From Frugivore — Filled with despair, Julie Askew watched her 13-year-old daughter try on yet another outfit in the mirror — then fling it on to the growing pile of clothes on her bedroom floor.

“I’m fat and ugly — and I look horrible!” a tearful Amie wailed. ‘“I can’t wear this to the school disco. It’s just not fair.”

That’s how The Daily Mail begins its profile of a young girl who had already internalized severe body-image issues. The question always arises: where do such negative views come from? And most of time people will blame the household from which she comes.

Julie, 48, a business development manager from Maidstone, Kent, says: “Normally I would have blamed the shops for selling clothes which are cut too small, told her the style didn’t suit her, or insisted she looked lovely.”

“But by this point she weighed more than 13 stones (182 pounds), and the hissy fits about how awful she looked were becoming so regular that I had to say something.”

“So this time, instead of denying it, I blurted out: ‘Yes, Amie, you’re right. You are overweight — and the only person who can do something about it is you.’”

A response that holds her daughter personally responsible — somewhere, a Republican is smiling. But when is it ever okay to tell someone they are fat, which is now the new “f-word.”

Stateside, Americans have tried to figure out the best way to engage the obesity epidemic. In Georgia, the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance spent $50 million on its Strong4Life campaign last summer to address the state’s pressing childhood obesity epidemic.

At the start of this year, the organization ramped up its efforts with a series of billboards and TV ads meant to “stop sugar-coating” the problem. “We needed something that was more arresting and in your face than some of the flowery campaigns out there,” Linda Matzigkeit, senior vice president of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, told ABC News.

One of the black-and-white posters of a gloomy-looking overweight girl is emblazoned with the statement: “Warning. It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re fat.” Another ad, under a sad-faced boy, reads: “Fat prevention begins at home. And the buffet line.”

The campaign’s videos are equally frank and grim. In one, a plump girl says, “I don’t like going to school because all the other kids pick on me. It hurts my feelings.” In another, an obese boy asks his overweight mom, “Why am I fat?”

(Read the rest at Frugivore)

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  • Sasha

    I just wanted to point out that the mother in the article didn’t call her daughter ‘fat’, she called her ‘overweight’ and I do not see what was wrong with saying that to her child. At the end of the day it is the parent’s buying the food their children are consuming therefore they are responsible for the foods their children are/ aren’t eating.

  • modern lady

    An adult shouldn’t be calling their own child names-but they need to acknowledge there’s a problem.

    It’s the adult’s responsibility to get that child exercising and eating properly. I’m sure that child hears the words ‘you’re fat’ enough at school.

  • Gabrielle

    Yes, of course it’s okay to call someone fat.
    On the other hand, someone who’s ten pounds over weight doesn’t exactly have a problem, they’re just on the heavier side (could possibly have big bones?) there’s a line between if something is offensive or informative/helpful.
    And even if someone’s 182 pounds, if you tell them they’re “fat” that’s not exactly a nice word.
    overweight is nicer. It’s more scientific and makes it seem as though your basing this off of their weight, not how they look.
    I mean, yes, everyone is fat! It’s “fat” and we all have it. You lift up you’re shirt, you’re probably fat. The only people who get teased for being “fat” are the people who’s fat we can actually see (and I’m not talking about a bump-which I have and I actually find it cute- I’m talking about a bulge) when we really all have fat.
    Overweight is the correct term. And just because your BMI tells you you’re overweight online doesn’t mean you actually are.
    I’m 14. I’m 5’1 and my scale says 130 pounds. I go online and find out that’s “at risk of becoming overweight” so I freak out and go to the doctor. I guess I didn’t realize I only had a little bit of belly fat, and that I have big boobs and a big bum which is where all the weight pretty much is, and that I am Italian so I’m big boned, and also that my scale was weighing me ten pounds heavier then I really was. :)