Hey Mommy, My School Says I Am Fat!
March 22, 2002
Guess what parents and guardians of school-aged children? If your child is carry a few extra pounds when he goes to school, then prepare for your child's school to inform you of this in the near future. This is not a joke!
Public schools in Pennsylvania and Florida recently sent out letters to parents of select students to bring to their attention the fact that their child is too fat! Albeit, the language was not quite that blunt, but that is the precise message they are trying to convey with the letters.
The idea behind the carefully-worded letters is to inform parents that they need to do something to change the eating habits of their kids and to help them increase their activity to lose the extra weight they have.
Proponents of the letters claim that these notices are just like sending home notices about vision or hearing problems. They say they are only doing it for the sake of the health of the children.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives some pretty grim statistics regarding obesity in America. They claim that 13 percent of children and adolescents and nearly 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese.
Being overweight leads to more serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart failure. These health problems can get even worse in adulthood.
Computer games, television and reliance on fast food are all blamed for the problem of obesity. However, there are even more serious reasons why obesity is such a problem with children in America.
Just look at that statistic again from the Centers for Disease Control! Although 13 percent of kids are overweight, much more than half of all adults are overweight or obese! Herein lies the problem.
If the vast majority of parents are not eating healthy or exercising properly themselves, then how can they expect to tell their kids how to do these things right?
What kind of example are parents being to their kids if the problem of obesity is much worse with themselves?
I grew up as a pretty large child and was made fun of throughout my childhood. It was difficult being singled-out, but, looking back, it was good for my character.
I am a better and stronger adult because of those experiences.
I have struggled to keep my weight under control as an adult. It is a personal problem that is not the business of anyone but me. The only person responsible for this problem is me.
Am I discriminated against because of my weight? Most assuredly.
Am I doing something about my weight problem? Yes. I have lost nearly 50 pounds in the past 6 weeks in my latest attempt to lose weight.
Will I have to struggle with this the rest of my life? Absolutely. But that is something that a lot of people have to deal with as a fact of life.
Including our overweight and obese children!
I do not think children should be pointed out with these letters any more than they already are by their classmates. That should be punishment enough!
When emotionally weak children gets ridiculed by their classmates, it hurts their self-esteem and these children may shrink into severe depression.
When a strong-willed child, which I was, gets ridiculed by their classmates, it also hurts, but can be used as motivation for doing something about their weight problem.
We all know that obesity is a large (no pun intended!) problem in America.
But it is a personal problem that parents need to deal with and no business of any school!