Over a week ago I submitted an essay for the english module that I'm doing to be able to actually write my thesis. I had two options for my essay: education (my husband recommended me not to choose this topic because he know what I think about education institutions and also knew that the person who was about to grade my paper was a professor, bad idea) and child obesity. In the end I choose child obesity, because all the reading material that was given to us during the semester was kind of fat phobic, so I wanted to point out there's a whole body positive line of though that it's worth to read, to support and to share, for the sake of all. Not just the kids.
During the tutorial meeting with my professor, she told me that it was quite brave to take such an uncontroversial topic, as if everyone though that indeed "Families need to make sure that their children always eat healthy food and do not become overweight", which was actually the title of the given topic.
I was quite shock about her reaction, specially because in the UK I see every day beautiful and different bodies wearing gorgeous clothes, walking with confident and self-respect. Of course now I know that not because of the government (nor the schools or universities) efforts to show diversity or educate on diversity. So here I am now sharing with all of you my paper and some body positive pictures, cheers to the curves!
I DON'T WANT TO REPEAT THE FAT PHOBIC TITLE AGAIN
The increase in childhood obesity has become a clear indicator for the need of educating future generations for a healthy living, and families need to play an essential role during this educational process. It is in family environments where children start developing their food culture and alimentation habits. Moreover, it is the family's responsibility to provide the best alimentation for their children and to encourage them to embrace and enjoy healthier dynamics.
However, childhood obesity is a delicate issue, particularly in cultures that value thinness, which has led to a rise of the thinspiration culture - blogs and pages dedicated to fawn on anorexia and bulimia nervosa-. Due to an increase in fat phobic attitudes, overweight children are at serious risk of developing deadly diseases such as eating disorders in adolescence. Parents not only have to share healthy alimentation habits, but also need to ensure that their children feel confident about their bodies and to enforce their understanding of the beauty of difference. The best way to address the problem of childhood obesity, far from stigmatizing the fat body, is to encourage diversity in every possible way. It is dangerous to point out only overweight children, as a substantial number of thin infants have precisely the same nutrition problems: if efforts were focused on lessening the junk food consumption, the results would still remain positive, without the fat population feeling attacked, and therefore preventing a prolongation of pernicious fat phobic attitudes.
The values of a convenient healthy living begin in family environments; therefore, food culture can be a fantastic way to explore healthy options, for example in the vegetarian and vegan culture. For families to cook together provides a splendid educational opportunity, as it also helps children in developing their taste and curiosity for different flavours. Other enjoyable opportunities to reconcile kids and vegetables are to create an orchard or kitchen garden at home, or to search for recipes from other cultures on the Internet. Asian food and Indian food have a large number of vegetarian dishes, far more appealing than a bowl of steamed broccoli, and if children have been growing the vegetables themselves, they will feel proud and accomplished while eating healthy food.
Summing up, families need to make sure that their children always eat healthy food and do become proud of their bodies, instead of developing fat phobic attitudes that can, later on, become deadly eating disorders. Nevertheless, if parents cook at home and are creative enough to connect their children with a healthy food culture, it will be easy for their kids to feel the curiosity and to start caring about what they eat.