Back in the day when I used to go to kindergarten and up to middle school (so around 10–17 years ago), I felt really left out since I was the bigger kid in the group and everyone else was skinny. There were maybe one or two other bigger kids as well out of 30 people in our groups. So clearly I was the minority at that time, something that was considered abnormal. And please remember that I actually wasn’t obese or really overweight. I was well-developed and also taller than everyone at that time (as a child and pre-teen). Maybe I could have been 2–5 kg lighter but I was nowhere near actually being obese or fat (what kids called me). My actual overweight years began in my teen years (13+). Sidenote: read about my story of how I got fat if you want to know more.
But now when I visit my old high school or just see video clips or photos from schools, I get pretty blown away each and every single time. Especially when looking at children in primary and lower middle school. So many kids are overweight! 😦 All I see are chubby arms and legs and plumped cheeks. Normal weight is an abnormality almost…
OK, I won’t talk about kids 12+ years since around that age their puberty kicks in and their bodies naturally start to change which can cause some weight issues. But the young kids, from kindergarten to middle school? Why are you overweight? The answer in my opinion is in nutrition and activity levels. And what’s even more terrifying: even babies and newborns have weight issues. There you can’t even blame food and sports, it’s more about the nutrition and lifestyle of the mother. Why would you do this to your child? Newborns are born overweight and with insulin issues as a result of the mother’s poor diet. Don’t you really care?!
And please don’t start with “it’s-the-genetics” topic with me. A wise professor in a lecture about 2 years ago said that it’s 50% genetics and 50% the environment. I find this can’t be more true. Yes, you have a bigger tendency to get overweight but if the environment doesn’t support this, you won’t get overweight. Even if you have “bad” genes, create a good environment and you won’t have a problem with obesity. The same goes for your children: create a good, healthy living environment for him/her so that he/she doesn’t have to battle being overweight and every bad thing that comes with it.
That’s where the government could actually do so much more. Health education at school, no junk options at school canteens and cafeterias, personalised physical education classes that offer options and variety suitable for everyone. Sports should be fun not torture like it was in my PE classes. Everyone should enjoy what they do in PE. The same goes for food: no transfats, margarine, half-products like frankfurters, less wheat and sugar, more tasty veggie dishes. In my days we got 50 grams (!!!) of salad (not one gram more!) and low quality mashed potatoes. Almost no veggies – how is this healthy for developing kids? It isn’t. School food should be of high quality.
Now we are beginning to get closer by each day to the point where being overweight and obese in considered “the norm” and being a normal weight and/or fit is something abnormal. In 2008 there were more than 1,4 billion overweight adults (35%) in the world (according to WHO) but do keep in mind that the indicator is much higher in developed countries, for example in Germany 60,5% of the population were overweight in 2008 (according to Eurostat). That clearly shows that not overweight people are the minority now. This is so worrying to me. Just because there is a lot of something, doesn’t mean it’s OK. Just because there were a lot of nazis and Hitler’s supporters who thought it was OK to destroy and kill everyone who wasn’t part of the class, didn’t mean it was actually OK. Just because a lot of people are being killed in war zones, doesn’t mean it’s OK. Just because everyone else is doing something, doesn’t mean it’s OK and you should do it too.
Where will the healthcare system go? How are we going to find the resources to take care of all the ill people? And by ill people I mean all the effects of the illnesses that are associated with being overweight and obese. Diabetes, sleep apnea, joint issues, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, overall reduced life quality… The population is aging as is and if the children, who should be our future tax payers, will be the ones needing the collected tax money… Well, how do we keep up? And it’s not just the money. The wait to see a medical doctor / specialist of any field is long enough today. But the future? Dark, really really dark.
What the hell, world?!
Personal experience (for the most part)