The Press Democrat published a database that depicts how each North Bay school compares against the national average in regards to the physical test conducted last year. You can view it here: http://bit.ly/11snn5U
And while the focus on the articles were the health risks of our kids, the word "obese" and "fat" were regarded, by some, as dirty words. One commenter in particular wrote: "Do you know how much damage you are going to do to these kids telling them they are obese? Next thing you know we are going to have all these "SKINNY" kids with mental problems!"
How do you broach the subject of health with a child who has exceeded the levels of what's considered to be a healthy weight? Do you discuss it with them? Are you concerned that by mentioning it, it will only hurt them worse? What's the right way to handle obesity and children?
My best friend struggled with weight all through school (elementary up), and it was always an issue with her. She was never "fat" to me, but by health standards she was "obese." No body called her fat, but she always felt that way. Growing up as a teen and then as an adult, she was so self conscious about weight that she tended to over exercise to extremes, in efforts to loose weight. At one point her body was giving out on her (knees) and she was still going. It's only now in our mid-30's that she realizes what she's done and has regulated her diet and exercise and is finally healthy and happy at where she is.
At one visit to the dr in recent years, I was told I was obese. I was wearing a size 16. I was so horrified and so self conscious. And I was an adult. I can only imagine being told that as a child, when my ego was so fragile and developing.
I think these tests the school does, a lot of the time make the kids feel bad about themselves. Too fat, too skinny, you can't do pull ups. It's all labels. And I don't know if they still do it in front of the whole class, like they did when I was in school, but that just makes it even more embarrassing, and adds fuel for other kids. Some body types just will NEVER be skinny. I have one of those. Because of my height, my weight has to be at 101-136 pounds to be in the normal BMI. I have not been 135 pounds since I was in high school and before I really developed. I have very heavy, mass filled boobs, and they probably account for about 15-20 pounds, no joke. If I got down to 136 pounds, which is the HEAVY side of normal for my height, I would look unhealthy.
Based on my son's height, he should weigh 46 - 60 pounds. He weighs 36. He's been 36 pounds for the last 3 years. He's just tall and lanky like his dad, but I will be severely offended if someone were to tell me to feed him, he's underweight (like they told one of my friends about her son). He eats non-stop, he just is active and has that body type.
I understand they want kids to be healthy. But labeling them isn't the way to do it. Bring PE back as mandatory for EVERY YEAR of school. I think the BMI standards are unrealistic. We base too much on weight, "skinny" doesn't mean you are healthy. I think that it can be really hurtful to bring something like that up. "Honey, you are at an unhealthy weight?" No matter how you try to say it, it's going to sound like - YOU'RE FAT! to the kid. It's a tough situation, but I think maybe subliminal conditioning or activities. Blame it on yourself - I need to eat healthier, so I'm making everyone eat healthy. (It sucks if one person is on a " healthy diet" and nobody else is.) I need to go for a walk, would you please keep me company? Making them do errands or chores that are active. If you make them live an active lifestyle, then they are more likely to keep active on their own.