Do fat kids make fat adults?

I saw a photograph recently on Facebook of a girl I knew from school.  I was a bit taken aback by how big she was.  I really should not have been so surprised as she was really big at school.

Let’s not use euphemisms, she was fat, and she is now a fat adult.  Fat is not a nice word.  I think “overweight” is the more politically correct term.

When I was at school I was supersized skinny.  If it was not for my hips, my head would have fallen through my arse.   I ate a fair amount, but I was really skinny – knobbly knees skinny in fact.

I inherited the height and build from my paternal side of the family, my maternal side are more squat in build.  Both my brothers and I are quite tall – not giraffe tall – but tall enough.

That being said, we did not exactly have access to huge amounts of food on demand when we were kids.  We entertained ourselves was by running around all day – so I guess it was a combination of factors.  The food coming in, the type and the amount versus the energy we were expending.

I hated being skinny and I got mercilessly taunted at school.    Kids are mean.  You put them in a peer group and they become a mob.  They look for the one they can pick on – for anything.  Body size – either side of “normal” is usually targetted.

When I was at school there was normally 1 kid in the class who was fat – maybe one in the grade.

You can always remember that kid.  It would often be the kid who was really funny, or the kid who really was a bully.  This kid would be the “butt” of nearly ever joke.

I cannot believe that these taunts do not affect a child’s sense of who they are and how the world sees them.  It must be devastating to be “the fat kid.”

When I drop my kids (especially Connor) at school I have noticed that the kids on average are big.  Not big-boned, but fat.  There are still a few skinny kids, and some “average” weighted kids, but there are a lot of kids who are just fat.

At a glance {and this is not a scientific study} I estimate it is about 20 % of the grade of the kids at my son/daughter’s school who are really big/fat/over weight kids.

The buttons on their shirts take a little strain, and the girls pinafore’s belt just just closes.  The have two little chins, and their legs are solid – one straight line, no real definition in terms of knees and ankles.  Usually their parents are big/fat/over weight ….. usually, but not always.

I am convinced that the size of a child has nothing to do with how many McDonald’s there are in your neighbourhood, or what thier highest score is on your Playstation, it comes down to what that child eats.  And if we are going to point fingers, what his parents are feeding him.

I often look at these kids and I think “what future is ahead of you?  Life is rough for everyone,  but for a fat kid, it must be excruciating!”

If you are fat when you are 6 or 10 years old, what will your weight and your health be at 20 or 25?  What is the stress on your joints and your body, and imagine all the running around and playing you are missing because you cannot keep up.

My guess is that unless your parents climb in now, with reckless abandon, that child is going to be a fat child, and then a fat teen and then a fat adult.

If one more person tells me their child is big-boned, I am going to smack them up the side of the head.

I think it is easy to blame society, the prevalence of fast foods, the more sedentary lifestyle we lead, global warming, or what ever.  But, as parents we really need to stop being “child blind” and see our kids for the weight they are – and our contribution to the problem.

As parents it is so easy to shrug your shoulder and sigh “what can I do, he really likes his food” but maybe that is not enough.

Possibly I am the only person who find “fat kids” really offensive – and a sign of questionable parenting – and feels sorry for how difficult their teenage years are going to be.

Being at school is brutal, and why as a parent would you knowingly add another factor which makes it difficult for a child to fit in.  It is a bit like painting a target on your child’s back and sending them out into the woods, with hunters about.