Sunday, September 17, 2006

Suffer the Little Children

Over at Big Fat Blog Paul has posted about The International Conference on Obesity in Sydney.
There was an interesting piece that Emily sent over from AFP. It claimed that girls as young as age 5 are worried about their weight. Instead of fostering a more supportive environment for all body types, however, Andrew Hill from Leeds University instead suggests a "modest" weight loss. For 5-year-olds.

Simply amazing! How utterly irresponsible to suggest that five-year olds diet at all! The study that came out of UC Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health in 2004 stated very clearly that dieting before you are fully grown sets you up to yo-yo ever higher and higher for life! That girls who diet before they are 14 are more likely to end up obese. That anyone who has been on three diets and isn't thin needs to stop now because they are never going to get thin this way, they are only going to get fatter.

Joanne Ikeda, co-director of UC Berkeley's Center for Weight & Health and lead author of the study stated that there is "growing evidence that repeated dieting adversely affects the body's metabolism, and that dieting before puberty disrupts the body's normal development."

Among those who began dieting before age 14, 84 percent said they weren't able to maintain any permanent weight loss. This compares with 67 percent of those who started dieting at age 14 or later.

These people can't not know this, any more than R.J. Reynolds doesn't know that tobacco is both addicting and fatal. Anything to turn a profit!

And think how much money they can make off of someone who starts dieting at 5! And how depressed she will be as her ability to lose weight as an adult is lower than it was when she was a little girl. If it takes three diets as a teen to set you up as a life long customer for these creeps, how many do you suppose it takes for a five-year old? What do you want to bet they already know?

And perhaps the most frightening thing about this was when I googled for an image of a "chubby child" and the pictures that came up were not of heavy children at all.

13 comments:

mrs. incredible said...

She looks about as 'fat' as any little girl that age should look. There is so much I could say regarding this topic. But I would probably used too much space.
This is beyond sad. Beyond sad that we are exploiting children & their bodies even farther, all in the name of a buck. The whole cycle is very elaborately constructed: TV/video games/computers is more prevalent, marketing of fatty, sugar ridden foods, recess AND extra-curricular activities taken away from many schools, which leads to inactive children who do not work off all of that sugar, flour and fat. Then, after you've blown the kids up to 'record' weights, now let's get them started on diets at the age of 5. And keep an unhealthy cycle going for the rest of their lives.
Scary. Very scary.

Deja Pseu said...

I never can lose my sense of outrage over this. I started dieting at 13 (and 103 lbs!) and have no doubts that my now stable weight is higher than it would have been had I never yo-yo'd through my teens and twenties (with bouts of anorexia, bulemia, and several years of life-devouring obsession with food and weight thrown in for good measure).

Sure I see more kids who are heavier today. But the answer isn't to put them on diets! In an era when budget deficits are resulting in elimination of P.E. classes and maintenance of playgrounds and equipment, school lunches are devoid of nutrition, where kids schools are too far for them to walk or bike (or where they live in neighborhoods where it's not safe to do so) and where no one in the family has time to cook, the very last thing that's going to be effective is sending 5 year olds to Weight Watchers!

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, and here in LA we're peppered with ads and billboards with the slogan "Childhood Obesity: Don't Take It Lightly" and compares being fat to an epidemic of a fatal illness, which I have to believe will only have the effect of shaming and stigmatizing the kids even further, and we all know what an effective weight loss tool humiliation is...NOT.

Lorna said...

It makes me cry. My granddaughter who is 10, is just like her mum and dad were at her age, chubby one month, tall and rangy the next, and her self-image suffers. When my girls were small, I read and thanked God for a book called Reviving Ophelia that helped me understand how important it is to reinforce your children's self-image while not limiting it to actual "image".

Maya's Granny said...

Healthy, normal children change in size all the time because they have small stomachs. They are unable to eat enough during a growth spurt to sustain it, so they gain ahead of time to have some stores to call on. (It is like baby birds, who are actually larger than their parents just before they learn to fly. The flying is so calorie intense that they need the extra parts of an ounce to be able to do it and not die!) A child gaining weight is more often than not a sign that child is getting ready to gain height!

Mousie said...

oh dear, that's things I know so well!!!parents wanted slim chidren to be proud of, mum saying : no , buy the navy blue dress, it's darker, you look thiner !!!and now I'm a short plumpie mousie, not ashamed of what she is...children must have a good health, a healthy
body means a thin one, a slim one or a plumpier one...as long as you run and play and laugh...
Mousie, go to my blogs you'll see some of my clothes!!!in the french village...

Charis (UK) said...

Andrew Hill is a psychologist, not a nutritionist. How much does he know about the body's need for storing fat? Guess what he is involved in now?
"The Inpatient Treatment of anorexia nervosa: Elucidating the links between process and outcomes."
Set em up young and have a captive clientele for years!
Leeds University is 164 miles from here. Maybe I should pop up there and check his body mass index...

Joy Des Jardins said...

That little girl is adorable J. I would hardly categorize her as obese. How can we do this to children? It's frightening....enough!

Maya's Granny said...

I went looking for a picture of a chubby child, and this was the most chubby of those I was offered. I didn't ask for obese or fat -- I'm sure I would have been offered something more if I had. The thing that bothers me is that this child isn't, by my standards, chubby. And none of the others on that ten pages were, either. We are really lowering our standards for chubby kids.

J said...

I remember seeing something in my child rearing books about if your child was above the 'healthy' weight range for their height. They didn't suggest any kind of 'diet' or weight loss at all. They suggested playing outside with your child more often, and feeding them healthier foods, and letting them grow into their weight. That sounds like a much more sensible solution to me. Then again, the author of the book wasn't trying to sell any kind of diet product.

kenju said...

She is nowhere near fat. I am appalled at the current idea that anyone with a little meat on her bones is fat. You know I wrote about that last week, I think. I believe that children who are putting on too much weight should be given choices of foods that are better nutrition and encouraged to exercise and play outdoors, not diet. That is ludicrous.

Jill said...

I am so sick of this weight business I can't even begin to tell you. Imagine my shock and revulsion to find that my own personal comedic deity, Marc Maron, has been infected with L.A.-itis and has now been reduced to putting fat jokes into his stand-up act. He actually calls for "fat monitors" who will come up to you in restaurants and say, "We're not going to do that, are we?"

I don't know about you, but I rarely see fat people, outside of those who eat fast food because it's cheap and it's what they can afford, pigging out in public. Fat has become a disease of shame, and those who overeat do it in secret.

Ally Bean said...

*sigh*

this is not good. i think that little girl looks perfect. dieting lunacy knows no end.