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U.S. gov't, experts debate whether to call obese kids obese

Childhood Obesity Health 2006

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#1 Palisades

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:18 PM

http://news.yahoo.co...et_obese_or_not

The CDC avoids applying the term "obese" to kids and calls overweight kids "at risk of overweight."

Apparently, some think that fat kids can't handle the truth. You'd think someone who's fat would know it before the doctor told him or her.

Edited by Solar Wind, 03 July 2006 - 01:22 PM.

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#2 gsmonks

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:33 PM

Well, there are loads of perfectly good terms, so why come up with new ones?

Lard-bucket, fatso, lard-ass, piggy, "please, don't eat me", porcine, fat tub of guts, fatty, "look out, s/he's turning into a black hole!", tiny, "little [something, like "little john"]", "help, I'm being sucked into its orbit!", and so on. We've all probably heard it all.

So, yeah, I think I can understand why they're concerned about the stigma.
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#3 Kosh

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:34 PM

Parents are the problem. Kids learn their eating habits at home. "Honey, We're Killing The Kids" is doing a public service. I know some people who are killing their kids.
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#4 veganmom

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:37 PM

It's tough, too, because kids are weird.

Some really are at risk for obesity, and we all know that childhood-onset diabetes is skyrocketing.

The problem with kids, though, is that sometimes they gain enough weight to look chubby, then comes the growth spurt that their body knew was coming. I've seen my kids go from tubby to skinny in 3-4 months with no real change except those bones getting longer. So they cycle.

Our school focuses on BMI, which is a number, and which is kinda too complicated a calculation for most elementary school aged kids to understand and therefore make fun of.

I WOULD like to see schools use that BMI information to either make sure those kids are getting enough exercise (no sitting around at recess for you) or increase recess or gym time or clean up our cafeterias.

#5 Delvo

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:39 PM

Whatever else they could come up with would just come to mean "fat" anyway, with the added twist of "trying to deny it".

Every alternative way to describe people who are big and bulky but not fat has already been sucked into that fate because of people trying to use such descriptions as euphemisms for "fat", like "stocky", "heavy-set", "big-boned", and such, to the point where if you read someone trying to describe himself with one of those terms, you'd automaticly think of him as "fat but not admitting it".

Given that that co-opting is what happens even to words that were meant to describe a different body type and condition, it would only happen even more quickly and more strongly to a word or phrase that was precisely intended as a euphemism in the first place. (Notice that as soon as the "challenged" instead of "disabled" thing came along, it immediately became nothing but a joke... so much of one that it started spreading into areas other than disabilities... including jokes about using euphemisms to avoid calling fat people fat!)

#6 Palisades

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:43 PM

gsmonks, "overweight" and "obese" are about as inoffensive as you can get without resorting to denialistic language. Denying the problem will increase the chance of negative health effects later down the line.

Sadly, Americans as a whole are soo overweight that people are renorming how big of a bulge one needs to have to be considered fat. This is, of course, just as pathetic as when the SAT's score scale was renormed because American high schoolers were becoming increasingly pathetic at math and reading.

Edited by Solar Wind, 03 July 2006 - 03:08 PM.

"When the Fed is the bartender everybody drinks until they fall down." —Paul McCulley

"In truth, 'too big to fail' is not the worst thing we should fear – our financial institutions are now on their way to becoming 'too big to save'." —Simon Johnson

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#7 Tricia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 01:46 PM

I don't think that the government or even parents have to tell kids they are obese.....

Other kids will do that for them.  

It's a known fact that children can be very cruel to each other.  And it doesn't matter to the child or person labeling them that way might be even heavier than them.  

But it is important that menus for school lunches be changed to reflect healthier choices.  And those choices/changes have to be made at home too.

PE and recess activity is great but again...changes need to be made at home.  Too many kids sitting around watching too much tv, playing video games and on the computer instead of playing outside.  

I've noticed with the onset of summer that I am not seeing many of the kids in my subdivision out and running around.  They are sitting in the house in the air conditioning doing nothing very physical.

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#8 gsmonks

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 04:05 PM

View PostSolar Wind, on Jul 3 2006, 12:43 PM, said:

gsmonks, "overweight" and "obese" are about as inoffensive as you can get without resorting to denialistic language. Denying the problem will increase the chance of negative health effects later down the line.

Um . . . yes . . . I was agreeing with what you just said, and was pointing out the importance of using such words instead of the cruel alternatives that used to be the norm.
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#9 Anastashia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 04:40 PM

The problem with using BMI is that to properly compute it the procedure that should be used is relatively expensive. To be done properly it needs to be done in the water. There are other methods that can give an approximation, but I'm not really sure that's a valid reading for children who are growing.

As for being heavier weight, I remember while I was at Officer Candidate School we had to weigh less than the upper limit for our height. I had a number of classmates who had been competitive athletes. Their wasn't an extra ounce of fat on them but because of their muscle mass they had difficulty meeting the weight standards. They definitely would have been in less difficulty had properly measure BMI been in use then. The Navy did switch to a BMI measure while I was on AD, but it was done by taking measurements of various parts of the body not the immersion method.
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#10 Rhea

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:03 PM

In 1994, the CDC said that 1 out of every 5 kids was obese -not chubby, but obese. And it's worse now.

If a child is obese, the doctor needs to use exactly that term with the parents and the child - and help them do something about it. There's no reason why a child should be obese if the parents are feeding that child in a healthy way and seeing the child gets proper exercise.

Childhood obesity almost guarantees adult obesity.

Edited by Rhea, 03 July 2006 - 05:05 PM.

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#11 veganmom

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:06 PM

BMI isn't 100% accurate, but the inaccuracies tend to be in people that carry a lot of muscle weight (in a greater proportion than the "norm").
So I think the inaccuracies are with adult athletes, and that it can be used for kids without the connotations of "fat." It's also a number that can be easily tracked until kids get into high school and start building muscle for football and wrestling and stuff.

We all know kids under 10 years old who are REALLY REALLY fat and get worse every year. If tracking BMI gets their families some counseling BEFORE the really vicious bullying really starts in middle school, I'm for it.

#12 veganmom

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:07 PM

View PostRhea, on Jul 3 2006, 10:03 PM, said:

Childhood obesity almost guarantees adult obesity.

THIS is EXACTLY what I worry about with my kids.
As with all parenting, you have to take the long view. Sure, it's easier to stop for fast food, or keep kids happy with chips and cookies, or make something from a box for dinner and not bother washing all those pesky veggies. But you can't do it.

#13 offworlder

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:15 PM

well there are two different sides with this: who is the audience, and what is the purpose, of the piece in question?

if it's a press piece to the public just saying what's going on, you should be truthful and not PC, and say the scientific phrases, and say Obese.

if, though, the piece is about Reaching the target vulnerable audience, the ones you think should Get what you're saying for the purpose that they go improve themselves, and you want to Grab them ................... then the writers are often afraid once the reader sees Obese, they turn off, turn away, don't Get the msg, don't seek help, don't admit, just denial and avoidance ..... Hey! wait a min! I'm saying that?? I do denial and avoidance meself on things! ;)

so they want to be nice-nice, and PC, (touchy feely), popular, stroking, PR, marketing, sales, or whathaveyou .................... they say 'you cant affect them if ya cant grab them' et al .................. so it depends on the audience and the purpose of the piece. ;)
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#14 Tricia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:20 PM

View PostRhea, on Jul 3 2006, 10:03 PM, said:

If a child is obese, the doctor needs to use exactly that term with the parents and the child - and help them do something about it. There's no reason why a child should be obese if the parents are feeding that child in a healthy way and seeing the child gets proper exercise.

Childhood obesity almost guarantees adult obesity.


I have to agree.  My daughter's pediatrician did not hesitate to tell us that she had gained a bit more weight than she should have over the summer a couple of years ago.  He was worried about the problems she might face as she got older if this continued or she gained even more extra weight especially as she got into puberty.

So we changed diet and kept more veggies and healthier choices on hand.  Less cookies and more baby carrots and celery--which my kids like.  But then my kids actually like vegies and fruits and yogurt, just healthier choices all around.  Because their parents liked those things.

In fact, our pediatrician is considered one of the experts on childhood asthma in the region.  But due to the increasing problems with childhood obesity and consequently, diabetes...he has spent a considerable amount of time learning about diabetes now.

In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. --Thich Nhat Hanh


You don't need to attend every argument you are invited to


Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.


#15 Anastashia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:31 PM

Most definitely fruit, veggies, and yogurt are a good thing. I use low or non-fat plain yogurt to replace all sorts of stuff like sour cream in making dips, salad dressing, etc. It also makes a great base for smoothies and breakfast drinks mixed with fresh fruit instead of using the fruit flavored varieties which often have a lot of sugar in them.
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In the quiet of Midden a young child grows.
Does the salvation of his people grow with him?
"Everything we do now is for the child"

"I made a mistake,
just follow along,
isn't that what tyranny is all about?"
Sheila M---my Praise Band Director

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
Testify to Love

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#16 Tricia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:31 PM

View Postveganmom, on Jul 3 2006, 10:07 PM, said:

View PostRhea, on Jul 3 2006, 10:03 PM, said:

Childhood obesity almost guarantees adult obesity.

THIS is EXACTLY what I worry about with my kids.
As with all parenting, you have to take the long view. Sure, it's easier to stop for fast food, or keep kids happy with chips and cookies, or make something from a box for dinner and not bother washing all those pesky veggies. But you can't do it.


You can't do it and keep them healthy.  

And offworlder.....

They are worried about making the parents and children angry....well, not telling them the truth is likely to make them angry...and if they get angry maybe, just maybe they will take a good long hard look at themselves.  Why wait until they get sick and then they figure out why they are sick?  But  with some people it takes a health crisis to catch on to what they are doing to themselves.

Also they said that they are worried that telling the kids they are obeses will cause eating  disorders.  Like being taunted and teased later because of their weight won't trigger that too.  

Honest, caring dialogue about their weight is much better IMO than being harassed and taunted by their peers and less likely to cause image issues and eating disorders.

In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. --Thich Nhat Hanh


You don't need to attend every argument you are invited to


Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.


#17 Tricia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:33 PM

View PostAnastashia, on Jul 3 2006, 10:31 PM, said:

Most definitely fruit, veggies, and yogurt are a good thing. I use low or non-fat plain yogurt to replace all sorts of stuff like sour cream in making dips, salad dressing, etc. It also makes a great base for smoothies and breakfast drinks mixed with fresh fruit instead of using the fruit flavored varieties which often have a lot of sugar in them.


heehee....

My daughter IS the smoothie queen.  She actively searches online for smoothie recipes and makes her own using yogurt.

It's healthier and she enjoys doing it so....

In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. --Thich Nhat Hanh


You don't need to attend every argument you are invited to


Do not ask that your kids live up to your expectations.  Let your kids be who they are, and your expectations will be in breathless pursuit.


#18 Anastashia

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:41 PM

trikay I also add wheat germ or some other small fiber product into my breakfast drinks. Some people don't like it because it does have more of a texture but it's definitely the way to get additional fiber in your diet.
The Science Fiction Examiner

In the quiet of Midden a young child grows.
Does the salvation of his people grow with him?
"Everything we do now is for the child"

"I made a mistake,
just follow along,
isn't that what tyranny is all about?"
Sheila M---my Praise Band Director

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
Testify to Love

Posted Image


#19 veganmom

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:43 PM

Ground flax seeds.
Excellent source of omega whatevers, plus fiber.

#20 Delvo

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 06:55 PM

View PostAnastashia, on Jul 3 2006, 05:40 PM, said:

The problem with using BMI is that to properly compute it the procedure that should be used is relatively expensive. To be done properly it needs to be done in the water.
Those are two different things you're talking about measuring. Body mass index is a simple matter of height and weight. What's measured in a water tank is body fat.



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