Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Is Your Child Fat? Don't Believe Your Skinny Eyes

As the Easter chocolate and candy slowly piles up around Blackwell manor, now seemed a fortuitous time to stumble across an article in Forbes magazine which revealed the findings of a recent study regarding fat kids.

But this study was unlike most obesity studies, which are typically shocking due to the sheer number of people who are overweight or obese. (For what it's worth, 69 percent of the American population is overweight, while 36 percent are obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.)

No this study found a new way to surprise me by finding that parents are unable to tell if their child is overweight.

Go ahead and read the more detailed report linked above, but the gist of the story is this:

Obese kids aren't just for North Americans anymore.  
"It turned out that parents were extraordinarily poor at determining whether their children were overweight or obese. Of the 369 kids (studied) who were very overweight, only four parents thought they were."

Four parents out of 369. That's not four percent; that's four out of 369 or just about 1 percent.

OK then.

The study didn't really touch on why parents are predisposed to view their offspring through a lens which makes them appear not fat.

But, even in the absence of hard, empirical evidence, it's not tough to speculate with a decent degree of probability how this happens.

Parents want the best for their kids. We sure don't want them to be fat. To admit that they are fat is to admit all that comes with it: social stigma, self-esteem, and a multitude of health issues.

And, once a parent has acknowledged the reality of their child's weight problem, the next logical step is to concede their own culpability.

That's got to be one tough pill to swallow. Knowing that your kid's life is automatically tougher and it's in no small part due to your actions.

Well, as we've covered in this space before, we're different, right? This couldn't happen to us because we're smarter than that.

Well, you're smarter than that.

Naturally the lazy little chub heads right for the riding
tractors instead of the old-school push mowers.
On the other hand, I make enough idiot moves that I can write a blog about it. With that reality in mind, I decided I'd take a look at the boy to ensure that he's, in fact, not fat.

This included a head-to-toe inventory to ensure that he's not hiding cellulite anywhere. Aside from chubby cheeks, the boy checked out.

Or did he? Was my mind playing tricks on me? How on Earth to know?

I asked Mrs. Blackwell if the boy was fat but, she didn't hear the question. Fearing a response that indicated that the boy was not fat but I was dumb, I declined to ask again.

Upon reviewing the Forbes story explaining the study again, I noticed the accompanying pictures of the chubby kids and, having seen a few chubby kids in real life, I feel confident in concluding that the boy is alright.

The job now, I suppose, is to keep my eyes focused on the reality not the perception or, perhaps find a way to view myself .

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