“When a child doesn’t read well, we teach. When a child doesn’t do math well, we teach. When we want a child to eat well, we what…”
Send home a fat report card (not joking). When did fat shaming become a school priority? This fat report card had me on the phone calling my friends with children. Many of them knew about it, and a handful supported it. My argument is youth live by your example. They literally live by what you cook. I don’t know one young adult (excluding homeless and foster youth) who buys groceries. I feel if you live healthfully and cook that way, your child will embrace that. I opened my home to my nieces this summer. They knew I wouldn’t change my style of cooking, which meant there would be no deep fried foods and junk food would be limited. They also knew they would have the freedom to grow food, pick out fresh vegetables, try new things, and even try their hand at cooking. I asked them what they felt about this report card and if their schools had it. They informed me it did, and my younger niece stated it didn’t bother her. My older niece shocked me (she’s an athlete) by saying it did and she was glad she was spending the summer with me because I had her on a diet. I informed her I had her on no such diet, and this is how my household always ate every day. In her teenage language she said, “It’s not a diet for you, but it’s a diet for me. I like the food we cook, how you always park crazy far in parking lots and how you’re the only person who really eats an apple a day”. I laughed and said, “Thanks, I think”
Then I had important questions for her. Why do you feel you’re fat? How much weight do you think you need to lose? She gave me the teenage stare as the first question was obvious (it was not- the kid has an athletic body). She pulled out her phone and exclaimed “I already have lost nine pounds since I have been here. My food journal has given me a thumbs up or a wink every day.” I took in my seemingly healthy niece and stopped to hug her and whispered “You’re beautiful and healthy as you are” She retorted, “Auntie, you’re dramatic. I don’t have an eating disorder. I’m just tracking the foods and meals we don’t make at home. I’m losing weight because I have to walk or bike everywhere here, plus we eat vegetables like every day.” I rolled my eyes and thought back to the article and how critics feel the approach stigmatizes children and fuels unhealthy anxieties about weight, based on measurements that can mistake a muscular kid for a flabby one (my niece fell in this category). I also couldn’t believe parents are requesting this information when they should instead be living by example and talking to the children in their lives.