Child abuse coated in fat

Is it wrong to call obese children "fat?" Is it politically incorrect to even pose such a question?

"Don't Call My Kid Fat! Parents Want Doctors to Talk About 'Unhealthy Weight'" reminds us of seriously alarming statistics in America. One in every three children is overweight. If our odds at the blackjack table were so high, we'd all clear out Vegas. At the rate we are going, I bet we'll up it to every 1.5 out of 3 in just a few years (if not sooner).

The article written by Bonnie Rochman (Sept 28, 2011) states that "Mom and Dad recoil when doctors describe their children as 'fat' or 'obese.'" Why do you think that is? They recoil when they hear the words fat and obese but they don't recoil when they serve food to their kid that's coated in bad decision making?

Why do we have to even classify levels of obesity? It's as if the word obesity has become tolerable and the "morbidly" obese is the crowd we should worry about. I'm not a parent - let me be upfront with that information - however, if a doctor tells a parent that their child is overweight, fat or obese shouldn't the concern be the weight and not the clinical terminology associated with their weight?

Fat. Big boned. Obese. Chunky. Chubby. Overweight. Rotund.
No matter what you call it or how gently you put it, more than 12.5 million children and adolescents ranging from 2 - 19 years old are overweight according to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. I hope the fact that 2-year-old children are even mentioned confuses you as much as it does me. Isn't that just too young to be fat? Since the 1980s, the study also found that childhood obesity has almost tripled.

Now, with all that being said, should we focus on the perception of fatness or address the issue? Additionally, is childhood obesity a form of child abuse? Bonnie Rochman wrote "Should Parents Lose Custody of Their Extremely Obese Kids?" Should they?

I have to say that the average American McLifestyle faces serious challenges because it's easier to pick up fast food than cook, it's cheaper (up front - not in the long run) to buy a cheap dinner for the family and since so many Americans are used to the lifestyl that it's got to be tough to readjust priorities to include cooking, food shopping (for healthy items) and discerning the difference between what is cheap now is ultimately going to cost billions in the long run (and maybe cost a life here and there.) Many of families have succumbed to unhealthy habits. I do think it's unfair for overweight kids to develop dangerously unhealthy habits though.

According to approximately 300,000 adult deaths in the United States each year are attributable to unhealthy dietary habits and physical activity or sedentary behavior. If obesity and nutritional deficiency does cause death ... shouldn't we be a bit more concerned with it instead of the cushioning the blow?

Plus, in terms of childhood obesity, isn't it safe to assume their classmates are probably not as delicate with the wording or name calling? Kids can be pretty ruthless to each other.

I once heard someone compare pregnant women at a bar drinking to families feeding their grossly overweight children McDonalds. Social stigmas against pregnant drinkers are entrenched in our societal beliefs. We frown upon it, we publicly shame women who have beautiful pregnant bellies and are endangering their unborn child. Yet, if we see parents feed their already fat kids grossly unhealthy food, isn't it strange some of us overlook this form of abuse? Sure, it's not a developing fetus but it is a developing child. I wish I could remember who said it to me ... the name and face have since faded into my memory but I do remember the person mentioning it. It made sense to me because both activities by parents are destructive for their children's physical and mental well being. One is more "acceptable" than the other yet both are dangerous.

We all have our own opinions. Personally I don't think that cushioning the terminology touches the real issue at hand. No matter if we use the word "fat" or "obese" or "overweight" there is still a deeper issue that ought to be addressed. I think it's unfair for kids to grow up in a lifestyle that may ultimately kill them. They way we live each day - the small decisions we make are sometimes are our biggest decisions when you think about it. If each time we are hungry, we reach for unhealthy food then that one meal is just another step toward obesity. I don't advocate for unhealthy eating no matter the person's weight. Skinny people can be as unhealthy as an obese person. I would never deny that nutritional deficiency takes many forms.

We spend more than $33 billion each year on weight-loss products and services in America. If only we didn't need that money for weight-loss and could designate it toward something like homelessness, tax cuts, economic stimulus, school funding, etc.

It's tough to shift paradigms. Maybe we are just fish swimming in McWater ... we can't see that our world is immersed in so many opportunities for unhealthy living that we aren't able to decipher what is good for us. I hope that isn't the case but clearly for some ... it is.
Are you able tell the difference?

Additional Resources:

by Sora Song of TIME Magazine

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