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(With Deep Regret) Katie Hopkins is Right

self-made picture of child who weighs somewher...

Childhood obesity issue #217: Overconsumption of sugar leads to ‘donut-glazed face’ syndrome.

I have found myself wrestling with something recently, something that sits as comfortably with me as a balloon on a porcupine. I found myself agreeing with something the ever egregious Katie Hopkins has penned. For those unfamiliar with the “TV personality and social commentator” that is La Hopkins, she courts column inches by being contentious troll-bait, spewing unpopular opinion in brash terms with haughty disdain. She is not one to side with if you ever wish to hold your head high in polite (or even not so polite) society.

The unpopular opinion that I happen to agree with, taking all the headline grabbing gumph out the way, is that childhood obesity is a problem and parents should be pulled up on it. She then went on to say that children should be told that they are fat, which is where I draw my line. As much as I loathe the noise and mess of children, I do not wish to inflict more mental suffering upon them that the world at large already does. I would go so far as to say that if a parent makes (not allows – the child bears no responsibility here) their child fat, this is a form of abuse. Yes, abuse.

I understand that there will be certain medical conditions which cause a few people to be clinically obese, but generally, I think we can all agree, the main culprit is eating poorly and exercising worse. To cause this to happen to an innocent child, who places their full trust and basic needs in the hands of their parent, is lamentable. As a parent, it is your responsibility to truly nark your child off by saying no to sweets, by leaving them no other option but to eat their vegetables and to see that they move their limbs further than from the Playstation to the biscuit tin.

Before I’m accused of being a fat-basher, I would like to say that while I don’t think being obese is a great idea in adults, as an adult, that is your prerogative (although some may have issue with you taking 2 places on public transport for the ticket price of 1, but that’s another post), but to cause obesity in children is cruel because they will face a lifetime struggle against it (fat cells have been shown to have a memory), higher risk of health problems over the years and thanks to the cruel nature of the playground, bullying from their snot-faced peers. I think we can all agree that those are things no-one should wish upon their child.

I do not think we should victimise these parents and label them as failures (tempting though it is, cretins as they are), it all boils back down to the timeless solution of offering education and support. I’m fairly certain that people know adult portions of burgers and chips on a daily basis aren’t a good idea for the nippers, but what is really needed is behavioural education; how to deal with the fact your child will whine and gripe because it wants chocolate instead of an apple, how to handle a child who refuses to eat anything but crisps for breakfast and how to cope with the fact that, unless you’re very lucky, children will be rather reluctant to get up at the weekend to face a bracing walk in the rain. One of the myriad reasons I have always been reluctant to have a child is that by all accounts, they are hard work. Tough, that’s the job description for being a parent, the short cut is killing them, literally.

If your child is a “fussy” eater, you need to learn how to encourage and cajole them into getting the nutritional values their biology requires, not cave and allow them to resort to The Oompa-Loompa diet plan. Children are programmed to be greedy sods – that’s the gift nature bestowed upon them to ensure their survival in the days of savagery, when manners and restraint would have seen them starve. In the current day of abundant corn syrup and fried snacks, sadly this is a burden parents must rein in, for the benefit of the child and the wear and tear on those poor park swings.

It is beyond a doubt that the UK is getting fatter, especially its children. I could load you with stats here but you can easily Google your own ones up and hey, you just have to look out the window or pass through my local supermarket, where I witnessed a gargantuan toddler, asleep in its pushchair, festooned with crumbs, using its own neck rolls as a pillow – ITS OWN NECK. Shops are selling larger clothes and buildings are incorporating wider seats to accommodate us, when really, we should be fighting back and working harder to ensure the younger generation don’t need to face the humiliation of having to purchase 2 seats on a plane for their porcine posterior, or have to stop to catch their breath on their way to the ice cream van parked 100 meters away.

The greatest myth people have been selling themselves is that there is such a thing as “puppy fat”. Sorry people, fat is fat and it doesn’t magically fall off after puberty. Sure, during that whole diabolical hormone storm, things shift about a bit, but if you have created a fat child, the addition of acne and questionable body hair will do nothing for them, save add to the social awkwardness. The only way your chubby little cherub will shed their childhood blubber is with a sensible diet and a sofa ban, but good luck shifting the residual diabetes and tooth decay that will forever be your legacy.

So yes, Katie Hopkins, I agree. Parents need to hear some harsh truths, that they are accountable for abusing their child’s health, that parenting is hard work and not a popularity contest, that being obese is not “ok” and should not be normalised to mollycoddle people’s feelings (surely the long term damage is greater than the initial sting of truth?). The blame and responsibility do not lie with the child, so this is where I’m glad I am not Katie Hopkins; as much of a child-phobic monster as I am, I wouldn’t call a child fat. To its face.

About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

14 responses »

  1. Jennifer Woods

    I agree with you. The parents maybe just need a scary dose of reality, education, and access to healthy foods, as well as sufficient time in which to prepare these things. As a society we also need to stop calling all those bad-for-you things “kids’ food.” You know, all that stuff like cupcakes, sugary cereal, candy, frozen treats, etc.

    When I was at just the right age, the school lined a large wall with tables, upon which were plates with teeny bits of raw fruits and veggies. We were obliged to try one of each (can’t remember, so long ago, but maybe there were limits, because there was a LOT of food), and if we liked it, we could go back for more.

    Luckily I liked it all and ran home to ask my parents for MOAR VEGGIES PLS! In fairness to my parents, we did eat pretty healthily already, but that taste test opened up a whole new world to me (and more work for my folks, but tough, they decided to have us). Maybe it was just that we’d never tried this stuff before, and nor had our parents. Maybe I did learn to like healthier foods from this simple exposure. Or maybe I truly was an odd child. It’s still worth a try. Get kids excited and it doesn’t feel “good for them” (and therefore to be avoided at all costs). It becomes fun then, or at least not such a bad thing.

    • Your school’s taster table sounds like a brilliant idea! I was heavily encouraged to try new things and I’m very glad of it – I have an extensive range of foods (often healthy) that I enjoy now, compared to some of my friends who were allowed to be picky and only ever eat beige foods. Well done you and your pleas for more veggies!

  2. Katie Hopkins turned me bulimic – perhaps this is the answer

  3. Although initially perceived your post is being negative and brutal I do understand where you coming from. It is a parents fault. I totally agree with you. As a parent of an obese 12-year-old I would love nothing more than to rewind the clock to age five and teach him what nutrition is all about. We both know I cannot do this. Instead, I am making him work out and eat healthy now. I know I am a bit late to start this, however. better now then never. I don’t want him entering high school 30 pounds overweight.
    On the flipside of this argument are kids who remain so skinny they look anorexic entering junior high -this goes for both boys and girls. And while some of these kids have health problems most of them. I would bet, do not.
    Children come in all shapes and sizes. It is up to the parent to teach them nutrition. As a parent, this burden falls heavy on my heart and I feel that I have failed him to certain extent. I wish that advertisers and society as a whole would be responsible and take the burden off the parents. What we’re trying to teach at home is not reflected by society and the many advertisers who every time I turnaround there is a commercial trying sell unhealthy foods to my child or expensive things he does not need.
    My child is tall and heavyset and it doesn’t help his self-esteem when he meets someone and they comment on the size. Yes he knows he’s a “big boy” and he knows he’s big for his age. Please stop the comments so that my child feel can feel comfortable in your presence. Have no fear. he is not going to eat you. You may not feel that your comments are painful to him but he does understand what you mean and he doesn’t need to hear them.
    Thank you for writing such a provoking post. I’m sure you will get many comments.

    • Thank you for leaving this comment, it’s really great to hear from both sides of the battle, and it is a battle. There are so many adverts and societal pressures out there, influencing your child. The best anyone can do is educate their children and encourage them to enjoy physical sports and a varied/balanced diet. It’s sad to hear that people say hurtful things to your son, but it almost highlights my piece, in that we shouldn’t be afraid of telling parents that they need to amend their nutrition and exercise regimes in the home because if they don’t, you can guarantee that someone else out there will be saying it to the child and with little or no sensitivity.

  4. I genuinely believe formula milk is the biggest contributor to childhood obesity. I don’t think I’m the only one either but women’s ‘right to choose ‘ is at stake… All the babies I know who chubbed up in formula have failed to ‘grow out of it’. My breast fed kids eat a lot if crap these days but they are slinky as whippets- and I don’t come from slender stock. Breast feeding is grim, hard work, deeply unsexy but contrary to popular belief, does not permanently harm your lovejugglers. And it doesn’t perpetually fuck up your child’s metabolism, which I strongly suspect a six month doctored dairy diet may well do for delicate infant gastrointestinal microbiology we are only just beginning to understand.

    Rant over

    • As good/bad/indifferent as formula milk may be, I think adult portions of burgers, chips and cakes in lieu of vegetables and fruit are possibly more to blame in most childhood obesity cases. Having said that, I haven’t even considered the breast/bottle debate as being anything other than something I shall never have to consider! 😉

  5. I’m with you 100% PFPT.

  6. I hate the patron saint of Daily Mail bitch Hopkins but unfortunately have to agree with her. I had a terrible childhood because I was morbidly obese (check out my blog for details), but unfortunately in African cultures the fatter you are (well the child in this matter) then the more wealther you appear to your peers. My parents didn’t think they were being horrible to me and I think they *did* in their own way to help me but I think they would have done a lot more if they knew how miserable I was.

    I’m now a woman in her 40s – thankfully lost most of the weight that I put on but that fear of being bullied and picked on because of my size still hangs with me.


  7. I hate the patron saint of Daily Mail bitch Hopkins but unfortunately have to agree with her. I had a terrible childhood because I was morbidly obese (check out my blog for details), but unfortunately in African cultures the fatter you are (well the child in this matter) then the more wealther you appear to your peers. My parents didn’t think they were being horrible to me and I think they *did* in their own way to help me but I think they would have done a lot more if they knew how miserable I was.

    I’m now a woman in her 40s – thankfully lost most of the weight that I put on but that fear of being bullied and picked on because of my size still hangs with me.

  8. So I was desperately looking for a blog to follow other than someone I know. You’ll be pleased to know you are lucky contestant number 2. I am new to this blogging stuff and have just found the confidence to start one up myself, but need to read other people’s to ensure I’m not making some sort of massive faux par. Don’t let me down! 😉


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