Prime Minister: You know Natalie who works here?
Annie: The chubby girl?
Prime Minister: Ooh, would we call her chubby?
Annie: I think there’s a pretty sizeable arse there, yes, sir. Huge thighs.
From “Love Actually”
I’m opening the windows, airing out the blog, and writing about something other than doom, gloom and sickness. You were awesome with the advice and thank you so much for your well wishes. The body is back and I’m movin’ on. But I’m still looking for your feedback. This time on childhood obesity.
Michelle Obama, who has launched an initiative to fight childhood obesity, came under fire from eating disorder groups last week when she said she’d put her daughters on a diet because their doctor and their father thought they were getting “chubby.” (Here’s a link to the Huffington Post’s “Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Controversy”)
Chubby. Ouch. Not a fan of that word, particularly when it pertains to children. I’m sure Mrs. Obama didn’t mean it to hurt her children, but having been called “chubby” (and its numerous synonyms) more than a few times in my life, I know it can hurt no matter what the intention of the speaker is. While I didn’t develop an eating disorders, “chubby” did create a whole lot of self-doubt, some of which is still alive and well today. Seems to me there must be a better way to discuss weight concerns with children without using “chubby.” I also have a problem with putting kids on a “diet” per se. But I digress.
Name-calling is never a motivator, obviously, so what is the solution to childhood obesity? I saw this on Yahoo today and wanted to know, particularly if you’re a parent, if you believe these findings seem valid: 3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Thin.
The study showed that 4-year-olds who ate with their families at least five nights a week, got at least 10.5 hours of sleep each night, and watched less than 2 hours of television or DVDs a day were 40 percent less likely to become obese. To me, that sounds reasonable, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had little ones in the house. My children are 25 and almost 27. When I was a young mom, there were fewer demands on my time and personal space, and fewer options. My children played only a few sports, television options were limited, fast and convenient foods weren’t as prevalent, computers weren’t mainstays in anyone’s home, and video games were only found in an arcade, unless you had Atari, which I couldn’t afford.
Times have changed and so have obesity levels. And while I’m disappointed in the first lady’s choice of words, I hope it won’t take the spotlight off the problem of childhood obesity. Being so many years removed from parenting young children, I’m really not in tune with the demands of the 21st century family and won’t presume that the answers are as simple as eating together, getting adequate sleep and limiting television, or if they are, that they are easy to implement.
That’s why I’d like your feedback. What do you think the solutions are to childhood obesity and have you implemented changes into your family life?