – but that could be because more doctors are testing for it; AND the diagnostic levels for blood glucose levels have been lowered, and lowered, and lowered.  If you change the criteria for the diagnosis of a condition so that more people are within that criteria – it doesn’t mean more people have suddenly come down with the condition.

Stigmatizing fat kids only achieves one thing – it creates fat hatred.  The fat kid learns to hate his or her own body; and the rest of society learns it is okay to hate the fat kid.  How fucked up is that?

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4 thoughts on “Fat Kids

  1. The intensification of stranger-danger isn’t just costing kids fun in the sun. It’s an assumption that has no basis in fact.

    If you look at national numbers for child abduction, the likelihood that a child anywhere — urban or rural — will be abducted in his or her lifetime is dropping.

    The ONE aera of child abduction that is on the rise? Parental abduction related to custody disputes in divorce cases.

    The city streets and rural parks are safer for our nation’s children than they have been. We should encourage them to use their neighborhood parks and courts.

    • You are right that the true danger from strangers has been exagerated. It is so sad that kids are being brought up to fear the “other”, instead of learning how to take care of themselves in certain situations. On the other hand, I can understand the fear parents have of losing their child.

  2. I don’t remember getting much exercise in PE. I remember standing around not being included. And occasionally being asked to do something I couldn’t and then mocked. I think PE did a lot to make me less fit later in life because everything associated with it just makes me want to vomit.

  3. My personal theory about the “obesity epidemic” and the “look at all the fat kids” thing is this…

    Our populations are increasing extremely fast. This means there are more people around in general, and thus there are more visible fat people. And people who worry about the epidemic only notice the fat people, and are blind to the multitudes of normal-sized people around them.

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