As a woman, I know what it's like to deal with body image issues. I try not to weigh myself, because numbers on the scale freak me out. If my jeans fit — I'm good! Gah! If they don't, I kick it up a notch on the treadmill. I was a lot more sensitive as a child, teen and, heck, before I had my son. These days, my body is awesome because it grew a human. I eat right, exercise, get as much sleep as humanly possible, and every other xyz in the book that will help ensure I stay fit.
So you can imagine my horror when I read that a fourth grade girl, Gwendolyn Williams, brought home a fitness assessment from her school that claims she is overweight. What's worse, the child was supposed to deliver the sealed document to her mum, but peeked at it. I don't blame her for looking at the letter. She's a curious nine-year-old, not an oblivious five-year-old with ABCs on the brain.
Get this: Gwendolyn is 4 feet and 1 inch tall, weighing in at 66 lbs. What the letter failed to mention is that she's clearly in the 75th or above percentile. If you look at the beautiful child, you will clearly see she is not only fit and healthy—but happy! Her mum, Laura, says she's active and healthy—and is upset her child read she's considered "overweight." Me too! Shame on the school.
Of course childhood obesity is no joke and while I commend the school for assessing children and sending home info, I do think it needs to be delivered via mail or email directly to the parents. A young girl on the verge of puberty — incredibly sensitive years — does not need some universal system telling her she's overweight. It's a blow to her self-esteem and can set the bar for unrealistic dieting goals at a young age.
The most important things parents and other adults in a child's life can do is encourage healthy eating and physical activities. Kids learn by example, so it's crucial to eat well with your child and be active together. Make being healthy, happy, and confident your lifestyle. My son and I love to shop at the farmer's market, take our dog for walks, and play outside. When it's raining or cold out, a vigorous dance party is a sure way to sneak in some fun exercise. And we eat ice cream, too!
What do you think of this story and how do you stay healthy with your kids?