Weight is an issue that plagues this country. There are reports on the news about the state of our children, the in activity, the bad foods consumed, and the overall general health. The issue will probably touch every child at one point or another in that they will become aware of their body or their weight especially in comparison to their peers.
For my daughter, this happened when she was 5. She came home and reported that one of the boys said she was fat. The reason for his proclamation, he couldn’t lift her.
There are some days when I would like to know just how much body fat resides on my daughter – out of pure curiosity on my part. She was born a hard body and remains a hard body. While other mothers talk about the little rolls of baby fat and the cute baby tummies, I remain perfectly silent. My daughter never had the rolls. My daughter never had the tummy. She is now and has always been fit – bone and muscle.
Thus, when this little boy decided she was fat, I was just a tad stunned. It hurt her feelings and yet I am not sure she understood why it did. Fat is fat. It is not necessarily a bad adjective or word. It is just a word. We want our pillows to be fat and fluffy. We fatten up our game. Yet the word has taken such negative connotations when it is applied to people.
I assured her that he didn’t know what he was talking about. WE talked about eating and exercising and being healthy and fit. We went on with our lives focused upon health and fitness – ensuring our bodies get what they need to work properly.
And then, the other night… “Am I too skinny?”
As I said, my daughter is thin. You can see ribs and shoulder blades as well as developed and defined muscles. She dances hours, walks hours, and runs. She also eats well. Too skinny she is not.
“If you are too skinny you can die.” She informs me.
And so, at bedtime, I found myself discussing eating disorders and the importance of eating healthy and exercising.
And this weekend I discovered that a ten year old in her ballet school has developed an eating disorder. His parents are taking action. His mom is aware and is nipping it in the bud to the extent possible.
As the Diva refused to eat breakfast this morning (she isn’t fond of food early in the morning), I stopped to consider when it starts? At what age do parents need to start observing their kids more closely? How does it start? But primarily, how did we get here? How, as a society, did we get to a point where 10 year old kids are starving themselves and worrying about their weight? Are we, as a society, doing anything to amend the situation?