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With child obesity becoming such a growing problem, it is no wonder that there is a current push to teach children about food. I think teaching kids how to eat healthier is all well and good. However, I have also heard well-intentioned parents make the association between food and "fatness" to their children. My personal belief is that that is harmful and unnecessary.
I was the "fat" kid growing up. I still remember that someone had nicknamed me Miss Piggy. I had very little self-esteem and it took many years for me to develop self-worth. I loved food and the worst I felt about myself, the more I ate. Eventually, I got myself together and lost all the weight. However, to this day, I still struggle to accept myself for who I am physically. Even though I am at a very healthy weight, I still worry about being "fat."
I do not want that for my daughters. And that is why I work very hard as a parent to NOT associate food with fatness. As crazy as I am about my daughters eating healthy, it has little to do with my concern about them being "fat." My husband and I have gone as far to teach our six-year-old that you only use the word "fat" to refer to animals and never to people. In our house, "fat" is a bad word.
So how do I teach my six-year-old about eating healthy and exercise? I tell her the truth. Eating the right foods and exercise keeps you healthy. And when I say healthy, that is NOT my code word for thin. There are many thin people who are unhealthy just as there are some "chubby" people that are very healthy. Healthy means that you are getting the appropriate nutrients through food and liquids so that your body functions optimally and fights off illness and disease.
Here are some things that I might tell my daughter:
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