Dear Mom, Your Child is Fat.
“Fat letters” are being mailed home from schools in North Andover, Massachusetts to alert parents that their child qualifies as obese.
There’s no doubt childhood obesity is a problem, but is this an appropriate way to deal with it? I don’t know. On one hand maybe a “fat letter” would serve as a wake up call for parents of obese kids. On the other hand, if you’re child is overweight…you probably don’t need a letter to tell you so.
I was a fat kid. Beyond fat, I’m sure I fit into that obese category. How would my mom have felt if she would’ve received a fat letter about me?
She’d probably be ashamed. She knew I was overweight, but the problem was so big (no pun intended). I mean my mom wasn’t overweight…so, why was I? A lot of reasons. She was a single mom…a member of the “working poor” class for sure. Between working long days and dealing with a tight budget, cooking fresh, healthy meals was a luxury we couldn’t afford. It was Hamburger Helper, frozen salisbury steaks, and pop tarts.
We also couldn’t afford for me to bring my lunch to school. I ate free lunches in the cafeteria where samples menus included: tacos, french fries, and pudding… or chili dogs, tater tots, and doughnuts.
The fact is my mom couldn’t provide a lot of luxuries. I mean I never went without, but there were things other kids had…and she had to tell me no. But when I wanted more food. Well, that was something she could provide. I think psychologically she may have thought.. well, I can’t afford for Sean to wear name brand clothes, etc… but I’m at least not going to tell him no at the dinner table.
Anyhow…I agree that something needs to be done, but I think these letters may do more harm than good. We should work to address root causes of childhood obesity… like access to affordable, healthy food… and education.
That’s what I say. What say you?