From Helena - 03/04/01  Click here to reply  
Hello all you parents.I'm a 15 year old girl and I stumbled across this site when I was doing research for a project on childhood obesity. I've been looking over all your posts and this page in general and I've come to find myself very frusterated.I don't think this site is very healthy, espeshally the stories on the site which have an implied promise that if a child loses weight he (or she) will not get teased and will have friends. That's not true. Kids are most likly going to get teased and if not for being fat for being too tall or short or having glasses or whatever.I also do not appriciate (or appove) of this site because of the way it promotes thiness. I think the people who made this site had healthyness in mind for all children, but I feel they went about it from the wrong apporache.I feel you parents are going about it from the wrong way as well. I do not think you should be so obesessive about your children being 'thin' or 'normal weight' and limiting their food. You should let them eat however much they want just have most of that stuff be food that's healthy for them (fruits, veggies, ect) and make sure the exercise. It does not matter how thin they get or if they eat only half of what they were eatting before (like this site segests) they can be fat and healthy. Teach them to enjoy themselves for who they are which includes their weight. I do not think you want a bunch of eating disorded children. Also for those of you with older kids and teens ask them how they feel. They might actually like being overweight and enjoy themselves. Just remember it's not about how thin your kids are but if they are healthy and happy.if you have any comments about my post feel free to e-mail me TheFatLittleGirl@aol-just a girl speaking out for kids everywhere
Reply from Nicole, Child's Age 14 - 12/16/02  - IP#:
I so agree with what you had to say Helena...I kno alot of people who r chubby or even obese and they have lots of friends and also have a good thinking bout the way they r and most say "well, i guess i was meant to be like this"...You have a very true way of thinking about the whole thing, good luck - Nicole:)
Reply from Susan, Child's Age 9 - 03/16/01 
I can see both sides of this subject. I think many times children dont worry about their looks until we as adults tell them to. We seem to have this "Barbie" mentality that if a child is overweight , they wont fit in or be popular. It was this kind of thinking that made me think twice about even allowing my girls to have Barbie dolls. I didnt want them struggling to be thin & gorgeous and perfect. I want them to be happy & healthy. I think that is the goal of many parents, we just want our children to be happy & healthy. When we see a pattern developing, we want to help them before it becomes a problem. My daughter started gaining weight when she turned 8, she is not obese but she has rolls in places other children do not. She is selfconscious about showing her belly because of it. She is an absolutely beautiful girl and she is so sweet and kind. The day some other child hurts her feelings because of her weight will crush her. We have never told her she is overweight. But because both her father and I are seriously overweight, we can see the effects quite easily and want to help her avoid what we have gone through. We stress healthy eating & some sort of activity. But we dont forbid sweets or treats because that only causes them to be more desirable in the child's thinking.
So I dont see any parent that is concerned about a child's weight as a bad thing. I think the way it is approached & handled could go either way though. Many kids with eating disorders have them because somewhere someone stressed that they were overweight or pushed how important it is to be thin. That is damaging and any parent that goes that far should be ashamed of themselves. Kids die from anorexia and similar conditions.
It is our job as parents to nuture our children. It is not only with food, it is the whole body, emotionally, mentally & physically. We have quite the responsibility on our hands !
So I applaud those who are trying and encourage them to keep trying to help their children. But I agree to keep it all in balance and focus on what is important.
The overall health and happiness of the child.
Reply from Sue, Child's Age 12 - 03/11/01 
I think what you fail to appreciate is that as parents our job is to worry and carry for our children and that includes their health. We would be lousy parents if we weren't concerned that they were eating well and not over-eating. I agree with your comments about people promoting thinness and that that is wrong - and society is as much to blame as anyone - but I don't think anyone on the parents forum has ever said they want their child to be thin, just not overweight. People are writing in with very real and justified concerns. In my particular case my daughter came to me with her concerns, although I didn't think she was particularly overweight - although she was actually probably about 20 pounds overweight at that time. She certainly wasn't getting teased but she was getting self-conscious about wearing a bathing suit etc and she was less fit than other 'thinner' children. The difference in her general health, fitness and disposition has been remarkable since she lost the weight. Nothing wrong with that. I can tell her 100 tmes that she is a pretty girl and she has lovely hair and a nice nature etc etc but if she feels fat then she feels fat and I can either ignore her concerns or help her to lose weight sensibly with sensible eating. We set a realistic goal, which she is very nearly at, but when she reaches the goal she certainly won't be 'thin' because that probably isn't her natural build. I wish that our society in general didn't promote thinness as it does - every magazine cover, every TV show etc etc, but unfortunately that is the way it is. Of course, as you say, exercise is important and our children must be exercising more and I think there is more exercise in schools today, or certainly in my daughter's school. We can all cite examples of fat healthy people who are very happy like that - and good luck to them - but I can also think of examples of people that have suffered heart disease, diabetes due to a weight problem. Encouraging your child to eat healthily is very tricky and a very fine line needs to be drawn between advising and helping them or bullying them to such a degree that they develop an eating disorder. A lot of parents have written into the parents section specifically concerned about their children's weight but stressing that they don't want to let their children know they are putting them on a diet in case they encourage an eating disorder. As parents there are all sorts of ways we can help our children eat healthily without them realising. I am not talking about 'limiting their food' but offering them lower fat and more nutritious food. Some of the youngsters writing into the teens section of the forum clearly don't have a weight problem at all, except in their own minds, but many of them do and it disturbs me that they are writing into a forum about it and not approaching their parents for support because the people replying to these problems aren't professionals. I agree with you that I think the origial idea of this website was to promote healthy eating and somewhere along the way it has become a shoulder for confused youngsters to cry on but they are supporting each other and swapping e-mail addresses and that can't be wrong.