December 17, 2008

Damn this childhood obesity! and other things.

Childhood obesity "set before age of five"

Childhood obesity is set before the age of five, ministers will hear from researchers later.

Compared to children in the 1980s, today's youngsters are fatter and most of their excess weight gain happens before school age, they will say.

This suggests initiatives to prevent childhood obesity should be started before school, suggest the authors.

Me and my latest headlines tab on Firefox...we have us some fun.

Sigh. I picked up that story because it sort of ties into something I've been trying to talk about since yesterday, not childhood obesity but infant death. Yes, infant death, it is SUCH a happy subject to look at. More on that later, for now check this article on childhood obesity. Honestly, because this is something I keep a look out for, this article isn't exactly telling me anything new. Especially diet-blaming.

Let me tell you all a story about me and my dad though. First thing though, both sides of my family are rather large. There's a couple of skin-ty people but on a whole we're all big folk. I can't tell if it's genes or we're just...big.

In any case, I was actually a little stick when I was a kid. My dad--and I'm about to do some wild speculation here so bear with me--has some body issues of his own; he's about 5'9", average height, and has always claimed that he doesn't feel comfortable when he's under 200 pounds.

Yes, while most of us are trying to get skinnier, my dad wants to get fatter. I know. When I was a kid he would basically just feed, feed, feed me. Make me eat when I didn't want to, make me eat WHAT I didn't want to. He'd actually wake me up at weird times of the morning and have me eat, just so he could make sure I'd gotten enough food. Eat, eat, eat.

Naturally I began gaining weight. Being a kid, I didn't really notice much, I was still pretty active (well until first grade then that was another set of issues we'll go into). Anyway, I didn't pay it much nevermind until...I'd gained a lot of weight. And it started fucking around with me health. It's not entirely my dad's fault (mom had a hand in it too with fast food being considered dinner every night), especially since as it turns out I lose weight about as easily as I gain it *blink* but in any case, next thing you know I'm about 8 years old, just under 5 feet and over 180 lbs. Then I'm 13 and over 200 lbs. The eating habits I'd picked up when I was a kid, I didn't think any about it and we just ignored my doctor when he told me to diet. Then I had sleep apnea (well, I still do) and my period decided to stop for a year and aaaaall these health issues popped, most of which I think could be tied to my ballooning weight.

Now, at this stage you're probably wondering when I'm going to get to the point...let's just say this has a happy ending and I gradually just started losing weight by A) realizing I needed to lose weight and B) Uh, yoga. I know! Yoga. Oh and eating healthier and all that jazz. Next!

My point is that my little story isn't as uncommon as you'd think and I think it's really important to start talking about and DOING something about childhood obesity. I don't want to engage in any self-hate and fat shaming--I think body acceptance is important too. But honestly the news and stats on childhood obesity really freak me out. I wish we could encourage more helpful discussion on health--I mean, kids shows today try to sneak in the importance of exercise and eating right and that's fine, but I also think its really important for parents to address why kids should eat their fruits & veggies and be active as well, and not in a "omg fat is teh evil" way but with a more positive approach that will help kids understand. I've always advocated that children aren't as naive as adults would like to believe and having a damn conversation with your child isn't going to kill you or them.

Sigh. Y'all know I don't have kids nor do I want any, but that doesn't mean I just outright don't care. Now I'll wrap this up...hopefully later on in the day I can talk about this series the Tennessean is doing on infant mortality rates in the grand ol' state of TN and you'll get to see the gran, gran, gran list of potential reasons why, the top one being that TN health is crap. So stay tuned and we'll do some wild speculating and gesticulating together and this mess.

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