Generation XXL


bonnynancy

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Did anyone else watch last night's "Generation XXL" segment on Our America? Eye-opening, to say the least. Shocking and also touching. If you have a chance to see it, please do.

Some of the highlights:

  • 1 in 6 American children is now obese (not chunky or overweight or heavy, obese.)
  • This generation is on the road to being the first whose life expectancy is lower than their parents'.
  • I felt such empathy for the mother of a 101 pound four-year-old who is angry at herself for her child's myriad health issues. I just wanted to say to her, "Turn your anger into determination because every single one of his conditions can be improved/eliminated by what YOU CHOOSE to put on his plate. You have the power to fix this."
  • There is a group of volunteer firefighters and their family members in Mississippi who together lost over 500 pounds in one year and are aiming to get to 1000. One of them, a lady who lost 120 pounds in that year, talked about how proud she is simply to be able to fit into a pair of jeans at Walmart. Such a humble but touching milestone!

Did anyone else see it? Any comments?

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I didn't see the piece, but the thought of this breaks my heart. Parents have no idea what effect their choices - especially what they model - have on their children. 101lbs is bordering on abusive for a four year old, yet there is no malicious intention. ETA: This mother is OBVIOUSLY not harming her child on purpose. I was 16 years old before I weighed that much. There is a startling lack of education for parents when it comes to feeding their children and I think it starts with those we look to from the time our children are born -their doctors.

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Wow. 101 lbs at 4 years old? I didn't hit then until a little before you, Robin - but I was a tall girl (still am, at somewhere between 5'10 and 5'11). Skinny, but tall.

That being said, it's definitely the mom's fault for not being a parent. It does remind me of a documentary I saw ages ago, where the boy was the fattest boy in his state, or something. He was late teens/early 20s and weighed 700 or 800 lbs. His mom was asked why she makes him so much food, why she gives him so much. Her answer? Because she loves him. Ugh, that's not love! She was taped out shopping, and she was buying the biggest containers of ketchup because he would go through one in a week since he LOVED hot dogs. I forget how many packs of those she bought. He was still able to walk a tiny bit to the bathroom, but she had to help him take a sponge bath.

How do you get to that point?

Edited to add: tried to find the show to watch, but it's not available here. I wish it was; I'm always down for a good shocking show.

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That particular mother has three older children, none of whom has a weight issue. The little one, however, clamors for extra food and always gets it. Her biggest problem, which she acknowledges, is that she can't tell him no.

They filmed a lunch where the mother was trying to feed her kids in a healthy way. She gave them each a reasonable portion of lean turkey in a whole wheat tortilla (Yeah, I know.... :( ) and fresh fruit salad that she made herself. The three older kids were fine, but the little one wanted more. He kept whining and whining, she kept saying no, and the pain of it for her was all too easy to see. I truly hope she will learn that tough love is sometimes the best love.

Ya know what worries me? That she may try her best and still fail due to the fact that she is being counseled on standard nutritional guidelines. She will feed that kid "healthy whole grains" and "low fat beans" and blame herself when it doesn't work. Sad.

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It sounds like that one child has a metabolic regulation problem that no one else in the family has. "Tough love" is not going to cure it if he's literally in pain from hunger pangs -- even if that pain comes from his body making a mistake. The question she should be asking is why does this one child cry for food even though he's fed not how can I stay tough and just listen to him cry. But our healthcare system doesn't even support asking that question.

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Those statistics fighten me, I often look at my 8 year old son and wonder what will it be like when he's a man and looking to start his own family, will he be able to find a healthy partner for his life? Paulo is very health conscious, we talk about food and nutrition a lot, we have to, he has some food allergies that made his first few years pretty rough. He's aware of the dangers of obesity and sees the growing problem with his classmates. I don't want him to obsess about food, but I love that when he asks me for junk food I can give him the look and he'll turn the box around and look at the ingredients and start listing all the nasties in them, shake his little head and put them back. He gleefully pointed out all the food dyes in a bag of doritos last week, and then happily put the bag back.

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It's important to be supportive of those with weight problems, in problem solving and questioning why. I've been heavy to obese since puberty and rarely were people ever supportive of weight loss efforts or eating healthy, although they were always quick to judge or verbally abuse.

Shaming and judgement are not helpful and are more for the speaker than the listener. Kids learn from their parents. Mine both had weight problems of their own, so were limited in knowledge they could share with me (we were also poor, so we ate poverty food). It's disappointing, thinking back on it now, how little any other adults in my life tried to teach me anything about eating better, or even feed me healthy food.

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