I signed onto Facebook and the first image I see is of an overweight child with the caption–“When you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at McDonalds”. I don’t find that funny. I find it to be representative of how we ‘fat shame’ children in this society. While some might see it as a fleeting opportunity for a laugh, it’s not. It can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem.
Children who struggle with obesity almost always feel bad about themselves. Their self-esteem is tied to how others see them and often, it’s negative. Children are exposed to images in the media that further lessen their self-esteem.
Here are some ways we unknowingly ‘fat shame’ kids:
Calling them nicknames that refer to their weight, like “chunky monkey”; “Fatty Patty”
Humiliating a child who is eating a large portion of food— Are you really going to eat all of that? “Give me those potato chips. You don’t need them”.
Comparing an overweight child to a child who doesn’t have a weight problem–“Look at John, he’s so skinny and healthy”. “You should try to lose weight like Jane.”
Judging an overweight child by how she dresses—“You shouldn’t wear clothes like that.”
Insinuating that a child’s attractiveness is based on weight–“You’re pretty for a fat girl”. “If you lost 10 pounds, you’d be so pretty”.
Children who have obesity need support and guidance so they can make better choices for eating and increasing their activity level. Shaming, blaming only makes the problem worse and often, an overweight child will turn to food to soothe themselves from emotional pain.
At CCD we provide emotional support and nutritional counseling to help families deal with obesity. We know that most parents want the best for their children, but don’t know where to turn. We’re here to help your family get healthy on all levels. Call us and schedule an evaluation for our Healthy Child Program. We work with the entire family.
We have a three step plan that will help children and families to get healthier and lose weight. We can work in person or virtually. No more shame or blame. We’ll help boost your child’s self-confidence, learn healthy eating and increase physical activity. We’ll support you every step along the way.