Sunday, October 17, 2010

And We Wonder Why So Many Children Suffer From Eating Disorders

I took my son with me to a family reunion this weekend. He's 6 months old, a very active, happy, an healthy baby, at 29 inches long and 20 lbs, 3 oz. His doctors say he's doing great, and he's growing just fine on mostly breastmilk, some formula, and a few ounces of pureed fruits & veggies, with a little bit of grains, most day.

Still, one of his great aunts thought it was totally appropriate to lecture us because we were feeding him avocado and bananas.  See, she had heard that they were "full of fat", and we shouldn't feed baby anything fattening because then he would grow up to be fat (like mom & [paternal] grandma were only implied). I told her that they were one of the healthiest foods for a child, that babies needed fat to grow, and milk and formula were both high in fat as well, and that it was really none of her business what I fed my son. I bit my tongue on most of the things that came to mind, but I wonder if she would have brought it up if I was thinner, or if my husband's family was all thin (this same woman has an 3 adult daughters - one who has been in an out of treatment for anorexia and related health problems, one who is "average size", and one who is a large woman herself, so I would think she'd know better either way - I assume they all were given approximately the same foods growing up).

I know some people think I may be overreacting, but this whole obsession with children, eating habits, and thinness has gotten beyond dangerous. 4 month olds are being denied health insurance because they are obese (even though BMI was not intended for children, or even as an individual measurement). We have parents abusing and starving their children, often to death, and at least two of these parents have come right out and said it was because they thought they were getting fat. Studies are showing that daycares and schools are also malnourishing children by providing meals with too little fat an calories to meet nutritional guidelines, in an effort to appear more healthy and reduce rates of obesity and overweight. The irony here is that kids who are put on diets or fail to receive adequate nourishment early in life never learn to feel and regulate their own hunger and fullness, and have trouble managing their weight and developing healthy eating habits as adults (the same thing happens to adult "yo-yo" dieters who learn to ignore their body's signals in order to stick to a specific eating plan or diet). Still, our society would rather follow Michelle Obama's plan to cut food stamps and promote fat-shaming among children, and dress our babies in clothing with the same messages that promote eating disorders in older children (see below), than to focus on real science and nutritional first and stop projecting our weighjt and body image issues onto young children.

Infant bodysuits from CafePress:

 Shirt on the right reads:

Club Anorexic
Where all the top models hang out
Rock till You Faint
Fully staffed medical facilities and restrooms

1 comment:

  1. this is horrible! why would you dress your kid in that? ugh, this makes me angry..... eating disorders are too common... we have to stop this!


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