Solving the childhood obesity epidemic

July 31, 2011 7 Comments
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Persuade them all to starve themselves to death.

Almost 600 children below the age of 13 have been treated in hospital for eating disorders in the past three years, new figures have revealed.
The statistics include 197 children between the ages of five and nine – with cases within this age group almost doubling over the period.
[...]
The figures, from 35 NHS hospitals in England, show more than 2,100 children were treated for eating disorders before they reached their sixteenth birthday.
They include 98 children aged between five and seven at the time of treatment and 99 aged eight or nine. Almost 400 were between the ages of 10 and 12, while more than 1,500 were aged 13 to 15.

Bad, eh? Well, no. It seems it’s probably worse.

Even these statistics, disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, are likely to be an underestimate.
Some NHS hospitals treating such patients refused to provide any data, while among the 35 hospitals, some would only disclose the figures for those children admitted to wards after becoming dangerously emaciated – excluding those undergoing psychiatric therapy as outpatients.

And what is thought to be the reason for this?

Experts blamed the trend on a “pernicious” celebrity culture which glorified size zero figures, leaving increasing numbers of young girls struggling to cope with their growing bodies.
[...]
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of eating disorders charity B-eat said the figures reflected alarming trends in society, with young children “internalising” messages from celebrity magazines, which idealised the thinnest figures.
“A number of factors combine to trigger eating disorders; biology and genetics play a large part in their development, but so do cultural pressures, and body image seems to be influencing younger children much more over the past decade,” she added.

Ah, it’s our modern sleb culture, is it? Biology and genetics aren’t going to change things a great deal unless there’s an eating disorder gene which is dominant, so presumably it’s this problem that this obsession with “body image” has grown so much over recent years. Okay, that makes sense to me, and there’s no denying that magazines that do nothing but show pictures of skinny or buff people (sometimes rather weirdly so, sometimes photoshopped, and probably sometimes weird and photoshopped) have played a role. But I wonder if Susan Ringwood isn’t missing another factor, another focus on body image that’s been increasing a great deal in the last few years.

 

 

 

Nah, what am I saying? It couldn’t possibly be anything to do with everyone running around screaming ‘obesity epidemic’ every time a kid turns his nose up at a green salad and asks for a burger instead, could it? Not least because it would mean the Righteous, those people whose lives are devoted to telling everyone else what to do and pointing the finger at those who aren’t doing it right, are themselves are part of the problem.

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7 Responses to Solving the childhood obesity epidemic

  1. July 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Good point! This has been brewing since the grandmothers (and great-grandmothers) of these children began to join slimming clubs rather than dieting alone as their predecessors did.

    These clubs work by reinforcing an ersatz morality – dieting is good so normal food consumption must of necessity be bad. The idea has taken root so firmly that it can be seen in the names supermarkets give their reduced calorie ranges – ‘Be Good to Yourself’, ‘Good for You’ – with their subliminal messages of virtue.

    For some members of a secular society, this has become the moral standard by which to measure themselves; a conscientious child, in its eagerness to please, may well try to adopt this morality, seeking approval by imitating a behaviour its elders practice and preach on a regular basis.

    And it is these conscientious children who form the majority of patients with eatng disorders, so anxious to control their calorie intake, for whatever reason, that they lose all sense of proportion. The message of the righteous is designed to bludgeon its way through the thickest of skulls – small wonder, then, that more sensitive souls may overreact.

    • August 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

      “The idea has taken root so firmly that it can be seen in the names supermarkets give their reduced calorie ranges – ‘Be Good to Yourself’, ‘Good for You’ – with their subliminal messages of virtue.”

      Like London Underground’s replacement of ‘normal service’ (i.e. no delays) with ‘good service’ (surely a value judgement?)..

  2. Paul
    July 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Macheath: The message of the righteous is designed to bludgeon its way through the thickest of skulls – small wonder, then, that more sensitive souls may overreact.

    I can see a lot of these people committing suicide over their weight over the next few years as the campaign of denormalisation – which will manifest in people as hate – takes hold. And it’s all for profit and can be easily avoided.

    Evil, evil people.

  3. B Adu
    July 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    You simply could not be more correct. the most chilling response I’ve ever heard to this connection is that those suffering from starvation disorders are “collateral damage” in the fight against ‘obesity’.

    Some of these ‘anti-obesity’ people are like those under the influence.

    • August 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

      And the rest are slowly getting there…

  4. Paul
    July 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    B Adu: You simply could not be more correct. the most chilling response I’ve ever heard to this connection is that those suffering from starvation disorders are “collateral damage” in the fight against ‘obesity’.

    I suspect we’ll hear similar statements, dripping with hatred, when there are massive rises in the suicides of overweight/obese people. Fat and fat people will become an enemy to subjugated, bullied and if that doesn’t work, being ‘encouraged’ to remove themselves in some contexts.

  5. Dave
    August 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    tell children of normal weight and build that they’re ‘obese’ and what other effect do you think it will have? The righteous have caused the problem and as always, the law of unforeseen consequences kicks in….. They’ve only themselves to blame.

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