Monday, October 22, 2007

"Watch Out, Mrs P, we're WARNING you....YOU'VE spawned a BLOB!"

"Parents of fat kids to be given a warning" says "The Times" headline today.

It's Mr Alan Johnson again. Hmm. Our esteemed Health Secretary STILL hasn't taken his discs and gone to his Desert Island ( see my post of Oct 10th )
Instead, Mr Johnson and cronies have deemed that after a child is weighed in school, the weight of that child should be made clear to the parents; it seems children have been routinely weighed in UK schools over the past 2 years.
And Mr Johnson and cronies have a very strong point. As we know, fat little people make fat big people. ( See Beryl Cook's " Girls in taxi Clubbing and a black cab" above).....maybe some parents do "need telling".
BUT... Right. OK.
Can you imagine it? Can you imagine this giving of warnings?
" Hey, Mr P, we're WARNING you! You and Mrs P, you've reared a flipping BLOB!"
" Are you listening, Mrs D? Your kid's a big un, so we're WARNING you, Mrs D. Cut out the cokes and sling out the sausage and Bring Back The Cauliflower! "
"We're looking at your kid, Mrs M...coming up womanly, isn't she, Mrs M? She'll soon be needing something to hold up that chest of hers....Big lass, isn't she?....Tis pity she's only 6...look at her rolling hips! we're giving you a WARNING, Mrs M. Listen up, listen well, Mrs M and get that fat kid on the celery!"
But it's no joke, I know.
When teaching little ones, I saw the misery being overweight brings. Children suffer mentally as well as physically; not all of them, but it's likely. Being fat leaves you "legless", ie. you can't run in playgrounds; you're slow, you're breathless. You're "left out"; other kids don't choose you for games so you stand at the side and scoff even more jellytots, probably a chunky Doubledecker, a few walnut whips.You can feel unloved. You can feel HUGELY invisible. And it hurts.
It's not always so, of course. But years ago, I taught in Wandsworth; the most ample girl in class was loved by all. She giggled a lot, she chattered a lot. I thought all was fine with her, till one day she dillydallied after school. She washed out the paintpots, she watered the plants, she sharpened every pencil.She stacked up paintings, sorted out the charcoal. ( THAT's helpful!) Finally, she rubbed the blackboard til it was spotless, then sat down and told me that more than anything in The Whole Wide World, she wanted to win a race at sports day but knew she never could..
Being overweight aids/abets type 2 diabetes; it can encourage strokes, coronary disease, even mental health issues, such as depression.
Being overweight can significantly shorten lives. And it's scary that young lives, in some cases, are being shortened so readily.
Being overweight in many cases can be prevented. We're lucky; we know the ways and the means. Some parents do, some parents dont.
BUT to my way of thinking, it's vital that above all, the children of 2007 learn these ways and means themselves... FOR THEMSELVES.

For their Healthiest possible futures.


Blogger Suffolkmum said...

I know, I know - it's so terrible to see overweight children, it looks so wrong, they should all be long-limbed little gazelles in my fantasy world, yet something chills the bloood about them being weighed and measured and the families chastised. There seems to be so much unhappiness around the whole issue. Loved reading about your writers group and the people you've met.

12:00 pm  
Blogger Anne S said...

20 years ago really overweight people were a rarity. They were called "Fat Richard" etc. in a kind of affectionate way. These days blobs have taken over and astonishing numbers of them are wandering the streets.

Children in Australia also demonstrate this worrying obesity - very poor diets are the cause in general opinion.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

That's how I felt...uneasy about the "warnings" although it's so obvious that "something" needs to be done to stop this fatty explosion...

Someone said it's partly since supermarkets took over from little shops..may well have a point of sorts..

11:39 pm  
Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Excellent post, Jan, you've written with common sense and so much compassion too. Evidently a recent report said that half of all Brits will be clinically obese by 2050 - that's a scary and supremely unhealthy prospect. But it's a worldwide phenomenon spurred by the rise of fast food empires and junk food.

6:54 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Thanks Vanilla and I wish there could be simpler solutions ..

4:42 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

I tended to think that obesity was not quite so bad here in France, and perhaps different shopping and eating habits helped, but I think it's rapidly catching up. Apparently increased pastry consumption by the young is blamed. Youngsters are also, it seems, drinking worryingly more, though the binge drinking culture and it's related ills have a long way to go before they catch up with the UK. The curious thing is, of course both pastries and alcohol have always been freely available and tempting here, but only recently are they being over-consumed by kids.
We went to a cheap, help-yourself-for-a-basic-fee type restaurant at a supermarket a while ago, and I have never seen so many enormous French people all in one place!

1:11 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

I was very surprised to hear this.
One always has this image of the trim/chic French woman, but nothing stays the same...and images are frequently All In The Mind, aren't they?

12:27 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Best advice is to eat when your hungry, not for comfort, reward or out of boredom etc etc. I think Nigella should be shot for her present programme, which is full of every sort of the wrong kind of sugar!

1:45 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

I think a lot of menfolk would miss her delicious concoctions..
But youre right; Im constantly amazed at the stuff she uses, the sugary ingredients, the cream, the chocolate...HELP!

10:22 am  

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