Last week, I was at the public library with my kids. Sometimes they like to do their homework there, rather than at the kitchen table, for a change of pace. To keep myself amused as Ian worked on math problems, I picked up the library's copy of Vogue. The article about a mom who put her seven year old daughter on a diet completely freaked me out.
The mom, a New York City super rich lady, was horrified and disgusted by her daughter's huge appetite and obese frame. She puts her daughter on a diet and the kid loses weight in time for a Vogue photo shoot.
I suppose that it's a good thing to care about kids' health and eating habits. Michelle Obama has made childhood obesity a big part of her food campaign, but this woman's approach to her daughter's weight was repellent. The woman clearly had food issues of her own and she handed down those issues to her like grandma's wedding china. Her daughter complained about being hungry. She taught her daughter that being hungry is important, so you can look good in clothes. Being slim wasn't about being healthy; it was about being pretty. The mom shamed the girl into losing weight.
I can guess how that little girl became overweight. Snacks and no exercise. Lots of trips to Starbucks for treats. Kids are naturally thin and common sense will keep them there.
Kids need exercise every day. I bet this girl goes to a fancy prep school in the city, where they don't have a proper playground or recess period. So, the mom needs to take her to Central Park every single day. She needs to take the bike down the elevator and ride to the park. The mom or the nanny needs to get on a bike, too, because if kids don't see you exercising, they won't do it. If it's too cold to go to the park, then they need to sign up for gymnastics or basketball and run around.
Healthy foods. Don't keep muffins and chips in the house. Don't offer dessert after every meal. Put a serving of meat and vegetables on their plate, even if they are picky. Don't drink juice with meals. Don't eat out too many times. Make her lunch every day, rather than letting her eat the crap that serve in cafeterias. It's really just common sense.
This mom handles her daughter's weight problem, not by getting her outside or by eating healthy foods at home. She handles it by shaming the kid, which is setting her up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and dangerous food disorders.