You Have a Fat Kid, Should you be concerned?

There is a lot of pressure is being put on all of us to be thin. The pressure to be thin affects thousands of adults and teens. But what about kids?  Does it matter if your kid is chubby? Should you worry if your kid is heavier than his or her peers? Knowing about the advantages being thin grant you should we pressure kids to be skinny? If so, what can you as a parent do about it? Should you put a kid on a diet? Should you tell them they are fat kids?

Fat kids make fat adults. Trust me on this one.  I’m fat and have been since childhood. Poor eating habits, established when I was young, have plagued me my entire life. I have tried and failed many times to lose the weight. It would have been a whole lot easier to have never put it on in the first place. It has been the one thing I dislike the most about myself and has been a barrier though out my life.

Childhood Obesity
From Visual.ly

They’re just kids

Women today, especially young women, face unbelievable pressure to be thin. I have two girls and I know the pressures they are going to go through when they get older. Like any parent, I want to shield my girls from that as long as possible. I want them to have fun, enjoy life and worry about how they look, and what others think of them as little as possible.

I also don’t want to set them up for the problems I have experienced.  I’m fat. I was a fat kid, and I am a fat adult. No one told me I was eating poorly as a kid, or how it would affect my life in the future. I just wanted to eat like the aunts, uncles, and cousins around me, who coincidently were also fat. 

They thought it was cute. Maybe they didn’t want to hurt my feelings by pointing out my ever expanding waistline. I know it can be hard to tell some one you love no. Either way, I was me up to fail. 

Bullies

There were a few people had no problem pointing out I was fat. Other kids were cruel. This isn’t really news. Studies have shown being overweight is the most common reason given for bullying. I speak from experience.

Being overweight made me a was a target for bullies for years. I was called names or hit daily. Constantly I was reminded about how I didn’t measure up. That I wasn’t good enough because I was fat. I hated school. Being bullied affected my self-esteem and my grades.

Call it what you want but being overweight, hefty, pleasantly plump, chunky, fat kid isn’t cute. Some will grow out of it but many don’t. This isn’t a problem that we need to hope goes away. This is a problem that we as parents need to proactively address and work to remedy.

 Should our kids be skinny?

I am not saying kids need to be skinny. They need to be healthy. Our attempt to counteract this pressure to be skinny has gone too far. It went from you don’t need to be skinny, to being fat is ok.  Our attempts to stop body shaming have backfired. We have gone too far the other way in our acceptance of unhealthy lifestyles. Big isn’t beautiful. It is unhealthy. Telling our children that it is ok to “be who you are” maybe good for their ego, but it is destroying their lives.

My advice to anyone who thinks their child may not be the appropriate weight is to consult their doctor. A doctor will be able to tell you if your child is the proper weight. The determine this based on many factors such as build, height, and age. You don’t need to push your kids to be skinny, but accepting them being out of shape or overweight isn’t acceptable either. Shoot for a healthy weight. They will thank you as an adult.

Photo credit Joe 13 – FlickrCC
Infographic from Visual.ly

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Bryan Alkire

Bryan is a Stay at Home Dad from Kalamazoo MI. Every day he is lucky enough to experience the joys and struggles of raising his two young girls. His older daughter, a brain tumor survivor, has just started school. His younger daughter is a ball of energy that always keeps him on his toes. He chronicles his adventures with his girls and beautiful wife on his blog www.kzoodad.com. When not watching the girls he plays golf (badly), enjoys craft beer, and working on that book he keeps promising to get done.

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