27 February 2007

Can Toddlers Be Fat?

I was flipping channels this evening and stumbled across a show on The Learning Channel called "Tubby Toddlers". I will admit that my first impulse was to just scroll past without even reading the description. Frankly, I find that I have little or no respect for TLC's programming anymore. One Week To Save Your Marriage, Crazy Kids Clips, and the endless series of medical freak shows that they seem to think we'll find entertaining are not my idea of enthralling television viewing.

Professor Paul Gately's research on childhood obesity may be quite valid and valuable. One of my greatest fears is that Sprout will struggle with her weight (and the self-worth problems arising from body image issues) as I have done for most of my life. I honestly believed that I was fat and that I needed to loose weight long before I really was. Genetics aren't on Sprout's side on this issue so I'm hoping that we can give her the tools that she needs to tackle the environmental factors so that she's ahead of the game. I love that she is active and energetic...

The thing is, toddlers are developing in so many areas at once. To put toddlers, or any young child, on a weight loss program seems so very, very wrong to me.

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Maryellen said...

Yes toddlers can be fat but not from compulsive eating. my friend's daughter at three is rather large and after several people tellling her to cut back on milk. And her telling themthat she does they are doing some blood work to find out why. I guess three isn't a toddler.

Andi said...

You're right, maryellen, toddlers can have metabolic disorders which should be tracked down and diagnosed. I'm just disturbed by the idea of labeling a very young child "FAT" and mandating a weight loss regimen.

Our culture seems to do everything possible to introduce toxic body image and self-esteem problems to children (especially girls) earlier and earlier. When I look at my 2 1/2 year old I feel as though it is my job to spend these early years giving her the tools that she will need to combat those influences later in her life.

In the interim, I will fight to the death to prevent the introduction of those poisonous influences for as long as possible.

Anonymous said...

I watched this program, and the use of the word "Toddler" was misleading. The children were 5 and 6 years old, I believe, and all had obese BMIs. It was clear that this was a result of their families' lifestyles-- unlimited access to unhealthy food, and lack of activity.