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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  • OSHH

    I agree with Curly Sue, it is all about starting the child off EARLY with proper nutrition and encouraging physical activity as a way of life. Lead by example and then you won;t have an overweight child.
    Some kids like adults use food to cope after GOD forbid a trauma/stress etc but if they have been provided a safe, nurturing and healthy environment in which to develop and thrive, then physical health and nutrution is very much apart of that.

  • chanela

    I thought this was related to rihanna’s dad calling her fat. just put them in athletic classes. what’s the big deal? quit taking them to mcdonalds and dont let other adults take the child to mcdonalds.
    Also why does the article only say “She”? are we really gonna enforce the double standard that its perfectly fine for men to be bigger but women MUST be thin? the title kinda rubbed me the wrong way tbh.

  • LAD86

    When would it ever be ‘right’ for a parent to say something like that to their child?

  • Mo

    I think it is okay to tell your child she is fat, not necessarily call her fat, but is she is becoming aware of being overweight, it is okay to level with her. Where I think the mother erred, and the writer pointed out, was in saying that no one could do anything about it but the child. Your child is your responsibilty and if she is overweight you are as responsible for helping her overcome it as you would be for any other health issue.

    I think the way you go about helping the child is most important. Shaming, harrassing and goading a child will not do any more to help them lose weight than ignoring the problem did. That mother should have said ‘You’re right. You are fat and if you are concerned about it, i will make a deal with you right now to help you lose it.” They can see the child’s doctor and work out a healthy eating plan that the entire household can adhere to and the mother could offer to at least walk the neighborhood with or work out with the child. Many times young children’s metabolisms are so strong a small change in diet and an increase in physical activity can get them in the weight range they should be in and maybe prompt a lifelong joy in exercise.

    Honesty is perfectly acceptable when blended with support and concern and not just coming from a negative point of view.

  • Wuluwulu

    Depends on how u are going to say it; if you’r egoing to say “You’re a cow, lose some weight”, that approach is a big non-no. If you sit your child down and explain to them the longtern health implications of being overweight or obese and the need to lose some weight that is a completely different approach. Parents should not enable bad lifestyle choices just because they don’t want to hurt thier children’s feelings.

    • binks

      I agree, this is the case of not what you say but how you say it and convey the message. I have no problem with parents being honest with their kids about their weight. Mentioning and having a frank discussion about said child of being overweight in a way that is helpful and still nurturing environment is needed, not going off like your Precious’ mom about your kid’s weight. My mom did it for me, when I came home on college break “hitting the scale at a whooping 400+…blushing” she pulled me aside and said “honey you are to big you need to lose some weight…” and I am glad she did because A) I was delusional at the time concerning my weight and B) if your parents can be honest with you than who can