It is alive and well in suburbia. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe it. Parents you are responsible for the options your child has.
I was at the pool the other day with my children and I saw an adorable little girl who looked about 4-years-old and weighed around 60 pounds. She wasn’t super tall; she was tiny so that is why I noticed her immediately. She was portly and it wasn’t just a little baby fat, she looked well on her way to obesity and that is what concerned me the most. I know people can come in all shapes and sizes and still be healthy but this little girl was breathing heavy just from walking and that doesn’t seem healthy to me.
I have two little girls and I know that weight fluctuates and kids have baby fat that they outgrow but this child had a substantial amount of weight to lose and she was so young that I was alarmed for her health. Before you get mad at me for discussing a child’s weight, know now that I am not talking trash about this child. I feel sorry for her because 1) it’s not her fault. A child’s diet is not her own responsibility at that age. 2) I know what it’s like to be overweight and have to lose weight and it is not fun or easy, for anyone. 3) Just the fact that she is so overweight, will make her an easy target at a young age for bullies. NO, that is not fair and I wish the world wasn’t like this but it is.
When children are small, their parents are responsible for what they eat, how much they eat and when they eat it. Sure, there are instances where children have a medical condition or have to take medication for a condition that causes weight gain but I think a lot of the time, it can be attributed to lazy parenting. Not all of the time, of course but there are definitely times when it’s easier to just give in. Giving in to kids who want to eat the chips and cookies rather than have the fight about eating the healthier options. I am not saying kids shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy snacks and sweets occasionally, I am saying everything in moderation.
Children are a lot more tech savvy than they used to be. There is a lot more tech available to use. When it’s hot outside, a lot of kids would rather lay on the couch playing Minecraft in the air conditioning than go outside and ride their bikes. Kids these days have access to 600 channels, endless amounts of songs on Spotify, movies on Netflix and games on the computer. Even if they are educational games and movies, it equals children who sitting on their butts a lot more of the time than they are moving around.
Pair all of that sitting around with fast food this, greasy that and super-sized everything plus soda and chips and preservatives and dyes and you have children who are moving less and eating more, more junk and less clean, organic food. Kids are eating out of boredom and mindlessly eating while sitting in front of the television. It doesn’t help that we live in a society where clean food is priced so high that you have to donate a kidney to provide safe, healthy food for your children to eat. As parents, we have got to stop this cycle before the entire world is morbidly obese and the average life span is 50.
This little girl didn’t just gain all that weight over night, none of us do. It happened over time. This little girl is also, sadly, not an anomaly, I see lots of overweight children. I’m not perfect and neither is my family. We make bad choices sometimes and I’ve had to work really hard to make sure that my kids don’t just exist on chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and popsicles. It’s a lot of work raising children to be healthy and teaching them to make the right choices even when I am not around. It takes diligence, commitment and hard-work.
It gets frustrating and sometimes you just want to give in and sometimes you can. But as a parent, you can’t give in every time your child wants something because even though that might be the easy choice right now and it might make them happy, right now, in the long run you could be teaching them to make the wrong choices and to over indulge in things that are bad for them.
I’m not writing this post because I think it’s fun to point out that a little girl is overweight. I am writing this post because I know where this road of unhealthy leads. Eventually, people will make fun of her for being overweight. Kids are cruel. Then she will begin to slowly believe that if only she could lose a few pounds, she could be happy ( which is NOT true by the way), then she might develop low self-esteem, body dysmorphic disorder and maybe even suffer from eating disorders in search of the illusive bikini bridge and the thigh gap. She might spend the rest of her life hating her body and worse than all of that she could develop heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and several other diseases as a result of being obese since childhood. Then you die.
I’m not saying this little girl needs to be skinny. I am saying that her mother needs to step in and do something before her weight becomes an out of control problem that she has to live with for the rest of her life. Her mother needs to take responsibility for her daughter. Our children need to be healthy and it’s our responsibility as parents to give them every opportunity and tool to do so.
Do you think letting our children become obese makes us bad parents?
Update: I am fully aware that I don’t know this child or her mother or their particular situation. When I saw them by the sign, it made me think about parenting choices. We all make mistakes and none of us are perfect but we have to try.