With all this talk about not being able to tell someone’s health by their size, what about children?
Can fat kids be healthy too?
Is childhood obesity blown out of proportion?
Isn’t it really odd that the supporters of “fat and healthy” don’t preach it for kids?
First off, it’s no secret that the health of an obese child usually isn’t as bad as it is for obese adults.
Next, very overweight children are more mobile and have more stamina when compared to proportionately overweight adults — especially those over 30.
However, how easy can you picture the child in the above image running around during a game of tag, let alone sustaining this without giving out early on?
Can you picture him leaping over a puddle or effortlessly climbing on playground equipment?
One of the tenets of the health at all sizes movement is to embrace one’s large body, feel good in it, and that yes indeed, you can be “fit and fat.”
With a few exceptions, such as the morbidly obese Instagram influencer who keeps telling her overweight young child that her body is “perfect just the way it is,” why does this philosophy begin and stop with adults?
“My guess is that intuitively, we all know that being overweight or obese is simply not healthy,” says Richard Kelley, MD, a practicing physician in Texas for 20+ years, and author of “The Fitness Response,” “The Three-Hour Appetite” and the ebook, “The Fitness Response ‘Diet’ for Women.”
“The overweight and obesity trend in children is particularly disturbing on a number of fronts,” says Dr. Kelley.
“Because children, adolescents and teens are in the process of growing and often the growth plates of their bones have not completely ceased the process of growth, excess weight can lead to bone malformation.”
Obesity in childhood increases the demand on joints. This “may lead to a lifetime of arthritis and impaired mobility,” says Dr. Kelley.
And keep in mind that childhood chubbiness can be a gateway to morbid obesity in young adulthood.
Dr. Kelley adds that obesity and overweight in children put them at a higher risk for type II diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, all chronic and potentially life-threatening conditions.
“It is one thing to make a choice, as an adult, which may not be in the best interest of one’s health, but it is irresponsible to promote something to children and young adults, which could be detrimental to their overall health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Kelley.
“Maybe on some level, this is why the HAES movement has not pushed their philosophy more heavily with younger individuals.”
If children can’t be healthy at any size, then it’s reckless to apply this idea to adults.
Dr. Kelley is a fitness enthusiast who is passionate about helping men and women lose weight with his program.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.