May 22, 2006

Obesity in four year olds

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5003766.stm

I am fully aware that there is a growing health awareness and concern over weight gain and rising obesity levels. However, isn't this a little extreme? Schools are going to weigh children when they start school and parents will be told if they are overweight or obese, and then again when they are ten.

I feel that this will only increase problems with body image, and self awareness and will lead to an increase in eating disorders, in both boys and girls. Surely, due to different rates of growth, different genetic make–up, and just what is termed 'puppy fat', the weight of children is very difficult to monitor and chidlren should not be put under this scrutiny at such a young age. Surely it will also compound bullying, and increase negative parenting and make children increasingly vulnerable to 'appropriate' body images which are in turn 'under–weight' and dangerously unhealthily.

Don't get me wrong, I recognise the importance of eating healthily, and I agree that schools should play an important role in educating children about the importance of eating healthily. However, I do not think that it is the place of the school to weigh children and inform parents. A parent will recognise if their child is unhealthy, overweight , short of breath etc.. and they will undoubtedly do something about it. On the other hand, if one argues that the parents are ignorant to their child's health, then why would something be done about it when the school informs them?

What do you think? Is it the role of the school to weigh children and inform parents? Or is it interference and the extension of the 'nanny state'? Finally, is it positive or negative to be constructing body image, and body awareness in a way which could increase eating disorders, being increasingly self–conscious, and heighten bullying and stigmatising children.

Anyway, back to revision x


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