This should bring us up to date on all the previous Childhood Obesity News posts concerning the very important aspect of life known as quality, with a trio of pieces all based on the same question: Are obese kids miserable? According to many indications, the answer is yes, although getting confirmation of what seems rather obvious is not as easy as it sounds.
Outsiders are often tempted to break down large problems into well-defined categories, and consequently sometimes end up kidding themselves about what actually goes on. But there do seem to be three distinct groups.
Dr. Pretlow has found that children and teens who can express themselves anonymously, via his Weigh2Rock website, are very forthcoming about their sufferings. In person, not so much, as the participants in the various WeightLoss2Go studies have shown. When faced with a researcher or medical professional, a person’s impulse to give voice to feelings often fades.
When they grow older, the same people can be fountains of information, and this is true whether they are still overweight/obese or whether they have learned what keeps their particular bodies at a reasonable size. Sometimes, the stories of morbidly obese people wind up being told by third parties, and they can be horrifying.
Many influences on childhood obesity
Kids who are on the “no” side of obese-child misery are there for various reasons. If they are born into a family where pretty much all the relatives are overweight, in a neighborhood and culture where obesity is common, there may not be much reason for unhappiness. Eventually, incipient diabetes and other medical problems will gain prominence, but it is possible to have a very happy childhood.
However, it appears that an increasing number of teenagers have become infected by the “fat acceptance” mindset, to the point where this way of thinking is dangerous, and will certainly affect their quality of life somewhere down the line. When societal norms are harmful and hateful — like racism, misogyny, greed, and so forth — defiance of those norms can be a very good thing. But to fight for the right to be fat, while insisting on not only respect, but praise, for taking that stand, can lead to nothing but a bad end.
Why is quality of life question so urgent?
In order to undertake a big project like losing 50 pounds and (more important) keeping it off, a person needs plenty of motivation. Traditionally, people make significant life changes in order to escape unhappiness. So here’s the problem: If obese children and teens are happy, and satisfied with their quality of life, what other engine could possibly supply power for the difficult task of slimming down and reclaiming a healthier body? That makes it a vital topic indeed.
Allow us to recommend these previous gatherings of ideas:
Your responses and feedback are welcome!