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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Do you really notice fat kids or because there are so many they don't seem out of place?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) June 9th, 2010

Do you really take note of fat kids? Is it people have not really noticed fat and obese kids because there are so many now it is rather normal? I guess I notice fat kids because way back in ancient times when I was in school, there were not fat kids really. I cannot remember any fat kids in my school from 1st grade until 6th, and that was every class in the whole school not just the grade I was in or that year but every year until I left. I remember there were only 2 kids, one girl and one boy who we kids thought of as fat; and by today’s standards they would not even be seen as fat. All sorts of things are said of fat kids that 18% of all children are either fat or obese, and they have a 70% chance of being obese adults link. Some studies place the number higher, but there seem to be no denying OK there will be those who will stay in denial that there is a problem growing yearly with fat kids. Is the reason why this slips under the radar or is not noticed that much is because with so many fat kids running around it seems normal? For instance imagine you had to live out in the bush for about a year or longer and there were no paved roads or sidewalks. During the summer when the dust got blowing if 60% of the time you seen a vehicle it was covered in dust you would soon stop noticing that nearly all the vehicles were dusty. Isn’t that kind of the same effect with fat kids, they are all over in such numbers they don’t really stand out much anymore?

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20 Answers

Nullo's avatar

It’s rather more like a SEP field. Fat people are, for the most part (and ironically) generally ignored unless you’re talking about fat people.

Mat74UK's avatar

Actually I’ve noticed a lot more “truffle shuffling”!

roundsquare's avatar

Is it that they are not noticed or that its considered impolite/rude/mean to bring it up (especially if they are around)?

JLeslie's avatar

I think most people notice, at least in my circles we do. We are horrified and saddened by it. We also acknowledge it is a tricky thing to address, because children are forming their opinions of themselves and we don’t want to be negative to a child in a way that would affect their self worth. Most children I see who are heavy have heavy parents. It is a family issue many times in my opinion. This is difficult to overcome, because if the parents are not on board it will be difficult for the children to address it. There needs to be a big societal change I think for this to really get fixed.

roundsquare's avatar

@JLeslie I completely agree about it being a family thing. Most parents do want their kids to be healthy, but also want their kids to enjoy all the good food they love.

I think the point is that they need to learn some form of balance. Its no problem to have fried chicken, but it should be very rare.

The other thing is kids usually have high metabolisms, so it seems like its okay to feed them unhealthy food because they burn it away. Parents need to realize the habits they are building… but that can be tough to do.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie ” We are horrified and saddened by it. We also acknowledge it is a tricky thing to address, because children are forming their opinions of themselves and we don’t want to be negative to a child in a way that would affect their self worth.” Would you say being straight with the kid before he/she becomes a teen and letting them have the bad feelings that might come form it full tap is worse or better than saying nothing and allowing them to get bad feelings from many in a slow drip through high school and into college and maybe beyond?

” Most children I see who are heavy have heavy parents.” As I said in my details when I was in school the whole seven years from 1st grade until 6th there were no fat kids less the two mentioned and there were plenty of overweight to fat parents. I am sure there were less processed and easily microwavable food available back then and we did play more outdoors not hiding inside because we were told the bogey man was lurking behind every bush or in every passing car waiting to snatch us away and didn’t have a slew of video games anchoring us in front of the TV set for hour and hours; a PC either. I sometimes wonder if that was the biggest thing because we ate junk food but we were always moving and not just when it was structured sports set up by parents.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I notice childhood obesity, sure – I notice it as a mother and as a public health professional and upon my notice, my mind trails off into ‘fast food/behavior modeling/class separation/education access/personal responsibility vs. systems of oppressions/advertising, etc. etc.’ blob.

mollypop51797's avatar

I don’t see it too often, but when there are overweight kids, I do notice. and as @JLeslie said, I am saddened by it because they are kids (well the young ones are) and for the older ones, I feel bad too. And for the grown ups who are obese, I feel terrible for. That’s why The Biggest Loser and shows like that always bring tears to my eyes (both good and bad…)

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Well, I am not saying we should not do something about it, or not say something, I am just pointing out how tricky the whole thing is. I think I would be very in favor of education on good nutrition at a young age, taught to a class, and maybe not directed at a particular student, including height and weight charts like the good old days so kids can know kind of where they stand from a black and white view, and not just the mirror or peers. A woman I know has a beautiful daughter who is thin, not sickly skinny, thin, and she gets teased that she is skinny by her friends. She is in 9th grade and I guess the heavier girls have more of a “shape” and so she is to feel bad about being thin, hell it is normal for her age by the standards I grew up with.

Now, about your second point to me, I am unclear about what you wrote. You are saying there were thin kids and fat parents. This does not go against what I was saying if I understand you correctly. I am saying generally I find fat kids have fat parents, I was not commenting on thin children. I think kids do tend to burn off calories, expecially if they are playing out side and in sports, so they can be thin and have heavier parents. They still might not be eating a great menu, but the calories are being used up. I agree being sedentary is a big problem, that is what catches up to us as adults, and now we are seeing it in children. I ate my fair share of unhealthy food when I was young. I was allowed to drink all of the Coke I wanted, snacks when I arrived home from school could be anything from cookies to lasagna. School lunch was tacos, and pizza, and hamburgers, I don’t think that has changed much. But, for dinner we rarely ate out in a restaurant, my mom cooked from scratch the majority of the time and always made a vegetable with dinner. Most restaurant food is so loaded with hidden fat it makes me sick. And, I ate much smaller portions. The most concrete example I can give you is even as a high school student I thought a hamburger, small fries and a coke were a meal at McDonalds, although they started introducing it as a Happy Meal for very little kids. A quarter pounder seemed huge to me, let alone a large fries with it. Chicken nuggets I would have ordered 4 and a soda and be full. I was watching Leave it to Beaver a while back and noticed how small their dinner plates were. But, I did not eat a lot of fast food to begin with, it is just to provide an example that everyone can relate to.

meagan's avatar

While I was at the gym last friday, there was a girl there that had to be like fifteen. She probably easily weighed 300 pounds. Her mother was there, “teaching” her how to work out. It really broke my heart. Of course I’ll notice her. Shes the size of two people.
I was chunky as a kid. So I’ve always got a soft spot for overweight people.

JLeslie's avatar

@meagan Awww. Do you wonder how it got to that point, and just now the mother is showing her how to exercise? Was the mother overweight?

meagan's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, she was overweight too. But not so much. It all just breaks my heart. Not to mention they weren’t even working out properly. I wanted to say something, but I know how hard it has to be. The little girl didn’t even look little. She looked like a fully grown woman. I didn’t think about her age until I started noticing how young her clothes looked, her bag, etc. Then I realized that her face really did look young. It was strange.

meagan's avatar

It kind of puts things in perspective, huh? Everyone complains so much about those extra ten pounds they’d like to lose, when these children are having to suffer from being super morbidly obese.

JLeslie's avatar

I do want to mention that when I see someone overweight I do not assume they just can’t control what they eat or their lifestyle. Sometimes their is a medical reason. I am not just talking about a metabolism problem, that is rather rare I think, but does exist, my point is we never know if someone was on cortozone, suffers from chronic pain, recently had a surgery and put on 20 pounds. Really we cannot assume anything about a particular individual, but when I see 5 kids walking through the mall together and 4 of them are at least 30 pounds overweight you just know it is a community problem most likely. Or, like my husband once said, we used to come to America and we would couldn’t believe how there would be a mommy and a daddy with their two children, and all four of them looked like boxes. Two grown up boxes and then two little ones.”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie “Really we cannot assume anything about a particular individual, but when I see 5 kids walking through the mall together and 4 of them are at least 30 pounds overweight you just know it is a community problem most likely.” That is my point; 1st you can’t assume that the four overweight kids or people are suffereing from thyroid problems, adverse coditions due to medicine etc, that would make ⅔ of America somehow affected by some means other than themselves. Second, if you have 5 kids but 4 are overweight then the normals sized kid will seem odd and the fat kids will seem normal and thus not notices. It would be like living in a community were ⅔ of the people were dwarfs or 4’10” and shorter, after a while you won’t really notice them much bit if a person 6’ 6” tall comes strutting through they will stick out like a fly in the mayo. In reverse it is was a community of ex and present basketball and volley ball players that average 6’ 3” after a while you won’t notice but when a parson comes through 5’9” or shorter etc. you’d notice the shorter person.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I completely agree that if in a community most people are heavier it becomes normal. “Normal” is changing; or at least statistically normal is changing, not what should be a normal healthy weight. I do think that in many communites people have no idea what normal weight is.

When I answered I was thinking from my perspective of being in my early 40’s and that when I was in school there was one fat kid. I was just in FL for my nephew’s high school graduation and the kids in his school are a healthy weight in my opinion. When I go to my university for a football game, the kids on campus are pretty much all thin. I think it has to do with your immediate community, who you see every day, everything is relative. If the obesity rate among kids is 18% (that is what your link said, but that does not account for kids who are overweight, but not obese I guess) it’s not likely in my mind that 18% of kids at each school are obese. Some communities are still how it was when I was growing up, and then other schools are probably over 50% obese, and I think it is probably like a snowball effect in the communities with high rates.

When I live in FL I am one of the many when it comes to weight, even a little heavy, same in NY, I need to lose 10–15 pounds if I look at the other people around me. Here in Memphis I look pretty damn good. Except, when I go to the better parts of town, they are thin. The higher end shops/mall has thinner people there. I really think it is mostly socio-economic.

I actually remember when I learned to eat more food. I was in high school and my new boyfriend kind of criticized me for taking such a small portion when I served myself food. Slowly over time I became able to consume more, when previously once I was full I would never take an extra bite. Not that I became way out of control with my eating, but it was the beginning of a change in how I ate. I also became more aware of finishing food on my plate with him, I had not been that way before.

Nullo's avatar

I just realized that I hardly notice anybody at all anymore when I’m at work. But the vast majority of the horrendously heavyset are pushing the Middle Ages.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Nullo Maybe because the vast majority was hiding in plain sight. :-)

Nullo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central That, or I don’t really connect with my customers, instead passing their desired goods to them as if I were mere feeding the great machine that is Commerce.
I don’t think that I’ll be telling the manager about this conversation. :D

meagan's avatar

@Nullo Where do you work? My first job out of high school was at a Walgreens, and almost every customer bought some kind of candy / chocolate. It was kind of disgusting. That was the first time I ever really noticed how deep Americans were in this hole. Everyone must stop impulse buying.

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