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?

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 19-Feb-13 11:56:37

*theicingontop' oh I'd forgotten how common it was for people to boast about needing to buy bigger sizes for their children. Like dress size was an indicator of mental ability!

CloudsAndTrees Tue 19-Feb-13 11:58:33

That's true Maja, and I think that now we all pretty much know what healthy food for children consists of, the next step is to educate people on portion sizes.

Some children don't have an automatic 'off switch' when it comes to eating, and they do need to be taught how much is enough. But parents can't do that if they don't know how much is enough.

As I said, my ds is slightly overweight. I know I have always done my best to feed him the right food. But even now I don't know if I might have fed him too much of the right food when he was a baby 10 years ago. I followed Annabel Karmel and other books as if they were gospel, and I really don't remember any of them talking about portion control.

Flobbadobs Tue 19-Feb-13 11:59:27

natural I think that has a big part in it yes, when they're little, being told where they are on the chart is usually a positive, I certainly thought that as he was over the average for his age he must be healthy, not undernourished.
A big change I made with my younger 2 was to not take any notice of the centile charts at all and not getting them weighed unless it has been at the usual check ups.

choceyes Tue 19-Feb-13 12:00:08

WorraLiberty your post reminds me of when one of my NCT friends said that her 6 month old was eating 2 weetabix and sometimes a 3rd! I was gobsmacked as even I would struggle to eat that. And also felt like such a bad mother because my own 6 month old was being BLW and only had tastes of things at that time.

HollyBerryBush Tue 19-Feb-13 12:01:26

Food was rationed post war until 1956 - therefore you will have a generation, upto and including the mid 1980's who associate food with wealth and happiness. Thus begats the next generation.

Some cultures still associate food in the same way - some Ghanans practive 'over feeding'. Mostly it is poverty related. Money = Food = fat baby = healthy baby.

A lot of western mothers associate food with love.

Most people now realise a healthy balanced diet is the way forward - but given the amount of shit preservatives, pesticides, steroids, 'franken foods', the other additives, colouring, sweetners, trans fats, sturated fats, added salt - the whole bloody kaboodle - I don't think a beef patty is really the biggest concern of any parent with the food industry right now.

sydlexic Tue 19-Feb-13 12:02:17

To those with 10 year olds, IME DS and many of his friends gained weight in year 6 had ferocious appetites. My GP told me that it was normal ready for a growth spurt. Since last September he has grown 4 inches and lost 7lbs, he is now slim.

BikerBear Tue 19-Feb-13 12:07:06

Having just read the posts in this thread I think there may be something else that needs taken into consideration as well...
The recent horse meat scandal has highlighted, the fact that buying ready packaged and frozen meals means you never really know exactly what ingredients are in these foods.
Yes, we know the manufacturers and retailers are supposed to indicate the content but we all know that there are certain 'allowable tolerances' of substances that everyone knows can be downright harmful to health.
this is in addition to the preservatives and bulking agents used...
I have believed for a long time that it is not just how the foods are treated and packaged for freezing and transport (as most are NOT as fresh as the supermarkets would like us to believe) but it is also what the animal is fed while being bred for consumption. Even some of the so called 'organically labelled' foods are failing this scrutiny.
You only have to think about the grazing cattle on the Eavis farmland after the Glastonbury festival to realise what could also potentially be in the food chain...
Not wanting to scaremonger, but this seems to be something I am more and more reluctant to have dictated to me by the profit motivated corporate food giants.
I know there are financial, time and geographical restraints and it is not always possible to have access to local and inexpensive fresh produce, but whenever possible I prefer to buy locally sourced fruit and veg and my meat from a butcher who uses locally sourced produce.
I did see a rather thought provoking piece of advice recently that said...
"As a rough guideline, if you want to eat healthily then avoid any food that has a TV/Media advert"
When you think about it it makes sense. smile

GregBishopsBottomBitch Tue 19-Feb-13 12:07:30

I've had weight issues my whole life, but my DD is very slender and athletic, she likes to eat, but we try to eat good food and shes a busy little bee. My DD is aware of her limits, and will stop at that limits. Im quite lucky that she knows her own appetite so well. So overfeeding her has never been an issue.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 12:10:19

sydlexic I have a 10yr old DS (and a 13yr old and 21yr old DS) and I noticed that from about years 5 and 6, many kids do 'bulk up'.

But thinking about my older DS's friends, many of them continue to be overweight even now...though a fair few are also very slim.

hamdangle Tue 19-Feb-13 12:10:27

I think the problem can often be that a lot of parents don't understand what a healthy diet actually is. A lot of posters on here have said that they don't eat junk food or takeaways and prepare food from scratch. This may mean that your kids are eating fewer additives but doesn't necessarily mean that they are eating fewer calories. lasagna, cooked from scratch with flour, cheese, fatty mince and white pasta is full of calories. If you are eating a lot of pasta, white bread, potatoes etc in large portions then it's not healthy regardless of whether you made it yourself.

I think the idea that you can exercise it all off is misleading too. You can go for a six mile run and only burn off a few hundred calories so getting your child to do football/gymnastics etc a couple if times a week will keep them healthy but won't really make a difference to their weight.

Having said that I really do think some of it must be genetic. DS is quite skinny and always had a healthy diet but as soon as he was in high school and able to buy his own food he invariably chose crap. He's still skinny despite regularly finding empty boxes of six cherry bake wells/ jam tarts/ cup cakes in his bag. Grrr.

lynniep Tue 19-Feb-13 12:14:28

I know what you're on about OP but it is difficult.

I don't think I'm in denial about DS2 - I'm fully aware he is very heavy for his age (he is tall too but proportionally he is on the heavy side - like me except I'm not tall!)

DS1 is completely the opposite, tall (the 2nd tallest boy in his class of 45) and slim (like his dad).

I haven't brought them up differently - they both eat the same - a mixture of healthy and not-so healthy. DS2 has smaller portions as he is 2.5 years younger than his brother, but right from day one it was obvious he was naturally more solid (not fat!)

Both of them eat well, but seem to stop when full though - so I just go with that. Of course if I gave them chocolate they wouldn't stop (nor would I) so treats have to be in moderation, but for mealtimes - if they are hungry, it gets eaten - if not, they are allowed to leave some as long as they've made a good effort (something I was never allowed to do)

I find actually that it isnt me that 'justifies' him being overweight. In fact other people do it for me. I honestly dont know if they genuinley think he 'looks' fine or if they are just being kind.

HorizonFocus Tue 19-Feb-13 12:16:04

silvery Your boys probably feel hungry because they are having carbohydrates (apple / grapes / bread / cereal / cake) every couple of hours.

wordfactory Tue 19-Feb-13 12:18:50

I never know what to think about this.

I mean, I don't like to see fat children, and my own are very thin...but nor do I like to take the moral high ground. I can't really, because my two eat like hoovers, and much of it isn't health food!

catgirl1976 Tue 19-Feb-13 12:19:18

DS (15 months) is on the 91st percentile for weight. But he is off the charts for height

Always has been since he was born. Nothing to do with what he eats I don't think. He's just big. And he's not fat, he's completely in proportion

Lottikins Tue 19-Feb-13 12:22:28

Well tall and big framed do exist, and are different to overweight.
I think a lot of the time it is kids are 'under-exercised' rather than over fed

MiaowTheCat Tue 19-Feb-13 12:22:36

It's threads like these that mean I'M usually the nutter getting reassured by the health visitor about the rate my little girl's gone up the centiles... from below the bottom of the chart up to the 91st where she's decided to hang around. I've had myself so stressed out about repeating the sins of my own life that the HV's taken the tape measure on a couple of occasions and had to demonstrate to me that in fact she's just caught up to where she's obviously meant to be from starting as a preemie and her height's on exactly the same centile as her weight... add in a side order of her being later to get mobile and start slowing the weight down and it's made me incredibly stressed over time - until I realised she is just incredibly tall and in proportion (I blame dad for that one -he's 6 foot 7 and she takes after his side instead of my utter midget side).

Her diet I watch like an absolute hawk - but believe me, I'm under no illusions about her and the risk she's at for becoming like us.

Oblomov Tue 19-Feb-13 12:24:58

Ds1 eats and eats and eats and is skinny as a rake. Ds2 is solid as a rock and built like a bouncer. In the bath last night, I thought he was looking a tad.... so will ahev to cut back. They both eat huge hearty healthy meals and then eat snacks all day long, of healthy things but also crisps and biscuits .
I keep an eye on these things because I care.

choceyes Tue 19-Feb-13 12:28:32

Can I just ask a question.....
My DS, 4yrs has a sweet tooth. He will eat chocolate, icecream, jelly, biscuits etc all day if I let him. I don't know how he got his way, but I am sick of having to limit him on sugary food. If I give him some chocolate he will pester me for more and more and more. But I don't give him more, I give him a portion that I think is enough for a child of 4yrs, so 1 biscuit, small portion of icecream, a couple of squares of chocolate etc. But I feel so controlling and I hate having to do this. He will eat healthy food, he does like almost all fruits, meat, fish, wholegrain carbs, nuts (we never have white carbs - nursery do, so they get a mix), although veg is hit and miss if he has no access to sweet stuff. But the issue is when I offer him something sweet he will want more and don't know when to stop.

DD is 2.5yrs and she is very good at limitting herself with sweet food (although she is still BF, and we know how sweet that is, so maybe that's why!) and eats a whole range of healthy food, including lots of veg, so I never control her eating, I am much more relaxed about her eating. I'm happy to give her an extra biscuit or piece of chocolate is she asks as I know she will balance out her intake throughout the day. But with DS I have to be strict and say no more, and I feel mean and controlling and I worry that I might be giving him issues for later on in life.

Any ideas about what I could do?

Theicingontop Tue 19-Feb-13 12:30:35

If you are eating a lot of pasta, white bread, potatoes etc in large portions then it's not healthy regardless of whether you made it yourself.

I agree, it may be free of additives and preservatives but it'll still pile on the pounds. Encouraging people to cook from scratch usually starts with "You can make food that tastes just as good as these tasty ready meals, for half the price!" and that's good, but you have to go further than that and encourage healthy cooking, not just cooking that emulates the junk.

GloryWhole Tue 19-Feb-13 12:32:35

People boast and are competitive about overweight children!?
Really? hmm

I think alot of it can come down to poor advice as a baby. When they are little the HVs are all over the weight thing. Make them eat this, full fat that, three hour feeds, sneak in calories with cream in potatoes . You are made to feel like a faliure when your baby doesnt put on enough weight.

It's do easy to fall into the trap of " he's been ill he needs building up" or ever since he had the tummy bug he will only eat chips and ice cream and before you reAlise it your kids living on crap gaining too much weight as you thought it was better to eat that than to be eating nothing.

It seems rare these days to
Hear of hcp who look at the whole child and the family. Mums tall dads tall child is tall clearly they may weigh more than another child that doesn't make them
Over weight. And equally children of five foot parents are never going to
Be the same height and weight as other children their age and that's their build but the patents are told they r under weight.

Until that kind of crap stops parents are always going to feel
That something is wrong. And yes if friends r Moaning their kids never eat then I can see why parents are proud that their kids are dustbins.

But I do agree that allowing children to eat poor diets and allowing them
To get overweight is abuse. It may be done eith love but it's still abuse. I can see how easily it can happen though

Johnnysknickers Tue 19-Feb-13 12:41:45

My sons are both a healthy weight but are tall and strong. I think it's a good thing personally, especially as they eat well and healthily.

Obesity is a different thing, DH and I are both fitness fanatics and I'm pretty tiny but my children are "big" in that they take after their rugby-playing relatives which I often comment on in a positive light.

Lancelottie Tue 19-Feb-13 12:43:03

goodtimes -- they make me feel like a failure too, as DD remains overweight or nudging it, despite my best efforts.

Maja, I think the question is WHY some children overeat whenever they get the opportunity (and have you ever tried -- really tried -- limiting one child's access to high-calorie food, when another child in the family is a food refuser and very much underweight?)

My nearly 2 year old brother is a beast. Hes in 2-3/3-4 years clothes. He is tall and fat! He was breast fed til he was around 14 month. He was big at birth too. He eats the same amount as my sister who is 3 yet she is a scrawny little thing.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Tue 19-Feb-13 12:47:56

So if you were educating someone with food issues, who say does cook from scratch but lasagnes, potatoes etc. Where do you start?

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