In the eating disorders world, putting any child on a diet is not only unacceptable but appalling.

In the eating disorders world, a father referring to his child as "chubby" and commenting on her eating habits is not only frowned upon it is reviled.

In the eating disorder world a mother who felt her children were "perfect" should not be corrected by a doctor who points to the children's weight as not.

In the eating disorders world it is well-known and embraced that healthy children rapidly gain weight as they approach puberty.

In the eating disorders world it is understood that dieting is an unhealthy behavior, that healthy weight is whatever one's body ends up with when they are behaviorally and mentally healthy - a wide range of body shapes and sizes. Average weight people can be unhealthy, and non-average weight people can be healthy.

Behavior, not weight, are appropriate health measures.

But OUTSIDE the eating disorder world none of the above is true. In fact, most people believe the opposite on every single point, and are not aware of any other way to think or that the science supports all of the above. I am sucker-punched to read that our First Family put their daughters on a "diet" because they feared "obesity" and no doubt will be lauded for it.

This is not an eating disorder issue, however, and it should not be only us who know this and speak out about it. These are medically, socially, and ultimately self-defeating errors in thinking and do harm to all children and all of us. I am very sad today.


  1. This story made me sad too. Especially as her children look like normal, healthy happy little girls. I tried to think about it from a "non-ED" perspective like you have but at the end of the day, whatever your knowledge on eating disorders, weight, size, whatever, it is plain wrong to call your child chubby and very wrong to announce this to the rest of the world.It seems her daughters size and health is being used purely as a marketing tool for the childhood obesity programme soon to be launched.

  2. I had not seen that story, but it's truly appalling.

    My heart breaks. What about intuitive eating? What about accepting that some of us, as pre-adolescent girls, grew out AND THEN UP?

    What about teaching moderation? That there is no such thing (in my view) of "good food" or "bad food"?

    Those poor girls. As if they weren't already in the spotlight, now attention to their eating and weight...

    So unhappy about this.

  3. I have my letter to Michele Obama on my computer as we speak. I urge everyone to write to her as she ramps up her rhetoric on her "war on childhood obesity" campaign. I was appalled that she called her daughter "chubby." I know she means well, but we all do a lot more harm than good labeling our kids. Behavior, not weight is what we control.
    There are plenty of healthy big kids, and plenty of "normal" weight kids who eat garbage all day long and sit in front of hours of TV.
    The campaign should be about access to a variety of healthy and delicious foods, moving bodies in ways that are fun and sustainable, having recess and feeling good for ALL our kids, not just the ones that the BMI charts may misdiagnose as having a problem.

  4. Hear, hear. At my kids' dad's house, food is often used as reward/punishment and it makes me want to cry and pull my hair out. Even after many discussions about this, he still does not agree with my point of view and will not change. I feel so helpless and I hate that my daughter (and my son!) will suffer for it.

  5. Thanks again Laura for so eloquently expressing what so many parents of ED sufferers feel. Your courage and wisdom allows me to try and make a difference in my part of the world.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts