When Love becomes a poison…

Last night, we watched BBC’s India’s Super Size Kids.

It was a scary watch,to say the least. They followed the lives of two young people. A 13 year old and a 20 year old. Both of them obese and addicted to fast food. The program was following the impact of Western fast food joints that have mushroomed in the Indian cities and how it has resulted in the obesity crisis among the adolescents of India.

While I am sure that the fast food and the general eating out culture has a lot to do with the crisis, I was more appalled by the attitude of some of the parents,who saw nothing wrong in their children being overweight or eating badly. And these weren’t the uneducated or people who wouldn’t know better, these were parents who should have known better, who should have the tools necessary to find out more.

It reminded me of a family we met in India. Their teenage daughter looked overweight to me, not obese, but definitely overweight. In the conversation, the mother talked about wanting to buy the best for her children. It made me wonder, what the ‘best’ was, when the she said that she loved it that her house was centrally situated to two KFC outlets.

Another friend was telling me about a friend of her’s who would make gulab jamuns in ghee for her daughter, on a regular basis, until they realized that they had an overweight 10 year old on their hands.

Daughter’s school had some performance night, and I remember being a little surprised that the children(adolescents mainly) seemed a little on heavier side. Another mum told me that it was because all that children want to eat these days is junk food.

I’ve heard parents proudly claiming that they want to give their children ‘everything they didn’t have while growing up’. It makes me wonder if that attitude has more to do with the current crisis. Pampering with food and inactivity. Every wish of theirs pandered to.

While I am sure the fast food outlets do need to be responsible, surely, we as parents, have a bigger responsibility to ensure that our children are eating right? We all love our children, and sometimes, that love might mean that we have to stop them from doing things that our children might love, if it’s not right for them. And really, it is far easier if we start off right, rather than having to set things right after things have gone horribly wrong.

As I read this back, I do feel that I’ve been rather judgemental. Probably because, the feeling I got was that eating out regularly at junk food outlets, seem to be aspirational not just for the kids but also for the parents. And that saddened me, so much so that I woke up still thinking about those kids who are eating their way to bad health.

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25 thoughts on “When Love becomes a poison…

  1. Well, I dont think its judgemental..you are just stating facts no? Its really sad about how obesity is gripping our lives…RD and I are both on the heavier side and one of my constant worry is R’s weight..she is not overweight or anything..but the tendency is there..and it worries me..no matter what anyone says, I hope she learns to control her diet in the future to make her healthy and fit! Having said that, we do take R out occasionally for a McDs or something..once in two months…

    • Arre. You guys are fine. You make healthy food, at home, all the time. I mean those totally overweight people. Once in two months is no issue, re. The kids they showed, ate out all the time. All the time. And one of the mothers claimed that she didn’t think junk food can cause all the problems people claim. I was shocked at that. When the parents themselves don’t understand, how could the kids.

  2. This is one of my pet peeves, Smitha. Moderation in everything, and in particular food, is very important in my opinion. I know of someone (an adult!) who used to eat out four days a week and now she is at the hospital’s mercy and is not allowed to eat outside food at all. If this is the result for an adult, a child’s body is even more vulnerable, no?! 😦

    • Exactly! And boggles my mind that parents seem to be oblivious to this! I mean, how can anybody do this to their own child? Love is one thing, but gifting them health problems for life is another..

    • Here is the rule: Foods that are addictive, that don’t satiate after normal quota, stay away from them as much as you can. Like fries and chips and soda. Soda, especially, is not good for children:

      The study found a clear association between aggression—as well as withdrawal and attention problems—and soda consumption

      The most satiating of foods, according to a Harvard study last year, is Yogurt.

  3. Sigh!!! And this is such a topic where I can say “each to its own”. Parents often don’t realise that in their effort to indulge they are laying a structure which the kids will later follow. What is right to eat now will always be right to eat later as well……We hardly go out (more because my In laws don’t like going out) but I am happy that ways. Not that I don’t give any junk item to brat…I do but as I say anything in moderation is good!! Excess of anything is bad!!! I wish all parents realised that!

    • Excess of anything is certainly bad. And as you say, we lay the foundation of it in the early years, don’t we? If a child grows up with unhealthy food, it is so much more difficult to change it later. We do eat out, but rarely at fast food places and certainly not all the time. And very rarely do we pick up deep fried things..

  4. I agree with Sugar and Spice, moderation in everything, particularly in food, is very important. The problem gets worse when even the parents binge on food. As a result they encourage their kids to do the same probably because they don’t find anything wrong in it. There’s this family who lives in my compound, goodness you have to see them! They are 5 of them, of which 3 are of Namnam’s age, few years here n there. All 5 of of them overweight! What’s worse, they all live on junk! Huge packs of McD or KFC or something or the other get delivered every day. And I am not exaggerating, this happens every day. If the parents themselves don’t see the point in curtailing junk food consumption, how likely is it that they can control their kids? 😦

  5. I hate this ‘getting the best for your child’ mentality. People do not exercise it in the right places. Getting the best education generally means turning your child in a money making machine. The best food is a burger not fruits. What about the best thoughts? The best outlook towards life?

  6. As a teacher of a nursery class,I was shocked to see what some parents would send in the lunch boxes…some brought Smileys and a Choco pie everyday,others would bring Maggi regularly,another child always had cream biscuits and chips in her tiffin..this despite repeated notes in the diary to avoid sending junk food for tiffin.The sad part was when I would see the children bringing healthy food in their tiffins looking at the others with junk in their lunch boxes longingly.

    • That is so inappropriate! A friend of mine was saying the same too. She is a KG teacher, and said that the content of the children’s lunch boxes shocked her? Another friend was telling me that her daughter’s school has to lay strict rules after they found some children bringing the previous night’s restaurant takeaway as lunch. I mean, that is actually dangerous, it would be spoilt, almost certainly. It boggles my mind that parents can do this.

  7. Some schools here have started enforcing rules strictly. My neighbor was saying her son’s school has sent them a menu that is to be followed strictly because too many kids are bringing junk food these days.
    As you rightly said, everything in moderation. Aerated drinks and stuff like Lays are banned at home normally, but we do allow them to have it once in a while. Kids will always be kids and they want to have what their friends have. It is tough on parents to keep a rein, but I guess it pays in the long run.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Bindu! It is tough, no doubt, with all the influence of peers around us, but then, we have to do , what we have to do, don’t we? Especially as it can really help the child in the long term.

  8. I am appalled at such behaviour too. We know of a number of people who live on such junk, well-educated adults too, knowing fully well the ill effects on their health it would cause, in spite of being warned by doctors to reduce their weight. I consider these akin to suicidal tendencies. 😦

  9. Oh dear…this seems to be the topic of conversation with the many mommies I met here !!! The problem also stems from the fact that the parents refuse to say a NO to their children. By telling a NO, they think they become bad parents. And so the kids take advantage of that fact and get things done. What does the child know ??? Isnt it the responsibility of the parents to teach them right ???
    I really pity those children who are the obese – results of bad parenting and judgments !!!

    • Seriously,Uma! That is true! They seem to think that saying a No is a bad thing, but as you say, how will the children learn? Such a sad situation that the children face the brunt of it..

  10. i completely agree. its not just fast foods though, its the whole play station, cell phone culture where kids dont step out for some physical activity. obesity is on the rise and it is evident. infact even i started showing signs of putting on weight and that ticked me off. i corrected it by watching what i eat and working out but you’re right. parents need to know better. nicely done smita. cheers.

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