There are days I really relate to Roseanne Barr’s old joke: “I don’t call myself a feminist. I prefer the term ‘killer bitch.'” This is one of those days.
Via Kate Harding’s site, I just got tipped off to an article in the Kansas City Star that came excruciatingly close, ohsoclose, to acknowledging that all the public handwringing about Childhood Obesity Boogaboogabooga is doing kids more harm than good. The first page of the article makes many of the same points that a similar story that Sandy Szwarc posted on July 4 on Junkfood Science, that said all the billions-with-a-b spent on trying to get kids to
diet eat “healthier” is actually making them hate vegetables even more than they already do, and hasn’t made them lose any weight either.
I take a breath. Could it be? An actual Paid Media Source admitting that you can’t make kids like things they dislike, or want to consume things voluntarily that don’t taste good to them? And that even if you could, it wouldn’t turn most fat kids into thin ones?
And then I click the link to page two…and fahhhk if they don’t ruin everything. Because even if they let the schools and the federal government off the hook for the time being, it’s still “parents'” (read: mothers’ — you know most dads aren’t reading these guilt-trip “lifestyle stories”) fault if the kids are fat.
When children slim down, it’s because “their families get religion about this and figure out what needs to happen,” said Philip Zeitler, a pediatric endocrinologist and researcher.
Numbers please? Are there actually any slim adults out there who used to be fat kids, and only got and stayed thin because their
parents mothers “made them” slim down? (As opposed to fat kids who simply wound up effortlessly outgrowing their fat and thus became slim adults?) Let’s see some hands. No, really, get ’em in the air way up high, I can’t see you from that far back.
Now, let’s see the hands of all the fat adults whose choosy moms got that ol’ time skinny religion bug and relentlessly pressured them to lose weight, lose weight, lose weight, lose weight, day and night, night and day, until they were blue in the frigging face, and wound up fat anyway, in many cases much fatter than they were as kids. Ah. Thought so. Mr. Pediatric Endocrinologist, try talking to some fat adults who were fat kids someday. It might blow your mind, if there’s anything there left to blow. (I’m reminded of a certain “if brains were dynamite” joke, but I’ll hold off for the nonce.)
And fire two:
“If the mother is eating Cheetos and white bread, the fetus will be born with those taste buds. If the mother is eating carrots and oatmeal, the child will be born with those taste buds,” said Robert Trevino of the Social and Health Research Center in San Antonio.
Most kids learn what tastes good and what tastes nasty by their 10th birthdays.
“If we don’t reach a child before they get to puberty, it’s going to be very tough, very difficult, to change their eating behavior,” Trevino said.
OW. My jaw hurts. Gotta quit bonking it on the ground so much. Which probably means I need to quit reading. Anything. At all. Ever.
Again, where are the damn numbers? Is there a single study that backs up this statement at all? Anywhere? Nah, we’ll just assume that all children love and hate to eat exactly what their moms love and hate to eat, because it’s nice and tidy and gives those idle female minds who are just begging to be told what to do about their kids’ puppy fat something else to try that won’t work any better than the 8,000,003 things they’ve already tried. But it’s…just…so….STUPID. Stupid. Stupid. (Shit, I sound like an Ed Wood film, don’t I?)
Do any of you have the exact same taste in food your mother has? Moreover, did you have that selfsame taste when you were ten years old? I can tell you right now, I didn’t, and don’t. My mother has no sweet tooth. I have a massive one (though I don’t overindulge it as I don’t want to blow up my pancreas). Maybe because I have PCOS (which fosters insulin resistance and sugar craving when untreated, as it was for the first 33 years of my life) and she doesn’t? My mother loves raw onions and green peppers. You could have promised me a flying pony with a tambourine head when I was ten years old and I wouldn’t have touched either raw onions or green peppers with a ten-foot fork. And I still won’t.
C’mon, guys, cough it up. You know the truth. You know this “childhood obesity epidemic” is a bunch of trumped-up hooha, that kids are maybe, on average, ten pounds heavier and an inch taller than a generation ago. Poor children, particularly the children of the working poor who don’t qualify for government assistance, do seem to be in worse health all the time, because their lives and their families’ lives are measurably more stressful, their health care is a joke and their food and exercise options are an even worse joke. (Which is not to say that those who do qualify for government assistance have it great either, but at least they get a little help.) That is the real “childhood health crisis” in America, not the youthful spare tires of middle-class and upper-class kids.
But gaaaah, if we concentrated on that we’d be taking all your fun away by depriving you of the opportunity to bash uppity middle-class-and-richer women for thinking they actually have the right to have lives, who think they actually have the right to eat what they want and not spend every spare moment they have slaving over a hot stove and sitting with their children for five hours at the dinner table every night “making them” eat their kohlrabi. I wish more of these women would see these stupid-ass “lifestyle stories” for the antifeminist, regressive guiltbaggery that they are. They know damn well you can’t “make” kids eat vegetables, that even if you could, that doesn’t mean the kids will carry that habit with them into adulthood, and that even kids who like vegetables often wind up fat.
C’mon, moms, find your inner killer bitch. Reject the guilt. You don’t need it, and your kids sure don’t need it either.