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

(255 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?

TheSecondComing Tue 19-Feb-13 10:58:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:02:12

It annoys me the way that some overweight parents seem to think it's a good thing that their children are big and get almost competitive about it. I'd say person one is like that. Very much "Oh my baby is far bigger than yours".It's like she equates fat with healthy for some bizarre reason

hellsbellsmelons Tue 19-Feb-13 11:02:31

YANBU - in my eyes, over feeding your children is child abuse.
If it were children being underfed and having malnutrition, then they would have SS round in a flash.
Our society just seems to accept it nowadays.
It is NOT OK to over feed your children. They may 'like their food' but it doesn't mean you should MAKE them fat!
They are going to live miserable lives with people calling them horrible names and then them feeling even worse and eating even more. It's a catch 22 and the buck stops with the parents.
And yes, I know over eating can be an addiction just like smoking, drinking etc..... But if we teach our children about good healthy food then they are far less likely to grow up and be obese.
I also think that a lot of these people need 'educating' about food. Some people really have no idea about it.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:04:30

I find that the overweight mums I know fall into two camps; the ones determined that their child won't follow in their footsteps and that they will form healthy eating habits, then the type I described in my OP.

The friend with 4 DCs regularly boasts about how much they eat. She made a soup at lunchtime the other day and her 2 year old had 3 bowls of it, 4 crackers with philadelphia, and then 4 yoghurts

Sugarice Tue 19-Feb-13 11:07:08

Tula your friend's food bill must be horrendous!

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

I totally agree. I'm very overweight and have struggled with it since childhood (no excuses just eat too much and exercise too little) but I'm obsessed with my ds (3.5) not getting fat and ensuring he gets lots of exercise. He does eat well and eat treats as I don't want him fixated on food like I am but I ensure he burns it off daily. If he got fat I would see it as a failure on my part

currentbuns Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:07

I know a couple of parents like this. It does all seem to start when the children are babies - everyone talks about a baby's weight, then there are the weekly weigh-ins, and many seem to see a "top of the centiles" child as something to stealth-boast about. They encourage their dc to be "good eaters" from the moment they're on solids - and it carries on from there.

WorraLiberty Tue 19-Feb-13 11:12:58

I don't know any boasters but I do know a few who are in denial.

However, it must be difficult for overweight parents who are constantly dieting/bingeing not to negatively affect their children's eating habits...especially when they're old enough to go into town and spend their own money.

Children don't always follow the 'do as I say and not as I do' rule...and often end up following the examples they're shown at home.

Dahlen Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:17

I think it's a parent's job to instil healthy lifestyle habits into their chidren, and failure to do that is a big failure IMO.

However, it's not as simple as all that really, is it. If people were easily capable of adopting that approach with their DC, they'd probably have been able to apply the same rules to themselves and not get overweight in the first place.

Food has a complex psychological association with love. For a parent who struggles with their weight, it must seem very hypocritical and unloving to deny their child that second helping or treat that they have just indulged in themselves.

Tulahoob Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:24

Couldn't agree more, currentbuns. The woman with 4 DCs had 4 very large babies (presumably because she is overweight herself), who obviously needed big amounts of milk from day one as they were so large, and so the cycle began. She was proud when she weaned them early, proud that they were having 3 meals a day very quickly, proud when they could eat finger foods in the buggy whilst she went round town. It all seems to centre around food.

notsofrownieface Tue 19-Feb-13 11:14:50

Hasn't it been said that this generation of children will be outlived by their parents because of obesity?

Kyrptonite Tue 19-Feb-13 11:17:10

We have a 4 year old at the nursery where I work who is very overweight. He wheezes when he eats and his clothes are so tight you can see the rolls of fat. He also walks past the nursery with his mum stuffing huge burgers into his face.

He is a lovely little boy. He runs around a lot at nursery, loves doing active games like jumping, hopping etc but until his mum realises the food issue no amount of exercise will help.

SS are involved with him but I don't know if its the weight thing or other family factors.

Birdsgottafly Tue 19-Feb-13 11:17:25

I agree, if we are talking about "very over weight", or of course obese children.

I think that my appetite was set in childhood and research would back this up.

I was stuffed with crap, mainly so that my father could justify and normalise his own eating.

I have always struggled with constant hunger, i could eat vast amounts.

I have had to go vegan, occassionally to keep my weight down.

I honestly think that it takes away a part of your childhood. I had to starve and then binge infront of my parents as a teen, to keep get down to a average size. Which set me up for yoyo dieting.

How you feed your children can be neglect and/or abusive.

manicinsomniac Tue 19-Feb-13 11:17:39


but I do understand that it could be hard for some overweight parents who have got that way through seriously entrenched habits.

I am the opposite. I am very underweight and don't eat enough. And I find it so difficult to cook my children nutritious, balanced meals with everything they should be eating in there in the correct amounts. Because I don't do it for myself it takes a lot of studying and learning as I go to do it. Feeding my children correctly is not automatic to me.

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:18

Dds best friend is from a family like this. The poor child is bursting out of her skin. She's allowed free access to cupboards full of crisps and sweets, a freezer full of icecream and is never prevented from eating junk. Her older sister is a teen and is morbidly obese, it makes me so sad to see these girls' lives ruined because the parents refuse to impose restrictions.

These kids don't have the awareness to know how badly it will impact their adult lives, I totally agree it's child abuse to encourage a child to eat to obesity.

Chopsypie Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:21

This is why I've made the changes to my life now, rather than later. I dont want my children to be 'that' child.

cheddarcheeselover Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:35

It's sad, these mothers probably got the same from their mothers and this is the only way they know.
I'm overweight and work very hard to not get my daughters into the cycle my mother got me into. They snack on carrots and apples, oatcakes and unsalted almonds. My mum encouraged us to snack on bread and butter, cakes, and breakfast cereal.
my girls are not overweight, and I would be heartbroken if the became so as I know what pain its caused me.

catlady1 Tue 19-Feb-13 11:20:52

What if they were not overweight but never stopped eating rubbish? I'm not disagreeing with you, I hate seeing overweight children, but there are overweight kids about who are a great deal healthier than some normal or skinny kids.

I was an overweight child, but I'm not sure I can really blame my parents. Neither of them are overweight, and my dad has always been a bit of a health freak. We never ever ate anything fried in our house except for pancakes on pancake day, we never had takeaways and we would only go to mcdonalds or similar if my mum had taken me to town with one of her friends and their kids, which was very rarely. We used to always be out and about, going for long walks and hill climbing at weekends, and I did karate and judo and loved PE at school. I just had, and still have, a shit relationship with food. If I got easter eggs or a selection box, I'd eat it all in one go if I was left alone long enough. Of course my parents could have taken them off me and rationed them out, but I think they would have felt bad for doing that, especially since they didn't have to for my siblings. Yet I knew, and I know now, families who fry almost everything, and have takeaways and mcdonalds two or three times a week, and never do anything active, and their children are often very thin. I also know families where the children aren't fed proper meals at all and are turfed out to play first thing in the morning in school holidays, and to be honest I think I'd rather they were fat and looked after, than skinny and neglected.

ElliesWellies Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:11

YANBU... saying they are 'big-boned' or 'like their food' is a ridiculous excuse. I was very tall as a child and 'liked my food'. By that I mean I would often have a second helping of a healthy, balanced dinner (my mum has an obsession with nutrition and large amounts of fruit and veg). I also played outside for hours. I was not overweight in the slightest.

There is a huge difference between a child working up a healthy appetite through exercise and then eating a large but healthy meal, or eating lots of healthy snacks, and a child who is given constant access to junk food and limited access to exercise.

SoleSource Tue 19-Feb-13 11:23:40

I am huuuuge! DS is very slim. Neighbours gossip and believe I starve him. He eats huuge amounts of healthy food. It ishis genes.

superfluouscurves Tue 19-Feb-13 11:24:03

Equally though, I don't like to judge for the following reasons:

1. We are close friends with a couple who have four children. The parents are average weight, three of the dc are stick thin and one of the dc is quite seriously overweight. He doesn't appear to eat more than the other dc, nor is he less active. So I think things can be more complicated than is immediately apparent.

2. I live in a country (mainland Europe) where you very rarely see really overweight dc. Thinking about it, there are possibly 6 slightly chubby dc in dd's school of approx 280 pupils. Nor do you see very overweight people in the street. Our diet here is much more healthy than it was when we lived in the UK (and we thought we were being fairly health conscious when we lived back home). For example, everyone eats more vegetables here at every meal, meat is cut differently and so a roast joint (even pork) comes without any fat at all as do chops and other cuts of meat, no fat comes off mince or bacon when you cook it (in fact you often have to add a little oil when cooking), the supermarkets do not contain aisles and aisles of ready meals or aisles and aisles of sweets and cereal. Another example: baked beans do not come with heaps of added sugar (my dd spat them out when she tasted them in the UK!) I tried them - and they literally tasted as sweet as a pudding to our palate. Here, baked beans = haricot beans + tomato sauce and nothing else)

Also, the culture (and therefore peer pressure in schools) is aimed at eating healthily. People are hugely knowledgeable (and demanding) about their food and what they consume. Fizzy drinks are a rare treat for children. Family members of all ages, sit down to eat at a table every evening, with the telly off.

In summary: one's surrounding influences can have a huge effect.

WhatsTheBuzz Tue 19-Feb-13 11:24:13

ime, kids never sit still long enough to overeat. My 7yo dd actually
eats like a horse but is fit and active --and only eats crap in

Wossname Tue 19-Feb-13 11:27:07

I worry so much about my two year old's weight. I am overweight, have binged and purged in the past, and my sister was verging on anorexia for years and I link both to my mum's issues with food when we were growing up- tiny tiny portions for us and her not eating at all if she was vaguely upset about anything.

Was determined my child would have healthy relationship with food and am terrified of them being fat and miserable like i was at school. But I seem to have failed already and dc is only two. I provide healthy food, snacks are fruit, no junk food at all really and we sit down together at meals, the stuff i am supposed to do. But dc seems to have no cut off point, is never full and will eat and eat and eat if allowed to. This is what I am like, never full and could quite happily eat everything in the house, although don't. How have I managed to pass this on to my child already?

My child is not fat, but not skinny like other two year olds i see and i am starting to lose sleep over it really.

goodtimesarecoming Tue 19-Feb-13 11:27:56

I am a healthy weight and my ds1 is obese, he is nearly 13.Up until he was 10 he was quite skinny but discovered a love for food that I just cannot control. Threads like this make me feel like such a failure as I have always cooked healthy food and had an active lifestyle

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