"Why do parents let their kids get fat?"

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seren nos    pirate
27/09/2012 at 13:14

good post springle

27/09/2012 at 13:52

Healthy and fit does not necessarily mean slim. 

I am an overweight runner (yes, I admit I am overweight), but I am quite fit - I can run comfortably for 10 or 11 miles and am on a half marathon training plan right now.  It took me a while to get my head around the fact that fit does not always equal slim, but it did help when I was running a 10k race and was leaving an awful lot of slim people behind as they were walking and seriously puffed out.

My diet is pretty good - generally eat well in the week and have food/alcohol treats at the weekend.  However, it is becoming more and more expensive to eat healthily and this could be part of the problem.  I also think that lots of todays kids are not as active as kids in years gone by (before the advent of computer games/devices)  so this, along with portion control, would seem to be the reason.

27/09/2012 at 14:34

Something has changed within the last 25/30 years in terms of childhood obesity, though.  When I was in primary school (late 80s) there was 1 fat kid in my class of 30.  Now it's close to 10 times that, by the sounds of things. 

I think it is partly that people's perception of what is normal is getting skewed.  People tell me I'm slim.  If I look at photos from the 50s/60s, plenty of people were my size.  Then, I would have been normal.  Now normal is overweight.  This means that some parents genuinely don't think of their kids as fat when they are.

I think it is also probably that, in addition to a less healthy and higher calorie diet, many people no longer have the low-level activity (walking to the bus stop, walking to the local shop, etc.) which they used to have.  They drive everywhere and they drive their kids everywhere. 

Edited: 27/09/2012 at 14:34
27/09/2012 at 15:07

Some really interesting thoughts there, thanks everyone! It's really interesting to hear how you would deal with the issue. I'm at a bit of a loss, other than giving kids a healthy example to follow - and by that I don't just mean eating salads and nothing else, but by dealing with it in a way that doesn't create a lot of anxiety and stress around what they eat. I know a couple of people who have real issues with food as adults, which I'm convinced is partly down to the way they were bullied over their eating habits as a child.

I think there is a big difference between a 'sturdy' person and someone who is significantly overweight or obese. We all know, or at least know of, one extremely healthy person who would be classed as obese on the BMI scale, but I think the average person on the street is just getting a little bit bigger every year so we don't really appreciate that 'average' is pushing into the overweight category.

Joolska - I agree with you on the lack of low-level activity in everyday life as a contributing factor, not just to childhood obesity but obesity in general. However, it really winds me up when my dad comes out with the old chestnut about his generation being a model of health. Sure, there was less childhood obesity than there is today, but who is it thats draining the NHS with all their obesity, drinking and smoking related illnesses now? Healthier generation my foot!

27/09/2012 at 15:35

xine267 as somebody who might be close to your dad's age I have to agree with him to some extent, as Joolska said if you look at school photos from the 50s and 60s there are hardly any overweight kids let alone obese.  I was with one of my daughters at the weekend and we looked at a photo I have of the lower half of the school I attended, it's in 1966, one of those long panoramic ones.  She was fascinated by the look of everybody.  But it was a different world and you can't turn clocks back short of a nuclear war!  

I agree with you about the many older people now who are the big users of the NHS and in terms of smoking I guess they are paying for lack of the same knowledge people have today, drinking that they probably now have some spare money and obesity shows how quickly you can change you body shape, upwards.

It does fill you with fear though that it has taken them 60+ years to get there, today's generations are likely to get there a lot quicker.

27/09/2012 at 15:41
Joolska wrote (see)

Something has changed within the last 25/30 years in terms of childhood obesity, though.  When I was in primary school (late 80s) there was 1 fat kid in my class of 30.  Now it's close to 10 times that, by the sounds of things. 

yes, at least back in the 70s there was pretty much 1 per class who'd be known forever as "fatty". and they probably wouldn't have stood out in the classes of today.

and one with glasses who'd be known as "speccy".

sometimes, unfortunately for the child, they might both be the same person.


seren nos    pirate
27/09/2012 at 16:01

But where are these fat kids.......

i have been into a couple of local schools recently going around all the classes...............i could only see a very few in the junior schools who I would consider obese let alone morbidly obese.........

in both my sons comps I also only see a handful of kids who i would call obese...........

and we live in a deprived are where the highest proportions of obese people are...

so either I have a really weird idea of obese or these measurements aren't accurate.

kids are a lot taller these days with bigger feet and bones because they are being fed well as babies...........

what measurements are they using to get the statistics.........


27/09/2012 at 16:17

Seren - that is a good point. Just recently it was revealed that the weight charts being used to measure babies' progress were completely skewed and inaccurate because they didn't take into account the natural differences in weight gain between breastfed and bottlefed babies (- NOT an argument I want to get into today!) Those charts were making so many mothers feel inadequate and panicky if their baby was slow to chub up, when in actual fact their baby was perfectly fine.

So, are these charts being used to measure our children based on measurements from 1950s children too?

Now that you mention it, only one or two children in my kids' entire school could be considered obese, the rest are all varying shades of healthy.

27/09/2012 at 16:26

I've never really understood the need to *chub* up a baby!

27/09/2012 at 16:26

KK and Springle genetically we haven't changed in 60 years.  I think a similar thread discussed this a few weeks ago. We eat different meals and bigger meals compared to the last however many 1000s of years

27/09/2012 at 16:33

I agree wholeheartedly wth Joolska re the way things have changed.


As a child (in the 70s) we were all stick thin - ribs sticking out in photos, out on bike all day long - never ate (from what I remember) as the options were not too tasty (mince and tatties kind of foods) and when I went to high school  I walked over a mile to and from school every day come rain, shine or snow drifts (thanks mum!)


My sister is 12 year younger than me.  She got a lift to and from school and her food choices had widened dramatically to include more 'ready' made stuff.  She was pretty damn plump till she grew about a foot at 16.


Her running about outside was curtailed because of the growing fear of predators and my mothers vulnerability at the time.  No riding her  grifter bike to the middle of god knows where like my brother and I did.  


Now adays - parent paranoia is even higher - and kids (round here anyway) expect to be ferried to and from everything because that's what always happened when they were little and more vulnerable. I am fighting a running battle with my 13 year old who demands to be picked up closer and closer to his school (2 miles from our house).  


I do agree with the rest of you - where are all these apparently fat kids -  you could prob count on one hand the number of obviously fat kids at the local primary school.  Young women though - man oh man - round here they are all huge - massive bellies.  And, finding a grown woman of a healthy weight is pretty difficult and as a sturdy woman myself - but still (just) a healthy weight - I seem positivley waif like compared to my work colleagues.  

27/09/2012 at 16:37

and ditto to the dog question.... I mean.... there is NO excuse for an obese dog.  My bitch is a little bit lardy (apparently normal in a spayed bitch) so we keep her on lighter food - it is measured out for both our cockers and we ensure many miles of running every day.  Like people I think the idea of what is a healthy weight for a dog has become distorted. Especially for labs - greedy buggers will eat EVERYTHING.

27/09/2012 at 16:44

I think lazy parents contribute to making Fat kids, when parents can't be bothered to entertain and play with kids they do as they want.

27/09/2012 at 16:46
Bu????er I agree with EKGO. Pass the Daily Mail old chap
27/09/2012 at 16:48
EKGO wrote (see)

I think lazy parents contribute to making Fat kids, when parents can't be bothered to entertain and play with kids they do as they want.

that's a new concept as well.

it used to be that children played with other children.

now due to restricted access to other children and insistence on 24 hour supervision parents have to entertain their kids or physically take them out to parks or wherever if they are going to play anywhere.

27/09/2012 at 16:53
I am lucky to live in a cul de sac. I can see 3 different groups of kids playing out right now. There a 3 youngsters who are desperate to come out bike riding with me when ever I get a bike out. Sadly the oldest is about 8 !
seren nos    pirate
27/09/2012 at 17:41

we now feed babies on demand.my eldest feed almost constantly and was a very heavy baby..........never fat but from birth he was always on the 90th centile or above for weight  and head circumference......

now if as babies they are fed on demand,.then as toddlers they are used to it.where do we break the circle......................


and I think people are looking back with rose tuinted spectacles again.look at your old school photos.mine look the same as my sons......the majority normal.the few chunky kids and a few super skinny kids........



seren nos    pirate
27/09/2012 at 17:48

not sure why its different for the two...........I think the theory was the same for both


27/09/2012 at 17:50

I think feeding on demand is not really explained well to new mums.  My sis wasn't explained it at all - so it was me and my mum who told her what to do.... i.e.  bugger the 'on demand' part and stick to 3-4 hourly feeds but at the same time be a little bit flexible when the baby needs you to  be. 


Obviously I am not up on the 'current' recommendations but I don't think feeding on demand necessarily means sticking food in their mouths every time they bleat. And if it does - then I disagree with it.

Edited: 27/09/2012 at 17:52
27/09/2012 at 17:53

It's different for breast because the fore milk is watery and just acts as a drink not a feed - whereas with a bottle it's all thick and calorie dense.

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