Are fat parents to blame?

Are chubby children no longer an acceptable image of health?

Chrissie Swan, children, obesity, celebrity

What is the main role of a parent?  To nourish, nurture and educate their children in the ways of the world. Well, it seems one ‘celebrity’ mum has gone too far with the ‘nourish’ but is she killing her children with kindness?

Radio host Chrissie Swan couldn’t have imagined the uproar that was about to unfold when she posed for a beautiful family photo with her two young children, Leo, 3, and Kit, 9 months. Her cherubic bubs have been described as ‘fat’ and ‘unhealthy’. Swan herself has long battled with her weight; she struggled to lose kilos to help her conceive her second child, Kit, but is she transferring her ‘unhealthiness’ to her children?

For years the images of chubby children have been portrayed as healthy. And this is the type of image which we’re talking about here. Sure, Swan’s older child Leo is perhaps a little on the large side but I’m sure Chrissie, as an educated person, knows this and will be monitoring his weight closely. Having herself endured taunts for being overweight, I’m sure Chrissie does not want the same future for her children, but neither does she want to deprive the of the chance to be just that - children.

Children need a healthy, balanced diet and to be active. Some children who appear overweight actually eat the right types of food and are incredibly active. It’s just that their bodies store fat in a different way when younger, but good nutrition and exercise habits will stand them in good stead when they are older.

I wasn’t a chubby child but my brother was and our parents were a healthy weight. We used to joke that he was so fat that he couldn’t lift his facial muscles to smile in photos. He’s now 36 and still playing soccer at a decent level, as well as holding down a full time job and running after two young children of his own. He is well within the average weight band for his (short) height. My own son when younger was also a little chubby and now, at almost 12 years of age, is probably one of the slimmest in his class – go figure.

Mums have it tough enough as it is. It’s difficult trying to balance the pressures of family life with the added pressure of perhaps having to also provide for financially for a family. Having ‘skinny’ people pass judgment on how you are bringing up your children, when they have no idea how you feed and care for your children should simply keep quiet.

Are chubby children no longer an acceptable image of health? Should parents hide away children who appear to carry a few extra kilos? Is being skinny always preferable?


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    5th Jun 2012
    Why not everybody live their own life, if it does not harm you in some way I see not reason to worry about what anybody else is doing. If it affects you in some way personally then say something personal. There is no need to bring it to the attention of others.
    5th Jun 2012
    I agree entirely. After I saw the comment I remarked that people should worry about their own concerns and not try to make themselves feel big by criticising others.
    5th Jun 2012
    Well said both of you my sentiments exactly
    5th Jun 2012
    I am going to disagree with others who think that it's OK for children to be obese. The fact is that Australians have enlarged at a phenomenal rate ranking high on the global scale when it comes to obesity, that is, we are overweight. If you don't know it as yet; obesity is now the biggest cause of major health problems from cardiac, renal, skeletal,diabetes, - you name it - they are all inter-related. The hospitals are now filling up with far younger people with age-related conditions entirely due to obesity. Hospitals and health services are faced with having to re-fit and install bariatric equipment simply to manage the obese patients. Furthermore, the cost to society, that means you and I the taxpayer is blowing out the budget. This leads to the further argument: should society, therefore pay taxes for people who do not take responsibiltiy for their own health and that includes the obese people who continue and choose to remain overweiht. There is enough evidence to show that weight can be reduced and minimise the impact on health. Obesity is not entirely due to the body build or genes. If you ask me it comes down to poor dietary choices and plain laziness to manage the weight problem.
    So I make no apology for expressing facts. It is extremely sad to see patients as young as 16y for example, present to hospital with obesity-induced, major medical problems. Not until you have seen it for yourself, you may continue to think that it is OK to be fat. It is simply not OK and it is time the whole of society start doing something to turn this around!
    6th Jun 2012
    KeyC it starts with re educating people how to shop for and cook healthy food.
    If you look at people from the lower socio economic groups you see them living on take aways,and this starts from the parents and is passed on from one generation to the next.
    They are addicted to fatty unhealthy food and dont know any different.
    What needs to be done is to re educate these children from a young age maybe starting in schools.

    6th Jun 2012
    My daughter was brought up on a healthy diet and both her dad and me were naturally slim so she was too. As an adult she is now a big girl, fitting into the genes that came from her dad's family. Her American cousin (daughter of her fathers's bro), the same age, visited and they are physically identical. So people shouldn't presume anything regarding size in adults.
    7th Jun 2012
    ..and I refuse to take the blame for my now 36yo daughters excess weight.
    Actual Cat
    6th Jun 2012
    KeyC and Chrissy, I agree. Education is a big factor and that begins at home.
    If parents feed their children fatty, salty, sugary foods, then that's what the children will become used to and crave. Poor diet is definitely a low socio-economic problem and it perpetuated from generation to generation.
    I don't particularly care if someone else is obese, but you are right, these people fill the hospitals with related illnesses and the health system is struggling to cope.
    I worked for years in schools and was dismayed at the school lunches eaten. The curriculum has a strong healthy eating and fitness component, but it makes no difference if the parents don't back it up.
    7th Jun 2012
    Thank you KeyC and Actual Cat it is SO nice to actually have an intellegent discussion that is relevant to the topic instead of trying to avoid some of the personal dribble that is written in some of the discussions as in the topic of blood tranfusions
    8th Jun 2012
    I believe we are a product of our ancestors, if they were large people, you probably will be too. We all know someone with tall, lean ancestors who can eat tons of food and not gain any weight and the rest of us struggle to maintain it.
    8th Jun 2012
    That might be true in some cases but generally no!!
    Its a bit of an excuse.

    If you document everything that you eat in a week that will give you some answers and change your way of eating,you will be surprised on what you are actually eaing..
    Some people on certain medication are unable to lose weight.
    Nan Norma
    8th Jun 2012
    I had reason to sit in an hospital foyer for half an hour one morning. I started to notice that two out of ever three women passing by were obese. The sad part of this was that half of them were hospital staff. What have we come to? We all eat too much and don't walk as much as we used to. And we drink far too many soft drinks.
    9th Jun 2012
    It is okay to sit on our buts and give advice advice as we see it but all need to know what they are speaking about before opening your mouth.My daughter who is a nurse is what most would class as obese yet she is on a healthy diet and has been tested to find that she has goitre trouble and cannot lose weight as much as she would like to.So please be silent unless you know what you are talking about.
    Nan Norma
    9th Jun 2012
    Pate, I was merely making an observation. I can only tell you what I saw. Your daughter has a health problem, which is not what I'm talking about. If you ever look at some old photographs take note how many people are overweigh. Very few. Not like today. I think we've got so used to people being overweight we've seized to notice how common its become. In K. Mart's Size 16 used to be in large fittings. Now even 18 is crepping into a regulour size. I have some old size 14 sewing patterns but if you look at todays size 14 patterns are way bigger. I look at the young women and think, if they're this size now what will they be like in a few years time when we do tend to put on weight. In a America they are now making bigger ambulance stretchers and many other things to cater for the overweight and obese. And we are not far behind them. The children of today may have a shorter life span than the baby boomers on account of health problems related to being overweight.
    I never said SHE drank to much soft drink. Actually as much as I detest this rip off bottled water business, at least its got a lot of people off the soft drinks.
    9th Jun 2012
    And NO Nan Norma she does not drink soft drinks...she drinks water or a homemade smoothie...
    9th Jun 2012
    Its a shame that you are so defensive pate,we did say that some people on certain medications do gain weight.
    9th Jun 2012
    It's hard to keep young people away from fast food because it's so delicious. There is nothing quite like a Macca's quarter pounder and a hot apple pie. Millions of people eat fast food every day because it's impossible to resist, once they start (around toddler age) they can't stop and I have no idea what to do about it.
    9th Jun 2012
    It sounds absolutely revolting to me.
    You can resist it if you really want too,what happens is that when people grow up with junk food they become addicted to it,loads and loads of NO nutr1tion and plenty of chemicals.
    When parents do not set an example how do they expect their children to eat healthy.

    10th Jun 2012
    So many older women say "we have just put the weight on" and it is just the way it is, but if people take in more calories a day than they use without burning the excess off with (even just a good brisk walk each day) they will gradually kilo by put weight on every year.
    A Nutritionist can gauge a persons body whether children, teenagers, people in general and Seniors and work out exactly how many calories a day they need and how much exercise.
    I was a Manager at Gloria Marshall's figure Salon in Geelong and helped many people including bullied school children lose the excess weight. There ae many easy tricks to help but it all boils down to calories in and energy out, as some chocolate a day compared to a truck load of lettuce still achieve the same weight gain or loss depending on how many calories each particular unique body requies to exist each day to stay at a desired weight. Once we know exactly what our body needs it becomes a lifelong experience just like showering and sleeping.
    No doubt ill health changes everything as the Thyroid is a challenge when it goes haywire.
    I am talking about the nomal every day variety of us all regardless of age. We cannot eat the same as we did as teenagers unless we run and exercise everyday as we used to and burn the calories - so just a fact of life have to adjust.
    11th Jun 2012
    Totally agree with you phyl
    10th Jun 2012
    Just some hints at why maybe therefore ect ect. Phyl i believe you are right calories digested in and calories burnt off during each day and the sum total for say 1 year....its maths on that score. So excercise as part of lifestyle is important as is awareness of good food nutrition.
    Not whinning here as grumpy is as grumpy becomes: if one becomes used to grumpyness as a lifestyle a man or woman of aged charactor can become blindsided. Its just that times have changed via several generations since we were nippers and its not the same carefree world now is it? Sure its in food combo's but wot about life combos now?
    1. Food additives and preservatives in so many common foods. An example of this is artifical sweetner aspartame. A known cancer causing agent yet its in foods like cerials and drinks like softdrinks, fruit juices ect ect. The thing about this chemical is that it is also addictive. Food manifactures found that by adding it into product that sales improved. So it forced their competitors to do the same; kinda like a arms race. Now there is is a new generation of aspartame called neotame i think and its passed through our wonderous food labeling system to the point where it is not mentioned at all. If this is so maybe even a healthy can of say salmon may now have such additives added into product....who knows?
    2.We walked ran rode bikes or horses to school modern kids don't.
    3. When those kids get to school they are subject to more internal and external pressure then we were. Not arguing about that here, but what would an average adult do based on history when faced with pressure? Eat choclate and drink more. Kids cant drink alcohol so maybe they eat more and more and get in some good practice while waiting to become legal aged drinkers.
    4. If the average australian is obese its the norm so no effort is required to fit within peer groups.
    5. Genetics have a play as well. Also i believe that our bodies actually learn to make fat cells in first year of life and then at puberty. Perhaps a danger period in life for this subject.
    The first sentence was "what is the main role of a parent?
    To provide a safe home environment, nurcher with love and attention, instill valued beliefs and prepare your children so they can become independant. You wont always be there and when they become adults you have to learn to let go for your job is done.
    ps. point 6 1/2. Our bodies now that so many days more to decompose cause we are full of chemicals and preservaties :)

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