Fat and Not Afraid

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Are they blind or stupid when it comes to fat kids?

June 11, 2012

When Gabriel was born, two weeks early, he was described in the notes as a 'robust baby boy' and weighed in at nearly 9lbs. Through his first and second years he grew like a weed. He was a very chubby, happy baby with rolls at the wrists and ankles, and enormous kissable cheeks. He was incredibly healthy, rarely suffering from a cold or flu, and except for his vaccines and one 6 week check-up, never went to the doctor. At three years old he was exactly 3 feet tall and starting to lose his 'baby fat'. By four, he was 3 foot 7, and at five, he was just over 4 feet. We last weighed him for fun on our trip back to Ontario and he came in at just over 50lbs. According to the CDC, Gabe is a healthy weight, but very close to the overweight catagory.

This is Gabe at the beginning of May, having just earned his yellow stripe in karate. Does he look anywhere near 'overweight' to you? What about the kids in the following story from June 7th in The Sun? Except for one little girl who was born without a thyroid gland they all look pretty average in my eyes, and to their parents. The story illustrates very clearly to me everything that's wrong with the 'one size fits all' approach to children and the supposed obesity epidemic, where doctors and others are relying on charts and paperwork instead of their own eyes.

We say over and over and over in fat acceptance that you can't tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them, and we are right to say it, but we can tell if someone is fat by looking at them. We're not blind or stupid, but apparently some doctors are one or the other or both. It infuriates me that schools both across the pond and in the States have started taking this approach of weighing students 'for their health' because Everybody Knows  that thinness equals fitness. At the end of the article, thankfully, the doctor who's interviewed has the good sense to speak against 'what everybody knows':

"Children come in all different shapes and sizes. The most important thing is that they are eating healthily and exercising.  As a GP myself, I know weight is very difficult issue to deal with. My advice to parents would be to make sure their children eat well and keep active – then there should be very little to worry about. If we focus too much on children’s weight, we run the risk of creating far greater problems." Well said, Dr. Cooper, I just wish there were more doctors like you out there. 

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