“Look at Harry, he can’t even run fast with his fat belly during sports events!”
“Hey Reshma, why don’t you sit at the back of the class. You are completely blocking my view of the black board!"
These are some often-quoted remarks that overweight/obese children face at school. Such children are often mocked at and become the center of laughter trolls. Being subjected to such harassments, many of them sulk away into isolation and even quit doing their favorite activities such as swimming or playing games. Even teachers are not much bothered at school and their body language conveys the message that these children are ought to be bullied as they are hefty!
What do Health Experts Say?
Pediatricians and health experts say that weight stigma can result in social isolation, binge eating, avoiding visits to the physician and decreased physical activity leading to a situation that yet again promotes weight gain. Bullying and teasing a kid’s body weight can even result in anxiety or substance abuse sometimes. In extreme cases, some kids even think about committing suicide to put an end to their mental and physical trauma.
Weight-based bullying created more trauma than bullying that included sexist remarks or mocking at a person’s sexual orientation or disability. The sad factor here is that, it is not only other children who shame kids for weight, but also healthcare providers who propagate the view that obese/overweight kids are lazy, lack self-control and are less intelligent.
It does not stop with these groups of individuals, but parents and teachers too contribute to the shaming. Teachers rate performance of obese children worse than how they actually perform and children attending weight-loss camps or trying to lose weight with reduced food portions are shamed by parents themselves at homes which creates an insecure feeling within the child.
Points to Remember when Dealing with Plus-sized Children
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.