Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Excess" body weight predicts low self-esteem in kids (no shit, Sherlock).

This should be a no-brainer, people. And it's not the body weight itself that causes the low self-esteem, it's the bullying and all the media bullshit that tells anyone who is fat that they are less than human, just because they don't look like the "ideal" (which "ideal" is impossible to attain for anyone).
Chief analyst Julie Bernier says a lot of attention has been paid to being overweight and obese as precursors to developing physical health problems such as Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular problems.
But this report takes a rare look at body weight vis-a-vis self-esteem in childhood. Previous studies have found that low self-esteem as a youngster can predict poor mental health in adulthood.

Yeah, we all know how being fat leads to developing physical health problems....FUCKING NOT ALWAYS, ASSHATS. Generalizations do not fit everyone in the whole wide world, and very seldom even fit a small percentage of the world's population.
As for low self-esteem as a youngster leading to mental health problems as an adult? All I have to say on that is - "YA THINK?"
"Up to now in the literature, there has been a lot of emphasis on the fact that body weight problems could lead to a lot of chronic disease ... and now, it's a complement to see that it even puts you more at risk for low self-esteem, which in turn would put you at risk for mental health problems."

Body weight problems could lead to a lot of chronic disease. Could being the operative word here, researchers/doctors. What part of correlation is not causation do you not understand?
Kids at the ages of 10 and 11 completed a four-item scale that assessed their overall self-esteem, rating statements such as "In general, I like the way I am" and "Overall I have a lot to be proud of."
They were surveyed twice more, two years and four years later. Assessments about whether someone was overweight or obese were derived from height and weight measurements reported by the person most knowledgeable about the child, such as a parent or guardian.
Researchers who studied the data found that children who were obese in the beginning had almost twice the odds of reporting low self-esteem four years later, compared with normal weight children.
Bernier explained that it's been known for some time that there's a relationship between body weight and self-esteem.

This doesn't surprise me one little bit. What with all the media hype about being fat and how bad it is for everyone, and all the bullying of fat kids by other kids, their parents, their teachers, their doctors, etc, is it any wonder that fat kids have less self-esteem than kids who aren't fat? Even if fat kids have loving parents who don't expect them to be thin, the rest of society sure as hell isn't going to leave them alone, and parents can't always over-ride everything kids hear outside of their homes.
And in all of this research, not one mention is made about bullying fat kids having any bearing on their self-esteem, nor is there any mention of how the media's portrayal of fat has any bearing on it. Lots of talk about how much time they spend in front of the TV/computer, their parents' education, kids' school performance, kids' amount/quality of physical activity, etc influences a kid's self-esteem, but bullying, not a mention of that at all (evidently, bullying is a very small part of what influences one's self-esteem, and not an important one at that).
According to this study, gender also has a bearing on a child's self-esteem (boys are less likely to have issues than girls - gee, I wonder why that is?). And physical activity - well, if they participate in physical activity 5 to 7 times a week, kids have better self-esteem than if they don't participate (but nothing is said about why kids may not want to participate in physical activity more often - could it go right back to the bullying factor?).
And all they can recommend is a "healthy" diet and exercise to either keep kids from getting fat, or make fat kids thin. Yeah, that just works so well - how many failures of that shit have we seen in the last 5 to 10 years? More than I want to count, and more than should have been implemented (since they haven't worked for adults for more years than I've been alive, why the fuck do they think this shit will work for kids?).
Why the hell can't kids be kids and enjoy their childhood, no matter what size body they have?


  1. Oh, I so agree with you. I was bullied hideously as a child and even now there are certain triggers which take me straight back there...
    Thankyou for this post

  2. Of course, fat kids just hate themselves because they are fat! No other factor is involved. There is no connection between this and the messages the entire world sends them. They instinctively know that being fat means they suck, without anyone telling them ever.

  3. I can attest to low self esteem being directly related to the incessant teasing I received as a kid. It takes no genius to realize that not being accepted into the fold by one's peers has a tremendous impact on how a person feels about themselves. Really....any 2nd grader can understand that.
    I literally weighed 130lbs (at 5'6")in 6th grade (I know this because during health class, we had to measure, weigh and assess our overall health for a class project and another classmate read my numbers out loud to the entire class.) I had one particularly nasty classmate (Corby Collins) make my life a living hell by calling me platypus all through 6th grade. The fuck of it all was that he did it in front of teachers, during class time instruction, at lunch, during assemblies, the spelling bee, everywhere. Did the teachers say anything? Rarely, if ever. They just ignored it....even when I would ask them to tell him to shut the hell up. I once walked out of the classroom because I was being interrupted by *cough-Platypus-cough* every 3 seconds during a speech I had to give. I went directly to the vice principal's office to ask him to make this stop and got reamed for leaving class. Even at the age of 12 I knew this shit was damaging and unjust. Imagine what I know now?
    Bullying has lasting effects on self esteem. It does not make one stronger, or build character, or push you to do better. It kills creativity, imagination, confidence and belief in oneself. I spent years reparenting myself in my 20s just so that I could replace the messages I received from bullying and dysfunctional parenting as a child. I got pregnant 6 months after graduation by a man who said he loved me by slapping me around, and left me when I had his baby on the way. How's that for lasting effects? The plus side is, having that baby (now 23) changed my life, the way I looked at the world, and drove me to a better way of living. I went to college, got my bachelor's in Social Work, worked with foster kids, got married to a great guy that I deserved, and now have 2 great girls that I protect visciously from the brutality of bullying. Their self esteem is not in the toilet, as mine was.
    Sorry so winded...this post just stirred up a lot of old, painful memories for me.

  4. bodaciously - I was bullied to a certain extent, but not as much as I could have been, mostly because I avoided the other kids, especially when I was a teenager. Books were my best friends, and I spent more time with them than I did with people.

    LemurCat47 - Sarcasm becomes you :)

    Regina - Bullying didn't make me stronger, that's for sure. It took years to get over that shit, and I didn't get bullied as much as other kids did. But at least I stood up for my son when my brother called him a sissy and said he should grow up (my son was 10 at the time). That's one of the reasons I don't have much to do with my family, some of them are real good at bullying, but they don't call it that, they think it's telling me (or my son) what we need to hear in order to become better people (by their standards, which I think are pretty fucked up, so I tend to ignore them, and have for years now).
    I've seen teachers ignore the bullying, and then they wonder why the bullied kids eventually snap and end up beating the piss out of the ones who've bullied them (been there done that).

  5. "But at least I stood up for my son when my brother called him a sissy and said he should grow up (my son was 10 at the time). That's one of the reasons I don't have much to do with my family, some of them are real good at bullying, but they don't call it that, they think it's telling me (or my son) what we need to hear in order to become better people (by their standards, which I think are pretty fucked up, so I tend to ignore them, and have for years now)."

    Isn't it amazing that so called "family" believes they are the gold standard for proper behavior that comes in the form of insults, degradation, belittling, and bullying? I'll never understand how hurling hurtful words at family members can ever be helpful and prevent socially unacceptable behavior. I'm no beacon of fantastic parenting, but I know that insults only make matters worse...AND I have learned to actually apologize for bad behavior....something my parents would never, ever, ever do. Family bullies are like concern trolls. Never YOUR best interests at heart, just their own need to feel like they are doing things the best way possible without truly looking at your personal circumstances.

    I'm so with you on defending your kid. That doesnt mean I think my kid does nothing, wrong...just means when she does I make her do the right thing and fix the problem. But I will not ever stand for anyone bullying my kid. When you stand up for your kids, it sends a message that doesn't have to be repeated that often to those in charge and the bullies.
    My first daughter got sand thrown in her eyes every day for a week at preschool (age 5). I told her how to resolve it and when that didn't work, I visited the school and spoke with teachers, staff and administration. It stopped immediately. All done respectfully and without accusations. My daughter learned that Mom will always be her ally when wrong is being done to her.
    Second daughter got bullied by a neighborhood girl who had a problem "sharing" play time. She wanted the kids to themselves and would tell my kid she couldnt play. Again, I taught my daughter how to resolve this and when that didnt work, spoke directly to the kid AND the parent. Problem solved and my kid knows I am her biggest ally.
    It amazes me that parents out there advocate turning the other cheek. Especially the ones whose kid never gets picked on. Do people really have no ability to empathize anymore?

  6. Kids can't be kids and adults can't be adults because we're too worried about size. It's a sick ritual that we perpetuate and end up making problems out of nothing.

    That research was totally unnecessary. That's like saying outer space is cold.


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