Just like the color of your skin, the color of your eyes, how tall you are or how short you are, your weight is…On the hoof; everyone sees it. And when everyone sees it, everyone can make a comment. And when you start to comment on a particular group and what they look like, you start to point fingers, create an opportunity for ridicule, and make a particular group a target. That makes me, uncomfortable. Targeting fat kids, is not that different than proclaiming that every willowy, lithe, middle school girl, is secretly sticking her finger down her throat or subsisting on a few lettuce leaves and steamed broccoli.
Every child has a right to good health; physical, mental and emotional. We should be raising awareness on childhood “health promotion” and how we can each be part of it. The Girl Scout Research Institute has produced two studies, Weighing In: Helping Girls be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow (2004) and The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living (2006.) The studies were a precursor to Beauty Redefined: Girls and Body Image Survey (2010), a nationwide survey which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17 (all are available for download at www.girlscouts.org.) These three publications give us a glimpse into the physical, mental and emotional health of kids. The adult view comes from the obesity epidemic and the desire to address it. Beauty Redefined offers the perspective of the girl and how she struggles to be “just right” among her peer group, focusing less on good physical health and more on fitting in. It tells us what “healthy living” means to girls.
Obesity is a serious issue affecting children and adults. So are the foods which are highly refined, low in nutrients and energy dense, and then highly marketed to kids. Super-sized portions, screen-time instead of outdoor play time, food price and availability, food insecurity are the real issues we need to address, and they affect every child, fat or skinny. Let’s teach all kids that when it comes to their bodies…Respect it, Honor It, Fuel It.
Please contact Carole Aksak at 516.741.2550 ext. 254.