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A Mother’s Blind Love Seals the Fate For the Overweight Child

In a group of mothers there were some who would be classified as ‘Obese’. When they were asked, 95% of those obese mothers did indeed recognize that classification to be true about them selves.

When asked about their children, 79% if the mothers (who had overweight children) failed to recognize their own children as being overweight.

“A face only a mother could love”

In the eyes of a mother sometimes a child can do no wrong and obviously in the eyes of the majority of mothers they can also be blinded to what has become a national epidemic … childhood obesity. (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine)

At 9 or 10 years of age there seems to be little difference in the self esteem of the obese and the non obese children but by the ages of 13 and 14 the self esteem of the obese children is shown to drop quite significantly. These children became sad, lonely and/or nervous. These same children were also more likely to take up drinking alcohol and smoking.

In one study (Caterson 1997) it was shown that children view obesity as a disability and actually worse than losing a limb.

When children were shown different silhouettes, children as young as 6 describe the obese silhouettes as ‘Lazy’, ‘Stupid’, ‘Ugly’, ‘Dirty’ and ‘Cheats’

Line drawings were shown to both children and adults. The drawings showed a normal child an obese child and other children with various disabilities and disfigurements. The line drawing of an ‘obese’ person was viewed by the study group as ‘Less Likeable’

The incredible sadness of this unwarranted prejudice is that the obese children in the study group came up with the same conclusions.

Adolescence is hard enough, but to be in the mind of a teenager who then sees themselves as ‘worse than disabled’ as ‘lazy’ and ‘dirty’ and who as a consequence suffers from depression and loneliness and is uncomfortable in the company of others, these young years must be pure hell.

Blame the Parents ! I was discussing Childhood obesity with a friend of mine and they felt that it boarded on abuse and that the parents had to take responsibility for the physical condition of their children. I found myself defending parents and thinking of my childhood.

I was brought up in the 70’s and 80’s in the north of England. I ate snacks and sweets, I ate fried food and sugary baked goods. The difference I believe was that back then we didn’t have fast food available on every corner. The microwave was not yet big and my mum and dad made all of our meals from real food, not processed foods. For sure there was plenty of sugar and butter but me and my brother rode our bikes and walked part of the way to school. We played ball and met up with local kids to play at the local playing field. My mum was home when I got home from school and we had 3 square meals and maybe a snack before bed. My parents I should note here are absolutely awesome and my childhood optimizes how a childhood should be.

These days we have fast food on every corner, we have fast food in our schools. Most often both parents have to work and meals have to be prepared in haste increasing the use of microwaveable products. The computer and video games replaced the jump rope and the bike and our social decline has added to the parents of today being very guarded about letting their children go play too far from home or walk to the local school.

My parents did the best that they could and I believe that parents today really try to make the best choices for their kids, but they really do have an uphill battle. With all the commercials the marketing madness and misleading labeling, it becomes very confusing for the Mom and Dad of today. All the processed foods make meals very calorie dense and even if you do the best you can at home your child is still bombarded with the influences of the outside world.

There seems to be no “Child Rearing 101” classes in the Learning Annex and if there were, they may be sponsored by one of the big food companies. In a blink of an eye the child becomes a parent and their learnt behaviors are past on down the line, which brings me nicely to the role of ‘genetics’ .. that over which we have no control.

The Apple and the Tree … If both parents are obese then there is a 73% chance that their children will too be obese. Two lean parents and the chance of their child being obese is only 9% One obese parent, one non obese parent the odds are around 42% of their children becoming obese.

Studies seem to indicate that obesity is 25-40% hereditary. 23 genes are identified, how each one works we do not know (yet) but it is thought that mild obesity can be accounted for by genetics, whereas moderate to excessive obesity is mainly due to a combination of genetics, overeating and under exercising.

The apple may not fall far from the tree but when it lands there are variables that we do have some control over that can mitigate the final outcome.

It is worth noting here than children that are breast fed for one year or more are 74% less likely to enter school overweight. The child that breast feeds stop feeding when full, the mother has no idea how much milk it has taken to get to that point but they are comfortable in the knowledge that their baby has taken all it needs. On the flip side the mother that bottle feeds really has no idea how much milk it takes to satisfy their baby, they are more likely to feed their child when it cries (for any reason) and so then their child is much more likely to be (unintentionally) overfed and some may also argue that they desensitize the child to its own inner workings of satiety, that is, the body’s own system of regulating food intake, of knowing when enough is enough.

Your parents heavily influence your basic blueprint. Adopted twins mimic their biological parents and even twins that were brought up in different homes experience growth spurts, weight gain and weight loss at the same time in their lives, but that being said we are now living in an era where for the first time ever the children may not live as long as their parents and that is not a issue of genetics that is an issue of education (or lack of) and social change.

I strongly believe a parent, irrespective of their socio-economic standing will always try to make the best choices that they are able to make for their children, but they receive no guidance, the only information they receive is the bias marketing of the food manufacturers themselves.

The obesity epidemic will take lives before they are due, it will deteriorate the quality of one’s life and it will cost the country a fortune in health costs and yet still we do not see a class on nutrition, health and disease in our schools. Companies spend and make fortunes to develop the next best medication for the symptoms of obesity. If we could just educate our children then in no time they too will become parents themselves and the lessons learnt will be passed down and maybe then we might be able the turn back the tide of this crippling condition.

Source by Joanne Lee

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