"Why do parents let their kids get fat?"

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01/10/2012 at 12:05

I think it starts from day 1. Usually if the kids parents are fat they are too. Thats perhaps not true in all cases but is very common. My little ones don't drink juice or eat chocolate or much crap. Funnily enough they are not fat. We gave my little one birthday cake yesterday and she ate the strawberries and left the cake lol She doesn't sit in front of the TV either and is always wanting to go out for walks and enjoys being outside. We are very lucky to live somewhere where its nice and easy to do this but many people don't. Could schools be blamed for not laying on sports etc?

01/10/2012 at 12:25
I haven't read through all the thread so apologies if this has been covered.

Something I always ponder is why the French are (generally) slimmer/fitter.

I haven't come to any major conclusions. It is definitely true that French kids seem to eat what their parents eat at a restaurant (ie, there isn't really the concept of a 'kids meal'). Also, anecdotally the kids and parents are generally more active (the generally nicer weather seems to help) from cycling as a family, to throwing a frisbee around a park.

I read a report the other day that said the French have little knowledge of what is 'healthy' compared to Americans (in that French people don't particularly worry or stress over food) but are generally much healthier.

Interesting stuff this. What other factors of the French culture/way of life are at play here?
Edited: 01/10/2012 at 12:26
seren nos    pirate
01/10/2012 at 12:46

tradionally italians are much bigger as adults........and there way of life seems similar to me to the french

01/10/2012 at 13:06
Are we agreed that generally French people are slimmer/healthier? If so, what are the French doing differently?

I've now read the thread and thought I'd throw in a couple points.

Regarding PE at schools. Not wanting to get political, but the current lot seem intent on (re)introducing competitive sport. This is good for some kids, but many others aren't or don't want to be competitive (I.e., they may be crap at football etc). It seems to me that the curriculum doesn't cater well for these kids. The last lot did seem to try and change this but arguably went too far by not allowing kids to 'lose' at a sport.

Regarding tooth decay. My wife (a primary school teacher) has been banging on about this for years. There is policy at her school that means kids have to have fruit at morning break. Sometimes this is things like raisins, which are sticky/sugary. This means that kids may not have brushed their teeth for 10-12 hours and have rotting raisins stuck to their teeth.

I'm 36 and when I look back to my primary school pics there were 1 or 2 fat kids. I'm in touch with one of those kids still (30 years later) and he is still obese, as are his kids.

I can't really comment on breast feeding (I have no kids of my own). My best mate and his wife have just had their first baby. They are feeding the baby as and when it 'needs' it, apparently on the advice of the medics.
01/10/2012 at 15:00

I'd imagine many things are to blame for kids (and adults) getting larger.

For a start the availability of fast food is far great than it was in my youth (70/80's). Also thinking back for my mates and I things like fizzy drinks and sweets were a once or twice a week treat. These days for many that is an everyday occurrence. It also ties in with the fact the UK has by far and away the highest level of chocolate and fizzy drink consumption in Europe.

The French comparison is interesting, but then like the example given when I was young people did eat smaller versions of their parents meals. I know I did. I can imagine I'd have been wearing my dinner if I suggested I should have been eating something else to my mum! The modern thinking of kids meals is nothing but marketing. Until some marketing folk convinced folk it was the done thing kids just eat smaller portions of their parents meal. Why wouldn't they? Do you think in India a young child is eating a small plate of curry that their parents eat, or some animal shaped chicken nuggets?

I also don't believe in the climate argument. I'd say parental fear is a bigger issue. When I was a kid everyone walked to school. Not one person at my school was driven to school. Now if you go by the same school at opening or closing time there is a convoy of Chelsea tractors waiting to ferry the kids about.

Add to that the modern thinking that everything should be some sort of official organised event. When I was a kid we just went out to play. Sometimes it was sports, other times it was just messing about in the street. These days more and more kids just seem to get shuttled between friends houses, not allowed out as it's to dangerous.

Technology will also play a role. I'll admit I clocked up many an hour playing games on the Speccy or C64 back in the day. Although if I wanted to see a mate or find out what they were doing I had to get up and out the house and go chap the door. These days they can just text, email or Facebook them. No need to even get up off the couch.

So you have a less active population, easier access to and higher consumption of high calorie foods and people wonder why folk are getting fatter! We feed kids more calories and there is a culture of fear that you are a bad parent if you let your kid outside to do something that isn't an organised event at a school or club. Yeah, the kids will get fat.

01/10/2012 at 15:07

One factor is that people don't understand risk.

They don't let their kids play out in the parks, or on their bikes, or climb trees because a paedophile will get them or cars might kill them, or they'll fall out of the tree.

Granted... this 'wrap-'em-up-in-cotton-wool' mentality must save quite a few kids from accidental death etc.   What? Maybe one in several hundred.    And maybe one in 50,000 is saved from a nasty man.

But the flip side, is a generation of kids who are destined for an early grave, or unhealthy life, because of obesity - and the many diseases that are linked to weight and inactivity. So instead of risking losing about 0.1% to an early death...  parents are condemning perhaps 25% to a shorter, less happy life.     OK... these figures are plucked from the air, but they're illustrative....

To cap it, I'd say those "protected" children lessen the ability to perceive risk, so may be more likely to have bad accidents when they do occasionally get loose.... so I'm not even sure there's any sort of up-side to this risk-averse culture we have.

01/10/2012 at 15:20

French tend to be thinner because they understand their food. You can be a kid and have a glass of wine. They are educated with it. Perhaps we wouldn't have the alcohol problem over here if we were the same? But Italians are educated with their food and seem to be a little plump (generalization) as the years go on.

What about Japanese Sumo wrestlers how do they get that big on fish lol

01/10/2012 at 15:38

French healthier / thinner?

I don't think so. Having spent some time in France this summer, the beach was littered with basking whales. Not very many slim bodies there.

Every breakfast ceareal in the supermarkets was chocolate this or chocolate that. Only the US / UK food sections had anything that wasn't chocolate.

I don't think that you can generalise like that. I admit that last time I was in Paris I thought that the women were slimmer than the avarage English woman but that was 6 years ago.

01/10/2012 at 15:40

T. Mouse the women are hairier too right?

01/10/2012 at 16:22
T.mouse wrote (see)

French healthier / thinner?

I don't think so. Having spent some time in France this summer, the beach was littered with basking whales. Not very many slim bodies there.

Maybe you were just unlucky at the beach you chose .  

I think it's fairly well accepted that the French have a much lower level of obesity compared to most other developed countries.  A quick Google seems to confirm that.

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 16:23
01/10/2012 at 16:23
Big_G wrote (see)
T.mouse wrote (see)

French healthier / thinner?

I don't think so. Having spent some time in France this summer, the beach was littered with basking whales. Not very many slim bodies there.

Maybe you were just unlucky at the beach you chose .  

I think it's fairly well accepted that the French have a much lower level of obesity compared to most other developed countries.  A quick Google seems to confirm that.

it was probably full of Brits.

01/10/2012 at 16:35
skotty wrote (see)
Big_G wrote (see)
T.mouse wrote (see)

French healthier / thinner?

I don't think so. Having spent some time in France this summer, the beach was littered with basking whales. Not very many slim bodies there.

Maybe you were just unlucky at the beach you chose .  

I think it's fairly well accepted that the French have a much lower level of obesity compared to most other developed countries.  A quick Google seems to confirm that.

it was probably full of Brits.

  I was going to say similar, but decided not to.  I wouldn't say the people at the French beaches I was at this year could be described as whales...  I was taking an active interest, just for my own investigation into this area you understand.

kittenkat    pirate
01/10/2012 at 16:49

The answer is simple my friends, look through the window of a typical French pattiserie and look through the window of Greggs.

I rest my case.

01/10/2012 at 16:50
kittenkat wrote (see)

The answer is simple my friends, look through the window of a typical French pattiserie and look through the window of Greggs.

I rest my case.

at the women?

or at the food they sell?

kittenkat    pirate
01/10/2012 at 16:53

They bake women? Well if so, which country has the biggest baking ovens, that will solve the discussion.

01/10/2012 at 17:03

KK - I know you jest, but I think there is more to it than that.  I just wish I knew exactly what it was!

A week or so ago, a friend of mine who is married to a French lady posted this on fb, so I thought I'd share it here.

01/10/2012 at 18:28

When I was at school. Most of us were rake thin, apart from a couple in the class - one quite fat, and still is now. The rest of us were good at sports, one way or another, but the thinnest were in the cross country team.

Seeing kids today, they are definately bigger than in the post, there are still thin, but not as much. In the club, some of the lads are either really thin, or quite a bit bigger - a extreme difference, where normal size was lean/thin. 

kittenkat    pirate
01/10/2012 at 19:19
Big_G wrote (see)

KK - I know you jest, but I think there is more to it than that.  I just wish I knew exactly what it was!

A week or so ago, a friend of mine who is married to a French lady posted this on fb, so I thought I'd share it here.

France varies from region to region. The fattest woman I've ever seen was in Britainny (ironic before her time, it was nearly 20 years ago). I think it's all to do with culture, what are family meals about really? When I was a kid we HAD to sit down at 6 o'clock for tea, sometimes it was a nice meal sometimes it was shit. The most shit was cheap fatty mince in a marrow with dogs piss gravy. But I was lucky, I could push it round my plate, eat a bit and then escape. When Mum made macaroni cheese, all my birthdays came at once, I would eat well and then escape (after the washing up).

The point I'm making is that we had a family meal and yes it was the act of having that meal that put us in the same place at the same time, but it wasn't really about the food. Now the family gorge down at KFC is about eating a lot of food you want.

When I spat out my Mum's shit mince, I just went outside and played. The stomach didn't rule.

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 19:19
kittenkat    pirate
01/10/2012 at 19:21

Oh and we didn't have an outside toilet before you get the tiny violins out, also I stole money from my mum and bought sweets.

Win/win.

kittenkat    pirate
01/10/2012 at 19:23

I do my Mum a diservice, she was a great cook compared with my gran.

We used to shudder at the food we got when dispatched to Hove for a fortnight.

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