I've made a few offhand comments or jokes on this blog about weight. A few times, I alluded to the fact that I was skinny, and got some really angry responses. In all honesty, I've found it really sad that there are people out there who are so obsessed with weight that I could make a comment like "I lost some weight and now I feel cold more easily" and this could cause that person to say they never want to read my blog again. It's sad that I can't even mention weight casually without bracing myself for an onslaught of angry responses. How does this attitude get started?
My daughter has what you'd probably call an athletic build. She's very tall, always the tallest in the class, very strong, muscular, and active. This has been her status quo since she was two months old and only drinking breastmilk. For a girl, she's got an enormous amount of energy and could probably run for hours if I let her. (Or more likely, dance. Or jump on the bed.)
At our last pediatrician appointment, she ranked 90th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight, although this somehow got her to 70th percentile for BMI. I guess because she's not one of those stick-thin kids where you could wrap your whole fist around her thigh. And though the pediatrician (who I actually really like) told me she was "perfect", she subsequently launched into a talk about giving her low fat milk. I don't know, they very well might do this with every child who isn't underweight.
We have whole fat milk in the house because the person who drinks the most milk by far is the toddler who is at the 10th percentile for weight (how did that happen??). I'm not buying two varieties of milk, seriously, and she mostly just drinks water anyway. But now my daughter is nervous about eating things with fat in it. I mean, I get that there's an obesity epidemic, but she's not overweight. At all. And I think making kindergartners worry about eating fat is pretty horrifying.
I mean, can we at least let kids get to eight years old without being obsessed with their weight?
Well, I think your own post answers the question about how sensitive attitudes about weight come about.ReplyDelete
Whenever I visit my brother and SIL, I always find multiple types of milk in the fridge, one type for each of the three kids. They are all perfectly normal in size/weight in my opinion, so I'm apparently not appreciating why one must have skim, the other 1%, and the third one whole milk. Maybe their peds doctor twisted my brother and SIL all up in knots about each kid's BMI.......
Our house was like this growing up for a while, I really liked my whole milk. My dad & sister switched to 2%, and my mom had high cholesterol and went to skim. I eventually got used to 2% and then skim and we were back to a one-gallon family. Now we have 1% for my husband and whole for the kids (I don't drink milk) Technically my 3-year should be on 2% (after age 2, the general rec is to go to 2%), but my 1-year old drinks the most milk, so we stick with whole.Delete
You nailed it when you said, "They very well might do this with every child who isn't underweight."ReplyDelete
That's exactly what they do.
We buy both kinds of milk and the fridge looks like it has nothing but milk in it.
As an adult, I just don't drink enough milk to make it worth having two varieties.Delete
As a peds resident, I will echo Old MD girl, it's exactly what we do after they're over the age of 2. :)Delete
I have friends complaining of this too. One person was told her child is obese, yet you can see the kid's ribs! The child is all torso, thick and muscular with very short legs for the length of his torso. You can easily see the kid has thick bones and heavy muscling. Some of the other people I have talked to have kids prepping for a growth spurt, are told their kids are obese, their kids grow an inch or two and the next time they are in they trend in the too skinny direction. I think that BMI isn't handled properly with kids. The creator of it wanted to use a different number to measure kids by to begin with, and I just don't think it's used well when kids bulk up before a growth spurt then thin out. At this age it should be used more to track growth trends, and if a kid gets heavy and stays there, or gets too thin and stays there, then you look at it and see what is going on. I also don't think that doctors should announce out loud that kids are too fat, there are better ways to introduce that to your kids.ReplyDelete
It's bullshit at 5-6-7 years of age that kids are worrying about "being fat". I was raised by a mother who told me that and tried fucked up ways to fix it, leaving me with disordered eating. I really resented at 8 years of age my birthday gifts being exercise books. I don't want a full generation of kids growing up the same way. Focus on healthy eating, focus on exercise, tell your kids that they need to eat better, but dear god don't give them a bad body image at that age.
I knew a guy whose parents sent him to a shrink as a kid to deal with his weight issues and he was still traumatized by it as an adult. IF I felt my daughter was overweight, I'd just subtly change the whole family's diet and try not to mention it to her.Delete
Best for her. This diet issues don't need to be discussed right in front of the kid. After all, it is the family who might overfeed the kid, and those who can change that.Delete
I'm the anon who posted above. I was forced to ask if I was allowed to eat until I went off to college and every time I came back, my mother would hug me and then squeeze me to see how much weight I gained. It was fucking horrific, and like you said I would change the entire family's diet and not single out one child.Delete
It must be standard procedure. But giving a perfectly healthy girl a fat-free obsession feels like a bit too much.ReplyDelete
In my house, there are 3 kinds of milk: fat for my teenage brother, half-fat standard for me and my mom, and fat-free for my dad, who just received the terrifying news that his LDL-cholesterol is just over the highest limit (my parents always have this competition: who's going to get better number in their analysis this year?).
We have become a fat society and people think it is the norm. When I charted at different hospitals as a travel nurse some were weird about using the word obese to describe a patient.ReplyDelete
I've read lots of tales of people who are convinced their children are going to grow up to be obese and have started them early -- toddlerhood! on low-fat diets.ReplyDelete
I'm also reading about kindegarten kids overheard to say "I'm so fat, I'm ugly". Where are they learning this? They hear mom and/or dad say it. They hear it on tv in commercials. They hear it from siblings. They hear it constantly. Children are sponges. They repeat what they hear, and after a while they start to believe it.
We need to make sure our kids eat as healthy as possible without going insane -- occasional junk food will not make them suddenly become morbidly obese nor cause some mythical kiddy heart disease. We need to make sure our kids run around and play and exercise, whether it's sports or just a game of tag on a playground.
Most of all we need to stop obsessing about weight and start obsessing about exercise level. I know I'm a broken record, but the studies are there -- exercise is the best prevention of many diseases and way to a long life. Weight is just a number, and we have to stop freaking out about it.
They do that with every kid as the transition out of childhood. Including to my child who is for very small and short (10th and 25th, but I can't remember which one was what). My pediatrician elaborated a bit more. If they drink whole milk, they fill up on that faster, from the calories and the creamier texture. Then they don't eat and snack on other things, so they aren't getting a variety of foods and all the different nutrients.ReplyDelete
We buy too types though. Whole for her (as you can tell I listened to my doctor), skim for me and my husband will drink either. In my parents home there is skim for my mom and anyone else who wanted it, 2% for the kids, lactose for my intolerant brother, and almond milk for my dad (something about cholesterol and family history.
Oh... so maybe it wasn't a reflection on her weight as much as the standard guidelines for that age. Well, I'm still not buying two kinds of milk.Delete
It IS standard guidelines. We want kids to get into the habit of healthy eating as early as possible.Delete
But isn't it slightly ridiculous to expect parents with more than one kid to have different varieties of milk in the house?Delete
Wait until your toddler is 2, then switch everyone to 2%.Delete
Low fat milk after 2 years AAP recommendation just like getting the DTaP vaccine at 2 months or back to sleep are. Really. It's not personal.Delete
I try not to ever say "fat" in front of the kids... I have lots of "chunky" kids in my practice but I don't stress about them (and I don't call them chunky either:-) - I always encourage exercise & activity, but if you look at the parents they are always fat so that explains a lot.ReplyDelete
I do have one baby/kid in my office that is quite obese. The parents are clueless and that's the hardest part... to get them to watch baby's calorie intake if they don't even acknowledge that she's fat. I'm not talking about the milk, but avoiding juice/candy/junk etc.
I just got my kids teacher to have a talk with the girls about weight and size and growing last week. It was getting crazy - in 4th grade. Anorexia came up in the talk, from the girls. There is a girl in her class that drinks coffee for breakfast, gets sent Red Bull for her lunch, is a gymnast, and likes to raise her shirt, pinch her non-existent fat/skin, and announce to all the girls that she is getting too fat. I feel sorry for that girl. But don't want my daughter to internalize the madness.ReplyDelete
Crazy, crazy. We can only try to temper it as moms. We are battling an evil society.
That is scary. And really sad. Her parents are feeding her coffee & red bull? I think there is a vast difference between doctors recommending 2% milk for kids and this kind of weight obsession---it doesn't stem from the AAP recommendations, it stems from cultural indoctrination of women that is passed on from mothers to daughters.Delete
Our Doctor recommended whole milk for us all. My daughter is built the same way. Quite tall for her age and muscular. The gym teacher (a family friend) has complimented her core strength and that of my son. However, she's more likely to read for hours. Don't children's brains need fat for proper development?ReplyDelete
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I really hate the phrase'politically correct'. Every sentence that comes out of your mouth needs to be screened double checked and made sure that it is 'politically correct' because people have this neo world ego that is so tender and quickly bruised .ReplyDelete
People (even the closest of family and friends) take offence at the merest statement which may upset the delicate see-saw of ego and emotions. I mean do we really live in a world where we wear our egos on our sleeves?
I feel sad that people have become so selfish that they expect you to have views that fit in with the general views and anything different is just unacceptable and calls in for hasty childish attitude ,like how they just stop appreciating a blog because the author wanted to voice her thoughts .
I feel terrible when I see that kids are loosing their childhood and are forced to grow up into adults at such young age. I mean she should be a happy healthy kid who should probably worry about trivial stuff versus weight issues.
Here in London the increasing trend I have noticed in the majority of the kids is that either they don't really care and they just binge eat and then their Mama goes on worrying that her kid is becoming'obese' or whatever.
I think that its upto us Mommas to actively make sure that the kids eat just right and have a decent playtime !
We buy three kinds of milk. Soy for the two of us who are dairy allergic, 2% for two and whole for our tiny girl. Buy half gallons if you're worried about wasteReplyDelete
But come on, people add 1% milk to their coffee instead of cream and feel they're helping. It's like a tablespoon. It really doesn't matter. 1% milk is just bluish white water. Think of what has to happen chemically to separate the fat from the milk.ReplyDelete
Fat IS good. Especially normal natural fat. Not batter. Not oil. Not french fries. Normal fat from normal milk.
It's pointless to give your kid 1% milk and feed her Mac n Cheese every night. Trust me, it ain't the milk. I don't care that your pasta is "whole wheat". Give your kids normal milk and normal yogurt and real cheese and tons of veggies and remove the ACTUAL garbage foods, like chips and candy and pop and juice. Everyone will be happier and healthier.
OH MY GOODNESS - really ! The WHOLE premise is incorrect. Fat does not = getting fat. Fat keeps us full, fat makes up the entire brain. We need fat (healthy fat at least). 1%, 2%, whole - doesn't matter for weight unless you are drinking gallons. IF (which it sounds like it isn't an issue) you want to control weight, watch the carbohydrates (grains, pasta, cereal, junk food) not the fats. Switch to organic milks. The low fat crazy was the start of our whole obesity nation.ReplyDelete
The pediatrician did the same thing with my son. He has broad shoulders and lean build. After they weighed him and got his height, they declared him overweight. When the doc went to do the physical exam he pulled up his shirt and you could see his ribs. The doc then responded that this is the skinniest overweight child he had ever seen, but then went into the spill about reducing sugar containing drinks( such as fruit juice and soda) and switching to a low fat milk. I left the office, but did not change his diet at all. He is a weird child that his favorite foods are mushrooms, spinach, chicken, broccolli, and salad. I think people way over analyze everything as bad now a days. Both my husband and myself are overweight, but we maintain activities for our children to exercise.ReplyDelete
Milk fat does not have to be chemically separated from whole milk to make the different fat % milks. It’s merely a mechanical separation.
Milk - all forms from any mammal naturally separates milk fat from the rest of the component. If you let any freshly milked milk sit in a container for a few hours, the fat will float and collect on top. Milk straight from a cow has far more fat than the percentage in whole milk -- part of it is removed to make cream, half and half, ect. The typical commercial whole milk has gone through homogenization after some of the milk fat is removed to mix up all the fat into the waterier component evenly. I don’t recall why that became the standard practice but it could be because someone decided consumers didn’t like the cream-top look of whole milk.
I agree low fat milk is bluish water. I made my family switch to skim in my teens thanks to the media teaching me to be fat-phobic. (Oh got over that now, and am healthier and weight less than I did in my teens) I personally prefer non-homogenized milk - Gives me the option of mixing up the jar for whole milk flavor or skimming out the fat for a lighter more ‘refreshing’ drink and I never have to buy cream separately for coffee. Just spoon out a small scoop of the cream on top for my coffee and it’s good to go. Another plus is that most non-homogenized milks (commonly called cream-top milk) usually are produced by small farms and often only sell locally, so less of a worry of milk coming from hundreds of farms, collected and treated in case of nastiness.
-- Soemthing else that’s been on my mind lately, when did all the major dairy producers go from just pasteurizing their milk to UHT? UHT is the process that makes those shelf stable juice pack milks. Now it’s hard to find milks in the refrigerated section that isn’t UHT. I just hope this is only to extend shelf life of milks so dairy manf can make more $, not because higher heat is needed to kill all the nasty stuff in the commercial raw milk sources.
Your pediatrician sounds retarded. Forget about whether there is fat in your milk. Keep your daughter away from sugar and she'll live a healthy life.ReplyDelete