This page from kidshealth.org goes over some recent numbers about childhood obesity and the finding that 1 in 3 children is now considered overweight or obese. That’s a lot of young people who are suffering now and will be suffering for most of their lives. Carrying extra body fat makes all activity in life more difficult and there is an innate tendency for people to judge obese people more harshly as a result of their weight. I think some harsh judgement is fitting for someone who has control over the food they buy and eat, it is unfortunate for the younger obese person because up until a certain age, they have almost no control over what they eat.
I have little doubt that there are psychological reasons for many eating behaviours but when it applies to the escalating obesity rate with young people, I believe the obesity preceeds any psychological problems. If the young person’s brain is void of issues then the cause of the obesity is environmental in the form of poor eating behaviors taught by their parents or caregivers. Simply put, fat people breed lean people and then proceed to make them fat.
Fattening up a child is one of the worst things a parent can do because it harms their child but there is something even more insidious about it. Fattening up their children serves to make the obese parent feel more normal because it creates another fat person. Think about it this way, if 2 fat parents have 2 lean children, the ratio of fat to lean people in the family is 1:1. But if 2 fat parents have 1 lean child and 1 fat child, the ration of fat to lean is 3:1. If 75% of the people are obese, obesity can be regarded as the norm. If both children are fat then they have a 100% obesity rate making obesity completely acceptable. Obese parents, by making their children fat, create a life preserving fiction that being fat is normal and nothing to be concerned with or treated.
Fat parents rarely teach their children how they should be eating, what foods to buy and how to prepare these foods to maintain a lean body. They also never model lean as a way to live life. Their food choices are taught to their children, along with the obese lifestyle, as things that are normal. Lacking evidence that says anything different, the children learn that these things are how it is. They do not see a choice until much later in life when the habits are formed and their is a solid foundation of adipose tissue ready to soak-up the extra calories and store fat. By the time they realize that they do have a choice the odds are stacked against them that they will ever be a healthy weight because their body’s have become so good at storing fat.
For the obese parent it is not too late to stop abusing your child but you need to start now. You need to make a big effort to eliminate the behaviors that made you fat in the first place and begin to model the behaviors that will help to maintain leanness. You need to do this even if you will never enjoy a long lean life; just because you were victim to the consequences of poor eating behaviors doesn’t mean that your children need to be. There is more than enough information available that will help you make the right choices that to continue to make the wrong ones amounts to deliberate ignorance. The clock is ticking because your children are watching you and making your behavior the reality. How you act now is how they will act in the very near future. Give them a solid foundation to make their life easier than yours has been.