Weight issues and my family are not strangers. My mom has been overweight as long as I can remember. My maternal grandparents were overweight. All my maternal aunts and uncles are overweight. In most cases we were normal weight children and young adults. The weights issues came with pregnancy or middle age.
Not so with the current generation of children. Two of my sisters kids are obese and my oldest daughter is...not thin. My little sister is 16 and she's been overweight for the last couple of years. Not huge, but not real thin. Probably 20 lbs. overweight.
My oldest sister (age 40) put her daughter in Weight Watchers a few weeks ago. My niece is 10. They had to get special permission from her pediatrician for her to join. I don't know what to say about that.
Part of me feels that she is too young. I think diets are one of the main factors that contribute to obesity. Every person that I've ever interacted with that has a weight problem as an adult, has a history of dieting. The other main factor is that we tends to eat for reasons other than hunger. Diets don't teach us to eat when we're hungry and stop when we're full. They teach us to eat what and when the diet says to eat. Diets further alienate us from our sense of hunger and satiety.
But the other part of me feels that Weight Watchers could be a valuable teaching tool. After all, it is important that adults and children learn about serving sizes and nutrition. I also think that as far as diet plans go, Weight Watchers is a very good plan. It seems to be based on the idea of all foods in moderation which I believe is the best way to go.
But I see this girl doing things that worry me. This morning, for example, we stopped by a book store and she bought a new book. As she checked out she added a candy bar to her order and said, "It's for my friend.". Already at the age of 10, she is embarrassed to be eating unhealthy foods and engaging in sneaky behavior to get her food.
I can relate.
Can't kids just be kids? I don't want my daughter, turning 10 on 2/28, to have to feel ashamed of eating food. I work hard to teach her about nutrition and serving sizes. She is overweight, but so was I when I was her age and I grew out of it (at least for 20 years). Maybe my head is just buried in the sand.
Sometimes I feel guilty for passing on my "bad" genes. I hate the idea of my daughter living with the pain that I did. Agh!!!