Growing up in the 80’s, anorexia and bulimia were two eating disorders that were coming to light. Girls of my age (primarily Caucasian) were made aware of the warning signs and were taught to be proud of our bodies. Dieting for girls in their early teens was discouraged. While many girls still succumbed to the desire to be ridiculously thin, the campaign against dieting saved many girls from self-destruction.
For a while, it seemed that anorexia and bulimia were on the decline. Today, however, eating disorders are on the rise once again. But this time it’s worse. The campaign against childhood obesity and constant dieting amongst many adults has parents spreading paranoia to their children. The result? Pre-teens, males and minorities are now the newest groups who have begun to starve themselves on the quest for the perfect body.
It is a shame that parents are not better educated about the nutritional needs of their children. Infants and small children should be chubby and sturdy respectively. This extra fat ensures adequate bone growth not only in length, but in integrity. This fat also serves as insulation for the body and internal organs. Unfortunately, parents confuse this normal type of fat for obesity.
The worst part is how parents are teaching their children to avoid obesity. Instead of steering them towards nourishing foods of our ancestors such as meat, butter and eggs, they are filling children with non-nutritive foods such as processed fruit juices and low-fat meals or extreme diets such as vegan and macrobiotic. This way of eating robs children of the very nutrients they require to grow healthy and strong with broad faces and free of psychological disorders.
As parents, I believe it is our place to honor our children first by giving them the appropriate tools (food) to thrive and second to accept them for who they are. Teaching our children to fear their bodies and fear food will only make their lives more difficult as they grow up. Embracing the right eating habits prior to conception is the best way to ensure that they develop into happy, healthy adults.