To think it's awful the way some people try to justify their children being overweight

(252 Posts)
Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 10:55:58

by saying they just "are tall and big boned" or that they "like their food". And by thinking it's almost a good thing that they're big!

I know two people with overweight children. Person 1 has 4 extremely overweight children. The parents are both tall and overweight, and the kids are all fairly tall, but the mum justifies them being big by saying 'They're just tall and they like their food'. It's clear they like their food, but they're not giants, and regardless of height they are all very overweight. The mum is almost proud of the fact that her children never stop eating. It's quite odd really; she's setting them up for a lifetime of having the piss taken out of them and a lifetime of bad eating habits and potentially bad health. Her eldest child even came came out as overweight on those weight/height ratio tests they do in reception year and she was proud of it because it meant he is tall and loves his food.

Person 2 has one son, who is again extremely overweight and is getting called names at school such as "Fatty". He is 7. She is up in arms about the mickey taking but insists he isn't fat, but that he just loves his food. Again, she is setting him up for the same problems that person one is setting their kids up for.

I know we are all blinkered where our kids are concerned. But surely over something like this some people can see that their children really are overweight?

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 19-Feb-13 11:28:33

So where do I fit in then?
Eldest ds is 13, slim 5f 10 and a rugby player.
Middle ds, 10 is overweight.
Youngest ds 7 is as slim as a rack and he weighed the most at birth.
They all eat the same types of homecooked food and we have no takeways at all.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 19-Feb-13 11:29:31

Person 1 that you describe in your OP sounds like she has issues, and obviously she is not doing the best by her children.

One of my dc is slightly overweight, (the other is very slim) I don't think I try to justify it, but if anyone commented on it to me, I think I would find it hard not to be defensive. He isn't huge, but overweight enough that I have to check trousers to ensure they will fit round his waist before I buy them. I know I feed him a healthy diet, and I know that I provide him with enough opportunity to excercise. He's not a naturally sporty type though, so finding a sport he will fully participate in and enjoy has been a challenge, and it's not one offered at school, or even in many of the more common children's clubs.

I honestly don't know why he is overweight, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, so I would be annoyed if I was automatically judged as a bad parent that was over feeding her child.

Both his Dad and I were children that were overweight, but I slimmed down as soon as puberty kicked in and now I'm a size 10. I'm not sure how much his Dad weighs now, but he is definitely not overweight any more, so I'm not going to freak out with worry over my child.

WhatsTheBuzz Tue 19-Feb-13 11:30:32

strikethrough fail - probably because I was too busy eating peanut butter from the jar.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:31:15

I think a small minority have taken this thread the wrong way.

To clarify, we are talking about parents that feed and feed their kids, are proud of the fact that their kids are large, and don't admit that they are overweight.

HollyBerryBush Tue 19-Feb-13 11:33:48

I think I'd rather see a portly child than a malnourised underweight one. Which is probably more deserving of concern in the long run.

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Feb-13 11:33:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirBoobAlot Tue 19-Feb-13 11:36:13

Over feeding is as dangerous as under feeding.

Access to junk food is a problem, installing thoughts about chocolate etc being rewards just sets up psychological problems with food, and some people get portion size entirely wrong.

HorizonFocus Tue 19-Feb-13 11:40:21

I think we have a lot to learn about the impact of hormones on whether you get fat or not - particularly things like cortisol, which can increase abdominal fat. Also, the blood sugar of pregnant mothers can 'set' a child's appetite before they are even born.

Not just about food choices / exercise.

SilveryMoon Tue 19-Feb-13 11:40:38

YANBU.
I really don't understand how this happens.
My ds's (4 and 5) are huge eaters! I mean they literally never stop eating, but they aren't fat or overweight. They aren't skinny, just look how they are supposed to (I think)
I am overweight but that's because I am a greedy pig. I do a lot of my eating secretly.
I wouldn't say I am obese, I am 5 foot 11 and weigh 15 stone. I'm fat and know that I need to lose weight (I have lost a stone and a bit since September). I have a huge problem with fizzy drinks and chocolate. It's like a proper addiction, like smoking or what I imagine drugs to be like. If I don't have chocolate or fizzy drinks, I become extremely moody, sometimes I shake and very very tired. But I know that all of this is because I have these things in far too big amounts and that this would all stop if I had water and an apple instead.
Anyway, enough about me......
A typical food day for my boys would be
bowl of cereal, yougurt, apple
whatever snacks they have at school/nursery
Ds2 has hot lunch at nursery. Ds1 will have sandwich, chunk of cucumber, some carrot sticks, a handful of raisens a bag of crisps and maybe a packof fruit flakes (or the like)
Then dinner (I normally cook from scratch) so sapg bol/curry/hotpot/lasagne etc and will have 1-2 ladel-fulls and a portion of peas/mixed veg
Then there will be cries of "I'm hungry, can I have something else"
so, A biscuit or cake after dinner, some more fruit but normally 2 pieces (an apple and then grapes), then the breadsticks might have to come out and then I tell them to stop.
To me, this seems like an awful lot of food for such small people, but when faced with cries of we're hungry, not sure what else to do.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:41:49

With friend 1 it's not junk food particularly, she's just not teaching her children to have a stop button. They will often eat 2 or 3 servings at dinner, then pudding. Friend 2 I would say it is more of a junk food thing, although she too allows her son to have unlimited amounts at mealtimes. Meal, pudding, second pudding, toast, ice lolly, and on and on

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 11:43:15

YANBU, but when you have one slightly plump DD who likes her food and one monumentally fussy eater who will happily not bother it's jolly hard.

My DSIS and DMum are very over weight and genuinely don't over eat. I know, therefore that genetics may not be on food loving, sport hating DD1s side.

However, DD2 is fashion conscious enough and strong willed enough that dieting is the last thing I ever want her to contemplate. She does loads of dancing and sport already. Food bores her, always has, she frequently doesn't finish genuinely small portions.

She is absolutely the sort of control freak who could slip very easily into an eating disorder.

WrigglyWorm Tue 19-Feb-13 11:45:32

I agree with the majority of posters but I think its important to state that babies and children are different - babies do need to put weight on. A friend of mine is very slim and was obsessive about keeping her weight low during her pregnancy, to the extent that she dieted to keep to the "pounds you may have gained" chart on some random internet site. Now her baby is 4 months old and on the 10th centile. She shows off about this, says that he is skinny and was going to be a beanpole (neither she nor her partner are tall) She was upset when she felt his cheeks were too "chubby" (not joking!) and said my DS's legs looked fat! (he has those bracelets of fat on him - EBF baby NOT fat but a bit of a lovely chubster)

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:46:32

I also think its more complicated than the op suggests, I'm like catlady1 in that my parents and siblings were slim but I always had to eat more. No idea why really. My 2 tiny friends are very weight aware but both have 3 children who are larger than average. My children are average at the moment, hope it stays that way but sometimes (sometimes) due to luck rather than judgement.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:46:57

YANBU. And I confess I overfed DS when he was a baby.
It was a mixture of ignorance and stupidity, no excuses. I look at pictures of him up to around a year old and feel ashamed of how big I let him get. It took a combination of my MIL, the HV and him starting to walk to make me seebthat he wasn't just a chubby little thing, he was fat.not that you'd know it now though! Mr Tin Ribs eats like a healthy horse and as done since I got my shit together.
The lesson was well earned when I had my Daughters.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:47:49

I think it has a lot to do with portion size too when weaning.

The more food a baby has packed into its stomach, the bigger the stomach will stretch and the more food it will take to fill it/satisfy hunger.

There was a thread last month about kids and breakfast, where someone had casually mentioned her 1yr old baby's typical breakfast was...

"two weetabix, a yoghurt or two, whole banana and sometimes toast"

When I questioned why a 1yr old baby would need all that food when they were clearly too young to exercise it off, I think some people thought I had 2 heads or something confused

But I genuinely couldn't eat all of that in one sitting myself.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:48:07

Well that was a major typing fail..

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:49:04

Natural blonde as I said this isn't a general thread about overweight children, it's about parents that over feed their kids and are proud that they are fat and won't admit there is a problem. Totally different to what you have described!

As per usual for MN people take threads personally and take the thread off at a tangent.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:50:26

Worra, that is exactly the type of parent I was meaning. One that clearly isn't teaching their child to have a stop button. Was the parent in question proud that their child ate that quantity?

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 11:52:28

A family member has a 2 year old that is having to wear age 4 jeans to fit around his waist.

Her excuse is that DS' dad's side of the family are big boned and 'butch'.

Nothing to do with the maryland cookies for breakfast, fruitshoot in hand all day, and gregg's for dinner, then... No no no.

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 11:52:49

People who say "I feed my child a healthy diet so I have no idea why they are fat" - sorry but it is simple. They eat too much and/or don't exercise enough.

There is nothing magic or mysterious about this, it is simply calories in vs. calories out.

Weetabix, milk, yoghurt, toast and bananas might be healthy enough, but as Worraliberty says it to a ridiculous amount of food for a very young child.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:53:29

Well I don't know if she was proud as such

But she did say that if I looked at the weaning section, I'd find that all babies seem to eat mammoth amounts for breakfast.

I didn't look at it because I wasn't overly interested in the conversation at the time, but I do hope she's wrong.

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 11:53:43

I remember that thread Worra, I sat here for a bit wondering if I must be starving DS. He has less than half of that in the morning, and that's if he's feeling cooperative.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:54:16

No, you are right that some of us have taken it on a tangent, it's so emotive. Sorry for that. I don't know anyone personally who would be proud of an overweight child, do you think it's because they need to look at it in a positive light at any cost?? I know plenty that boasted about the centile charts. Does it start there?

MajaBiene Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:22

I think it does start with the centile charts, and widespread misunderstanding about what they mean - people seem to think that 50th is a minimum, 90th is something to be proud of while 10th is "wrong", when actually they are just averages.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:23

My kids would all happily eat 3 bowls of cereal each morning if I let them, but I don't. Whilst some parents would be thrilled and would let them indulge. Then give them toast, then a milkshake etc etc. it's all about teaching your child to eat in moderation

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