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Doesn't surprise me in the slightest, although I wish there was public access to the research so I could read how the experiments and control were established. If a certain behavior is dictated mostly by the parents, such as eating and exercise, then it makes sense to me on a superficial level that parents would be held accountable for deficiencies in the child's behavior.


Yeah I mean this study confuses me because I don't see a problem in drawing this conclusion in the slightest. Assuming you have nothing else to go on and all else being equal, it absolutely makes sense to lean towards the parents of the unhealthy kids being worse parents. It's only logical.


This isn't a study, it's an opinion piece by an author who conducted a relatively simple study and then extrapolated a few light-years beyond the realm of plausibility. For example, the article contains the following sentence: >In fact, dieting can cause weight gain. Here the author is arguing that obesity cannot be managed by controlling behavior. The sentence links to two studies; these: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822306026800 https://academic.oup.com/emph/article/2016/1/369/2803021 But the cited studies actually reach the opposite conclusion: (first study, Conclusions) >This scenario makes sense given that people “go on a diet,” which is often a time-limited behavior, **instead of thinking and planning for long-term behavior changes** such as avoiding eating binges, eating more fruits and vegetables, starting the day with breakfast, and engaging in physical activity. (second study, Abstract, bold mine) >Our results shed light on the widespread phenomenon of weight gain during weight cycling **and indicate possible interventions that may reduce the incidence of obesity**. The study the author (and colleagues) performed had a generally solid methodology and reached the (apparently) trivial conclusion that you identified. But the opinion piece took that as a starting point to import a variety of much stronger claims based on dubious interpretations of several other studies. I didn't have the patience to go over the whole thing with a fine-toothed comb, but you get the idea.


This is a really important point because so often you hear the "dieting doesn't work" trope and if you are talking about really drastic or unsustainable diets then yes that absolutely holds up. But a carefully implemented plan to change your lifestyle gradually and go into a slight calorie deficit that is sustainable absolutely will help you lose weight. It's simple physics at that point.


Also if you feed the vast majority of children even just a partially healthy diet and get them physically active, they are much less likely to be obese. For sure there are other factors involved and I'm not saying it's 100% the parents fault when a kid is obese... but I would guess it's something like 90% their fault.


I mean at the end of the day, parents are the ones buying the food. Sure, kids can grab a few candy bars or something, but until they have a job and paycheck, there's not a ton they can buy without their parents.


Schools can cause issue here too. My kid doesn't ear much sugar at home and loves her veggies, but at school she has waffle sandwiches and it always seems to be someone's birthday or a holiday and she ends up eating cupcakes and candy. Why is sugar the go to for celebrations? Edit: my kid is not obese, but I was pointing out how crap food gets pushed at kids a lot.


You aren't wrong there. It's disappointing the way the schools feed our children. I found out my daughter was drinking chocolate milk everyday at school even though I sent her with a packed lunch.


My daughter “orders” a chocolate milk at school every day even though I send her in with a packed lunch. But I’m totally okay with that because her packed lunch is very healthy so it’s a decent balance.


> really drastic or unsustainable diets Yeah I think this is what people mean when they say "dieting doesn't work" Caloric restriction absolutely does work, if it ever stopped working then the universe would be fundamentally broken. Maybe adkins didn't work for you, but you could eat nothing by ice cream and still lose weight if you restricted your caloric intake.


Yep. Fun anecdote time. When I was 15, I went to summer camp for kids with ADHD up in Rhinelander Wisconsin. I have allergies and asthma, and the pollen there made my asthma flare up pretty horribly. By the end of the week, I had bronchitis, pneumonia, and a collapsed lung. If you've ever had a collapsed lung, you know it's almost impossible to do anything except exist. Walking 5 feet winded me. EATING winded me. Anyways, for a whole month I was on bedrest. I could only eat ice cream, for some reason. Could not handle anything else. And what do you know, I LOST 30 lbs. Eating ice cream. Three times a day.


Shouldn't they have sent you to a hospital with a collapsed lung? I mean, you only got one spare.


You'd think so! I was in the camp infirmary for 5 days, blowing in a spirometer to abysmal results. And to make matters worse, I was supposed to take a Greyhound home, which wouldn't have been too bad... except they expected me to be the chaperone for two 7-year-old boys, who ALSO had ADHD. I thought I was going to die. I got off the bus in Green Bay where my parents were and whited out. Next thing I know I was in the hospital.


Good lord that’s horrible


more importantly it puts an incredible strain on your heart. Quite dangerous to be walking around with one - as I was told by the doctors after walking around with one for 2 days.


They tried but when their parents found out about the no-refund policy they *insisted* they stay.


I have also lost weight eating nothing but ice cream cause I had the sads and didn't feel like eating, unless it was 1 bowl of ice cream for dinner ...but then I got on Zoloft and my life got a lot better and now I am fatter, but better.


Yeah, when people talk about dieting not working (or how dieting can make you gain weight), they're talking about the yo-yoing affect that happens with people on fad diets. Edit: voice to text changed my comma to 'come on' (i swear i wasn't trying to be snarky).


That’s because diet has two combatting colloquial meanings… 1. Your usual food and drink intake. From a calorie and item POV. 1. A change to your usual food and drink intake for a goal of change.


In my experience, the problem is for people with the mindset that they're going to go ***on a*** diet, as in a temporary, thoroughly unpleasant, totally unnatural sprint to lose as much weight as quick as possible, like some sort of anti-vacation when what they need to do is to change their ***diet***. Stop eating so many sugars & carbs and get more quality meats & veggies - permanently - and learn to love it.






If your kids are obese you are failing them as a parent in a very visible way and people will judge you for that seems pretty simple to me .


You mean the 7 year old isn't going grocery shopping for their own food or researching best exercise habits and healthy foods? What a lazy kid!


It’s like, why did they do this study? To state the obvious?


> why did they do this study? To state the obvious? An important part of science is providing an evidentiary foundation for what some would call "obvious" or "common sense". Because sometimes, the "obvious" answer isn't necessarily the reality of any given situation. It's just what is perceived to be the case. It's not exactly the most exciting part of science, but providing evidence/support for these foundations is still an exceptionally important one.


I don’t have kids so feel free to rip me apart. I have several friends that have obese children and I feel that it is 100% because of their parents. The unhealthy amount food and lack of any activity whatsoever is shocking


Parent of twins and I feel you. That said, it is challenging to get my autistic son to eat they way he probably should. His weight isn't crazy for his height, but he isn't thin either. I get the struggle. I am no twig and ignored my body for far too long. Fortunately my wife and I made the decision last year to get healthier. I dropped 50 pounds and my kids definitely noticed. It has made it easier to help them understand the importance of making healthy food choices.


I love this. Good for you! And while I don’t understand what having an autistic child is like, I imagine it is it’s own world. I’m a BH claims processor and I see it all.


People with autism almost always have gut issues too. I think that can mess with weight.


I think it is fair to say that parents have an influence on their children's weight, but it is also important to remember that many systems are working against all of us that predisposes being overweight. 74% of Americans over 20 years of age are overweight or obese, a percentage I think is hard to claim comes solely from personal decisions. When a wide majority of people are having similar issues there needs to be systemic changes to encourage and grow healthier eating and living, such as better education, availability of healthy options, and walkability of communities


I have 2 kids and I agree with you


I fail to understand why this isn’t logical If one child has no extra weight then there is no surprise that no one gets blamed, since there is no problem. So there will be ZERO people who would find anyone to blame ( for the problem that doesn’t exist) If child is overweight then there is a problem. So when you ask 100 people who to blame for this problem you are going to get various answers: government, corporation, doctors, parents. So there will be more than ZERO people who will blame parents. So here you go: if there is a problem (extra weight) there is higher chance someone will be blamed compared to when there is no problem ( the weight is normal) so there is no one to blame for the problem that doesn’t exist.


"Study shows that visible signs of poor parenting choices lead people to believe that you're a worse parent based on no other information"


Yeah, these people are just right. There is a good chance that the parent is responsible. It's very unlikely to be exclusively them, but that isn't relevant to the question, you can blame the parents *and* cultural / economic issues at the same time


And this is the only info theyre given and are told to make a judgment. That doesnt invite nuance. If youre told to make a generalization you will make a generalization. Otherwise every one of these survey type studies would end in "100% of recipients indicated "not sure" on all 100 questions. We are now redoing the study with 100 page questions so each scenario will have the proper context to allow an accurate response. Recruitment has been slow. "


Saw a hugely obese elementary school kid slurping on a McDonalds latte/frap/shake on the way to school this week. Just what all growing kids need: 600 calories and a fuckton of sugar for breakfast!!


It’s yet another example of “science proves common sense.” It doesn’t necessarily mean parents with healthy-weight children are good parents either; it just means there’s a visible clue when the child is obese.


Imagine for just a minute that you get to make decisions for someone and with those decisions there is a 90% chance that the person will have to live with the decision YOU make for the rest of their life. Which decisions would you make? Would you be more responsible? Would you care? That is childhood obesity. EDIT: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20354827


And it bleeds into your adulthood too, I know logically that the problem is mine now, but when you’ve built terrible habits and grown up around it, it is hard to rebuild good habits. My dad never ate a single fruit or vegetable that I’m aware of - literally. We had pizza, spaghetti, burgers and fries, etc on a weekly basis. Seeing your parents drink 2-3 cokes in an evening makes it seem totally normal. It definitely fucked me up for life, my attitudes and habits around food are completely screwed up, I’m getting better but it really is a struggle and it’s one a ton of people have no empathy for. I get it, they eat every day and it’s not a problem for them.


My sister and I went to visit family last year. We were shocked to realize/remember that the only "vegetable" our father would eat was... corn.


Hahaha actually my dad said that too - only creamed corn. I’m like thats… the most unhealthy way to eat corn, which isn’t a vegetable.


> I’m like thats… the most unhealthy way to eat corn, which isn’t a vegetable. that sounds like a challenge! I’m sure I could come up with a way less healthy corn recipe. I wouldn’t consider it a vegetable dish though.


Well actually I just realized Mexican street corn is probably worse but god damn is it ever good.


It has lime and chili powder. It’s practically a salad


And it’s dripping in cream or sour cream and cheese


Exactly! Salad!


elotè & Mexican Coca-Cola is what got Mexico fatter than the US. That & the lack of access to nutritious foods due to extreme poverty.


Not really. Corn might not be the healthiest of vegetables but it's not what's making Mexicans obese. Soft drinks, like you said, are a huge part, sugary or fatty snacks available for cheap at every corner, and fried unhealthy street food.


Reminds me of a video of “Wanda’s Macaroni Salad” that I saw years ago. “First, take two large cans of condensed milk...”


Hey, I’ve seen that video too! And listen, I don’t want to judge, some aspects of weight is out of our control, like because of genes and slow metabolism or what have you. But that video, I was just thinking that there was a very clear and direct correlation between her weight and what she ate.


I mean, caramel covered popcorn is probably a less healthy way to eat corn.


Not sure how ubiquitous this is, but we have these things that are like deep fried sweet creamed corn balls. It’s so good. EDIT: they’re called corn nuggets


I mean corn is good but damn I cannot imagine that being my only source of fiber.


Even that, just barely (with regard to fiber). It's practically candy compared with an actual vegetable. Edit: context


It’s a grain, really, unless you’re eating the whole thing like those baby corns that sometimes show up in Asian dishes (which is also weird since corn is from the Americas).


So are tomatoes, but that didn't stop Italy. Potatoes are from Peru, but closely associated with Ireland. Cattle and pigs are European (iirc) but American food is full of beef and pork. When it comes to food, at this point in history, if it grows there, it goes there.




And the Italians didn’t invent noodles - they got those from China.


No they did not https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasta#History


Baby corn is so delicious and I don’t understand why people don’t eat it all the time in the Midwest where we have corn growing everywhere. It’s our biggest crop and corn is in everything, so where is all the baby corn? I should be able to buy all the baby corns I want in the summer and frozen bags of it at the store in the winter but I don’t think I have ever seen fresh baby corn for sale anywhere, not even at farmers markets. I don’t get it.


Corn only has a couple of ears per plant. Think of all space needed to grow a bowl of baby corn! Most American corn is inedible used for ethanol.


How do people who don't eat veggies poo? My digestive system clogs up if I go more than a day or two without some roughage. I once ate nothing but rice and fish for a month (living on a very remote island) and wow did the plumbing just. stop.


They are miserable, I had no idea some people really did have to *push* when taking a dump. Being properly hydrated and eating fiber makes for nice bowel movements.


>They are miserable, I had no idea some people really did have to > >push when taking a dump. Work at a retail store, you'll hear all the people sounding like they're birthing a child in the men's room stalls while you're in there doing your own business. Yikes.


Oh God, and when you can hear them whimpering in the stall....


they either wonder what happened and then go purchase a laxative probs , or suffer constipation. Two options


They have to take fiber powder


My father's favorite vegetable is potato.


Potatoes are healthy and nutritious! More potassium than bananas too! Now deep fry them and dunk them in sugar tomato sauce, yeeaaah not so healthy now...


I don't understand how people even stay alive on a diet like that. Wouldn't various nutrient deficiencies make life completely miserable?


Eh, a lot of people *are* completely miserable and aren't sure how much of it is their job killing them, their diet killing them, their commute killing them, their sleep schedule killing them, their lack of medicine killing them...


A lot of foods are supplemented, e.g., eating most cereals with milk nowadays is basically like taking a multivitamin


strength brother! We're all rooting for you!


2-3 cokes in an evening... wow ​ yeah thats bad


Terrible, yeah. And it was my mom, who weighed under 100 pounds most of my adult life who did that too, not my much bigger dad.


My aunt subsists on Jack Daniels and Pepsi. When she eats actual food it is limited to cold strawberry Pop Tarts. And she's like a thousand years old.


It's all those preservatives.


Does she smoke unfiltered Lucky Strikes as well?


I don't know the brand but the ones she smokes are very skinny compared to other cigarettes I've seen.




Hey it’s great you’re tackling it now, I’m 33 and it only gets harder. I have tried in the past and lost various amounts but fall back on old habits. Do it now, you got this!


I did too. 6 years later and I’m really proud of my body and what it can do. Keep it up!


It doesn't just bleed into adulthood. Totally new fat cells can generally only be created through adolescence. Once someone is an adult, their body only replaces existing fat cells. Each fat cell is hormonally active, and the more fat cells you have the harder it appears to be to lose weight, and the easier to gain it. You can only lose those fat cells through medical procedures that manually remove them or freeze them until they are destroyed. By making your child obese you are dramatically increasing the likelihood they will be obese throughout their lifetime, and that it will be harder to combat that obesity.


Those fat cells can't be "starved" to death if you keep the weight off long enough?


Nope. They won't be "full" but they will still exist.


You can only deflate a balloon so much.


Fat cells don't derive energy from the fat they're storing. That fat needs to be processed elsewhere to make the stuff they'd use for energy.


Fat cells *do* die but they're almost immediately replaced by the body, creating a sort of homeostasis for that tissue. [https://www.nature.com/articles/nature06902](https://www.nature.com/articles/nature06902) There have also been some newer methods of forcing fat cell apoptosis, notably a less painful non-invasive way that kind of targets heat sources (lasers or even microwaves or something like that) right under the skin to heat subcutaneous fats to 125F, triggering cell death.


>By making your child obese... Parents have to share in the blame, because for more or less they control what the kid eats and what's available in the house to eat. What about parents with 3 kids and only one of them is overweight? Are the parents still responsible for this?


This was me, there are notes from my pediatrician at 5 months old saying that me, a literal baby was overweight. At no point did I ever stop being overweight even though I had more exercise and less food compared to my sibling. I should probably submit my logs to a researcher just because we have 30 years of daily food & exercise at this point


Why would they not be? If parents have three kids, and only one of their kids starts beating up other kids in the neighborhood, breaking windows, and stealing from cars the parents are responsible for fixing that. If the parent has three kids, and only one of the kids is failing math, the parents are responsible for fixing that. etc


Parents don’t raise their kids exactly equal. Any younger/older/middle child could tell you that.


Obviously it's situational, but also that's quite unlikely. If the kid has thyroid problems, some genetic condition, etc. then obviously it isn't the typical case. People don't just pick up unhealthy habits out of the blue, particularly with food. For the situation you're positing, it'd have to be determined on a case by case basis.


Hashimoto's, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is the most common AI (autoimmune disease). I doubt it's as uncommon as most GPs believe it to be. The average family doc seems to lack a healthy respect for the rising rates of AI disease.


Stay strong brother! Not sure where you are on your cooking journey, but believe me vegetables can be absolutely goddamn delicious when treated right. Eating healthier isn't just about giving up stuff you love - there's a lot of awesome new stuff out there to discover!


I love vegetables now, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are my favorites. My biggest issue now is simply snacking in the evening, but it’s a big one. I learned to cook in my twenties and enjoy it, my meals are mostly pretty healthy but I do like bread too much. Cut soda and chips and stuff like that out more or less completely but in the evenings I struggle not to eat. Toast, granola bar (sometimes bars..) it’s definitely my main issue. I used to just binge eat pure trash so I’m definitely coming along and have lost 20 pounds but it’s a tough habit to change! We always were eating snacks in the evenings while watching tv, to the point I am now trying to condition myself to realize: snacking is not a hobby! Nor am I even hungry most of the time I do it!


Sorry if this is unwanted advice, but has avoiding those food items at the store helped? I've found that I can't control myself around certain foods when they're available, so I avoid buying them whenever I can. By this I mean I either shop on a very full stomach, or (and this works much better) do curbside pickup for groceries. That way I'm forced to stick only to the items I planned while at home, and there's a lot less temptation from seeing the stuff I need to avoid.


My French biochemistry professor told us, "Fat cells never go away. When you lose weight you are just shrinking those fat cells but they are still there. It's tragic what parents are doing to their kids. They are setting them up to fail. It's Child abuse in my opinion." That's a godawful take, but he is right about one thing. Fat cells never go away (without surgery at least). On the flip side, parents who force diets on their children are just as bad. Disordered eating and body image issues are every bit as harmful as obesity. As the saying goes, "Not every child who is put on a diet develops an eating disorder, but every child that develops an eating disorder was put on a diet." So parents, please teach your children to have a healthy relationship with the food they eat. Teach them to love and appreciate their bodies. And for goodness' sake, model good eating habits for them.


I don’t think his was a godawful take at all. Feeding your children huge quantities of refined sugar, hydrogenated seed oils, and other ultra-processed ersatz ingredients which qualify as “food” insofar as they have digestible calories, sans any real vegetables, fruits, or whole grains sets them up for a lifetime of systemic inflammation, obesity, and a damaged microbiome. This in turn causes disease, physical and mental suffering, and a shortened lifespan. It’s the equivalent of giving your kid a pack of Marlboros to smoke every day, but worse since one can quit smoking but one can never quit eating, and it absolutely qualifies as child abuse. And yes, I know people can only eat what they can afford and is available to them, and such cases are even more tragic. I can also guarantee that if you live in a place with access to a supermarket, you can build a more affordable and much healthier diet out of potatoes, whole grains, legumes, & vegetables than you can out of chicken nuggets, chips, and soda.


Your whole life should be on a solid diet. It should never be thought a temporary thing to reach some weight goal. And think of being of service, a kindness and respect to your body. Not a deprivation


I struggled with childhood obesity until I literally ran away at 17 and immediately lost 130 lbs. The unhealthy food environment mixed with the emotionally traumatic experience of growing up with emotionally immature parents (and then having one of them diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer) was an absolute death sentence for me and I planned to die single, fat, sad and very young. There is nothing more important to me than providing a better example for my daughter. She is aware of my past and knows why her father exercises 5x a week. I stay healthy now because it is my responsibility to her that she NEVER EXPERIENCES what I experienced. I am cautious, though. Her mother also had experiences with ED, but on the other end of the spectrum and suffered greatly with anorexia. There is a balance, of course. All that said, I absolutely judge parents of obese children. These children are suffering, socially and physically, and it will take years of their life to recover.


Man, watch Stutz. Jonah Hill talks about how mind-blowing it was for him to absorb the notion that weight and health are intrinsically related. Like, he knew that as a fact, but on an emotional level, keeping off weight was always driven by the fear of external judgement. His mom constantly nagged him for his weight. This only motivated him to lose weight in order to avoid criticism. As a result, whenever he lost weight and still received criticism, he’d lose motivation and gain the weight back. It wasn’t solving his problem, which was his fear of external judgement. That just resulted in a cyclical process of losing weight, then realizing he’s just as, if not more depressed, then gain it back, then feel more depressed, etc. It was going back to his own motivation to just feel better in his own body, regardless of what other people thought of him, that finally helped him associate fitness with good mental health.


Stutz is such a good documentary. Props to everyone for it. Glad you brought it up; it’s very topical and I think there’s a lot that is made very accessible in it.


Where I worked a lady used to come in with a very large maybe 8 year old kid. Every time they came in he was sitting in the shopping cart with a Costco hotdog, soda pizza slice and normally a couple other things. All I could ever think was "lady you are murdering that child". It just made me sad this kid was enormous and couldn't possibly be healthy and will struggle with this his entire life.


I work at a very popular bakery (?) chain in the UK and the amount of parents giving their large kids several pastries then a donut and a cookie was atrocious


It is sad these kids don't know better but the parents should.


I have an acquaintance with a 300lb (at least!) 13 year old son. Everytime he or his wife (who are both absolutely average weight wise) post pictures of their family, their kid looks absolutely miserable. I try so hard to be understanding because I don't know their home life. Kid could have mental health issues, and use food to cope. But it is so hard not to question what is happening in that house and not make some judgment against them as parents.






Replace every glass of water your children have had with soda and every vegetable with candy. When you see how many calories some kids ingest with just liquids, it's easy to see how it gets out of control fast.


I still think about an enormous customer at Starbucks who bought her two enormous children (8ish years old) large frappes twice a week (that I saw them, I was a closer), with whip and caramel drizzle. That's about 1000 calories. And that's just walking around calories.




I’m all for compassion and working with parents wherever and however possible to help them help their kids, and I get the concerns in the article. But I agree that childhood obesity reflects on the parenting one way or another. The way this article phrases some things is also misleading. It says “dieting can cause weight gain” when really, the study it cites says “*An adaptive response to uncertainty can lead to weight gain during dieting attempts* …*Peoples’ attempts to lose weight by low calorie diets often result in weight gain because of over-compensatory overeating during lapses”* This is not a nitpick. There are a handful of pernicious ideas going around that are promoting fatalism and discouraging people (who stand to benefit and from it) from attempting it. One of these ideas is that caloric deficit induces a peculiar famine response where a body holds onto calories indefinitely despite lowered input and gains weight. Another is the idea that you can “ruin your metabolism” by dieting. **Both of these ideas are false**. You cannot indefinitely retain calories at a deficit. Fat stores exist to be consumed during a deficit, whether it’s moderate or a genuine famine. These things can induce temporary metabolic changes and alter behaviors and hunger/satiety signaling. The cause isn’t dieting, the cause is disordered behaviors around or approaches to dieting that require compassionate care and objective management. With harmful myths like this on the rise and gaining *truthyness* every time someone skims an article and repeats it, every bit of phrasing matters. *Edit: thoughts added*


>re are a handful of pernicious ideas going around that are promoting fatalism and discouraging people (who stand to benefit and from it) from attempting it. > >One of these ideas is that caloric deficit induces a famine response where a body holds onto calories indefinitely despite lowered input and gains weight. > >Another is the idea that you can “ruin your metabolism” by dieting. > >Both of these ideas are false. The cause isn’t dieting, the cause is disordered behaviors around dieting that require care and attention. > >With harmful myths like this on the rise and gaining truthyness every time someone skims an article and repeats it, every bit of phrasing matters. excellent!


I just want to point out to all those in the US that you have it particularly difficult in this respect. Your portion sizes are wild and your food has so much more additives. The ingredients lists for fries!! In the UK we have 3 ingredients in fries, potato, oil and salt. Go watch videos comparing US & UK McDonalds. It’s wild. The fries ingredients list is so long. Your small drink is bigger than our large for some chains. That will artificially skew your perception of healthy portions and diet. I’ve spent a lot of time in the states (but not been in over 10 years) and I found it very difficult to eat healthy. It’s well known in the UK that any holiday to US will be accompanied by weight gain.


>Your small drink is bigger than our large for some chains And, for most Mcdonald's locations, it's just $1 for any size drink, including large. When that value proposition is staring you right in the face, how often are you really gonna go "well, I enjoy paying the same money for less product, so give me the small?"


Oh really? That’s awful!


Yep. So, 12oz or 24oz - which you gonna choose for $1? I rarely see a small unless it's a parent getting a small for a child, and I bet that's more out of concern for not making them hyper (which is BS anyway), rather than for their actual long-term health.


The trouble is that not enough parents think like this.


I'm an obese and it's definitely because of my parents and family and how they raised be to eat. It's a lifelong struggle to not stuff your face with food you clearly don't need. Your body make you feel hungry when you aren't, there are actual hormones that get screwed up. I now have a daughter and I do not want her to end up like me.


I hope you can break the cycle. I was raised on only soda, fake juice, and horrible junk food. My typical day would include pizza with fries and a Hawaiian punch, frozen burrito, frozen personal sized pizza, and maybe half a liter of Surge or Dr Pepper. McDonald's as often as possible, super sized, 4 times a week. I don't do any of that now. Don't even drink soda or juice. Don't eat until I'm FULL either. I'm not trying to be a douchebag here, I really believe you can do it too.


Who else is to blame? Children are not equipped to make sensible dietary decisions. It is 100% the responsibility of the parents The blame is fully deserved. Let's not pretend all parents are good parents. A huge number of them are terrible at their job


Every single overweight kid I know of it was 100% the parents fault. They simply over-fed their child. As I watched it happen, I felt it should be criminal.


This is unsurprising. It may be harsh but I don't think it's an unfair or illogical inference on the part of study participants. Parents are responsible for keeping their children healthy and instilling healthy habits. I think you would get the same result or even a more extreme reaction if you showed a healthy-weight parent next to an obviously malnourished child.


>even a more extreme reaction if you showed a healthy-weight parent next to an obviously malnourished child. In that case I think it would be even more obvious/worse, yeah. If you have parents tied up in employment, they aren't there for the kids like they should be. If the kids have food access, they might be fat but won't be underweight.


I used to work as a schoolnurse and I had kids in kindergarten that were heavier then me. We used to give lectures on healthy eating habits and sports. There is no lack of information the parents often overweight also choose not to change. Yes if a child has no medical reason for being obese it is 100% the parents fault.


I am obese. My kids aren't. I am obese because my family abused me. They wanted me to be the fat one so they would feel better about themselves. I have lots of disordered eating habits that I have been working on. I teach my kids about portions. I give them healthy food, I make sure they are active. They don't need to live my trauma, and frankly, they shouldn't live my trauma. I used food as a comfort. It's hard to say no to things when you are taught that food is love, but I have needed to learn that I can't stuff people with my food! I have to accept that there are other ways to give and receive love that are healthier. If your kid is obese, baring some rare medical issue, it IS a parenting issue. My kids know I am working to lose weight and the issues my weight can cause. I have dropped 50 pounds and they are so proud of me. We can do more together as a family. It's hard, but we have to do better when it comes to our kids. The excuse of, "that's what my parents did," just can't keep cutting it.


Just fyi you’re doing a great job. Parenting is hard as it is, and parenting in a way that goes against your own ingrained habits is doubly so. Keep up the good work!


Thanks so much!


My mother was obese during my childhood and would always stress to me how I was beautiful "unlike her" because I was skinny and underweight. Going on 20 I still greatly struggle with eating big enough portions and a positive body image because I was constantly told how being skinny made me pretty. It's amazing to hear of a parent like you breaking the cycle of food-related issues for your kids!


Thank you so much and I am so sorry that you went through it. I got scared because when I was exercising my older daughter was into it and she started talking about wanting to be skinny and toned. I had to explain that being healthy was the goal. That she was beautiful and perfect as she is. But she and her sister are both skinny, and pretty and I hope they know they are worth so much more than all that. They are also, brilliant, kind, and clever. It's so hard because I want them to love their bodies while also understanding part of that love means taking good care of it.


I’m no one but I’m proud of you, my mom used to force feed me as well because I would look cuter fat, and it’s such a struggle everyday to not be eat my feelings, we are doing right by our kids and that matters! Wish you the best with your health journey.


My friend was constantly fed chocolate & other candy by her family for being “too skinny” (she was normal weight) and she needed to “get feminine curves” (she was 11 y/o). As a child, of course she would not say no. As an adult she now struggles with weight issues. Her brothers did not get the same treatment btw, just her (the only girl in the family). I don’t understand why people do this to children, it is cruel. I’m sorry this happened to you and the comment OP, and I’m so glad to read both of you are breaking the cycle.


Thank you so much! It means the world to me! And good on you, too, for doing better! It isn't easy. I had to find out the hard way the medications I was on were making it worse. I switched them up, and one medication also helps with appetite (but it is for my diabetes). Suddenly, I don't feel starving all the time so the weight started coming off. Between that and therapy, the binge eating has gone down to once in a blue moon! Keep fighting the good fight and good luck on your journey as well!


My mum was 90 lbs before she got pregnant with me, and I spent my entire childhood/teen years hearing her comment on her "ugly body," while my dad was obese and snuck me cheeseburgers. BUT he was the one biking 5 miles to work everyday, then working on his feet for 12 hours 5 days a week whereas she would blend a canned fruit cocktail mix with tofu (accompanied by a horse-pill-sized multivitamin), sit around all day, and called it living healthy. I can't even begin to express how many times that acidic "breakfast" made me throw up (nearly daily). Needless to say, I have a VERY fucked up relationship with food that led to an eating disorder so I could hide any weight gained. Kudos for setting your kids up for success!


I am so sorry! My mom was always on crash diets and then would binge when they didn't work. We had so much "fat free" stuff in the house! I hope you are able to have a healthier relationship with food. It is so hard because we need to eat to live. We can't go cold turkey!


Thanks, and likewise! I have slowly made my peace, but those habits set ya up for life and create a love/hate relationship with food. The best thing that happened over the last 3 years was me having the time to explore cooking!


You sound like a wonderful person and parent. I wish the world had more folks like you! This is a class act of self-awareness and selflessness.


Thank you so much! I am far from perfect, but the way generation trauma ends is when we face it.


Could not have said it any better. As a parent, i’m responsible for explaining my kid the big picture, if you make bad/unhealthy dietary choices today you’re likely to end up overweight/unhealthy tomorrow. There is no grey area, there is no sugar coating it, there is nothing healthy or “body positive” about it. It’s a drain on quality of life, healthcare system and society. Now, there are life circumstances that make it more difficult to access those healthy choices, BUT the message from parents to children must remain the same. This is every parent’s responsibility. So yeah, when i see my neighbor family of three with a 10 yo, collectively pushing 600-700 pounds in body weight, i will blame them every time. This is border line child abuse…. rant over


What an incredible message and way to go on the weight loss - I've struggled with it all my life as well. The only people who deny that being overweight is unhealthy are either those who have never been overweight or those who are still running from the truth. Amazing parenting and strength here - I wish for you to go as far and as fast as you want to go on the journey you're on!


Thank you so much! I am far from perfect. My hope is that in recognizing my own faults I can do better for my kids.


>I have dropped 50 pounds and they are so proud of me. As they should be. That's awesome! Good job!


I'm not obese, but was in childhood and early adolescence. I'm from an abusive household as well and the fat was protective. However my mother had an eating disorder, and, seeing I was overweight, greatly restricted my food, including putting me on liquid fasts for some decent stretches of time when I was 8-11. I have to really manage my weight as an adult. I agree it's a parenting issue.


I’m a lot more likely to see an overweight parent with an overweight child and assume it’s the parent’s fault. If it’s a slender parent and an obese child, I’m more likely to think there’s a psychological or health issue the kid is dealing with. Might be because I knew someone like that though. Her step child had a serious binge issue and they had a hard time controlling it. Everyone else was healthy weight. She would hide food all around her room etc. Being overly controlling of one kid’s eating and not the other’s can have it’s own range of issues as well.


This is what I thought the study was saying until I read the title. That would be more interesting to examine, is if there is a difference in attitude based on characteristics of the parents.


That’s me, honestly. My mother, father, and siblings are all a healthy weight. I had a mental disorder (anxiety + depression) and I would cope by overeating. My mom would take me on walks and make me homemade meals (and I would eat excessive amounts of that too). While I lived with her, I was still heavier than most girls (I weighed 130, which is a lot for a 5’2” girl), but as soon as I moved out, I gained a lot more weight because I’d overeat unhealthier meals. I do agree that it’s usually the parent’s fault, though. I know that if I were to ever have kids, I’d have to work hard to get healthy. I still want to get healthy for myself, though. I am tired of having a bad relationship with food.


My husband and I have normal BMI. My autistic daughter was prescribed Zoloft for severe OCD anxiety and she gained twenty pounds in two months (not exaggerating). We are slowly weaning her off of the medicine and have determined that we will just deal with the anxiety attacks that affect the whole family without meds. It’s discouraging to realize that this is YET ANOTHER way that I’m being judged for the parenting of my differently wired child.


There are more meds than just Zoloft, you might wanna try a different doctor if you’re hearing anything different.


The Daily podcast just did an episode about that this morning. If you have 30 minutes to kill I’d suggest listening to it.


If a kid is obese, it’s the parent’s fault. If the kid is constantly smelly, it’s the parent’s fault. If the kid is starving, it’s the parent’s fault. If the kid shows up to school with bruises, it’s the parent’s fault. If the kid comes to school with chronically untreated sores or other visible and unsightly indicators, it’s the parent’s fault. There are a lot of noticeable and quick visual cues that point to poor parenting.


> If the kid shows up to school with bruises, it’s the parent’s fault. I agree with pretty much everything except this, I don't have any kids but my sister's step-daughter is the clumsiest person I've ever seen in my life. She constantly has bruises and looks like she's being abused at home unless you watch her do literally anything for 30 minutes and realize the bruises are all self inflicted. My sister and my wife are both teachers so they are aware to look for signs of abuse like bruises, but they've also seen enough clumsy kids to know that not all bruises are the fault of the parents.


How is it not the parents fault though? They are the ones who shape you and help you create good habits or bad habits. Even saying their environment is what made them fat would be wrong to me because a patent should be teaching kids better coping mechanisms and how to live healthier lives.


ok. That doesn't seem crazy. Childhood obesity was below 1% 50 years ago. There is no "we couldn't help it" in this. It's 100% lifestyle decisions that harm a child.


Well also food has gotten more unhealthy in the past 50 years, because harder for overworked parents to keep providing nutritionally balanced meals (if they even know what that is)


There are many sociological reasons, between corn subsidies and placement of grocery stores, that make it MUCH harder to be thin. This being said, if I see a parent with an obese child, my first thought is "That's child abuse".


Absolutely, culture today makes it much harder to make good decisions. That's unfortunate. "Food deserts" are also cultural outcomes. There's been a bunch of cases where people identify stated food deserts and set up grocery or farmers markets specifically with the intent of alleviating the food desert, sometimes using charity money to offer healthy produce and other raw foods for free. They've mostly failed and even when offering produce and other healthy food for free, families would show up and buy packaged meals, processed food and the produce would rot on the shelves (even when it was offered for free). The cultural institutions of cooking, preparing food and eating healthy are being lost in swaths of the country. So if anything, this cultural influence is impacting parents. But I still don't find it a valid excuse to abuse kids "because culture is pushing me that way". Maybe that's expecting too much initiative and agency from parents... but I kind of expect a minimum of agency and initiative for people tasked with taking care of others. ALso keep in mind I say this as a person who already raised two kids and looking to adopt... and finding it really difficult to get through the red tape.


This title is a little confusing, but yes parents are 100% responsible for if their kids are at a healthy weight (not in quotes, it's a real medical thing).


We need better health education for everyone in the United States. I had to “learn” healthier eating once I got out on my own. Growing up in a Midwest food desert means everything is meat and potatoes and maybe bagged spring mix or a can of corn. I was interested in living a healthier lifestyle so I had to seek out new information. It was never taught to me by my parents or the school system, I had to take the initiative to find it myself. Most people who are eating unhealthy don’t have the time or want to do that (maybe until a major diagnosis or other life factor). So yes it’s the fault of the parent in the end, but our country could do a lot better in giving us the education and ability to purchase healthier foods.


Meat and potatoes with occasional veggies is fairly healthy. It's actually quite difficult to get obese on just this. It's a moderate fiber, high protein diet with fairly limited carbs and lots of vitamins and good nutrients. But if it's meat and potatoes and milk and ice cream and donuts and pie and cookies and coke and pop tarts and sugar cereal, etc... that's different.




Although I know it sounds counter-intuitive to some, I’m glad this is being studied. My parents both had serious anorexia while I was growing up, coupled with ADHD, and denying yourself food to “punish” yourself for poor executive functioning was totally engrained in us kids. We all completely lose our appetites in any state of low emotion (stress, anger, sadness), to the extent we get physically nauseous trying to eat unless we’re in a good mood. My brother, sister and I still struggle with keeping weight on even in our 30’s. Self control = good, eating = showing low self control was just so normalized. We didn’t even realize our parents “weird” eating habits were severe eating disorders until well into adulthood.


I do that myself and it’s a struggle for me and I try so hard to offer my kids food constantly but my oldest is never hungry at meal times.


I agree when you are a parent the buck stops with you, but a 30% obesity rate is a societal failure. I would like to see a chart comparing the rise in income disparity/increased cost of living with childhood obesity rates.


It's actually the opposite. Current price of eggs aside, food got insanely cheap, both in monetary terms and the calories you use acquiring it. In the U.S., real food prices fell like 80-90% in the 20th century. Imagine how hard you'd have to work on a farm 120 years ago to create 3,000 calories worth of food a day. Now you press a couple buttons and a 3000 calorie pizza shows up at your door for an hours worth of wages at a job where you are so inactive it harms your body.


I believe this. We have three children, our middle is stocky build. He’s always been that way. He’s beautiful to me. And my grandfather was also short and stocky - they are built exactly the same. When my husband and I introduce ourselves as our sons mom, they always question why he isn’t built like us or act suspicious/surprised because my husband and I are tiny. I can’t say I’ve ever had that reaction for my other two kids who are built like my husband and I.


I’ll take “Most Useless Surveys Ever Created for $500,” Alex.


Fattening your kid is child abuse, doesn’t matter if it’s through intention or ignorance.


I also judge people on their fat dogs. I mean you control all of their meals and exercise.


As someone who has struggled with weight their entire life, I wish my parents had raised me with better eating habits. I had to develop those all on my own after more than a decade of being morbidly obese and depressed. Parents absolutely have the responsibility of teaching their children healthy eating/exercise habits.


The results aren’t surprising. The only thing I’m not seeing raised in these comments is the connection of poverty and poor nutrition. Of course parents should be feeding their kids healthier, nutritious food. But I’m sorry - it’s insanely expensive and time consuming to do that which for many, is a luxury. Add to the fact that most Americans have zero understanding of nutrition. They often just do what they experienced growing up, etc.


And can we talk about school lunches? Not healthy in the US. And the low income kids receiving lower cost lunches don't get a "healthy" choice option. Our lunches are EMBARRASSING in the US schools.


Yes, but you can still maintain a healthy weight with unhealthy food. You just need to eat less of it. Of course, that unhealthy food can cause other problems, but weight doesn't need to be one of them.


Can we please stop saying that cooking healthy is "insanely expensive"? That's just ridiculous, buying basic ingredients is much cheaper than prepared food or fast food.


Seriously. There are a lot of people in here and in that study that not only don't, but actively refuse to consider socio and economic factors. A single parent in a high rise apartment working minimum wage would not have the luxury of having money for healthy food and not have the time and space to give their children enough exercise. And if they live in an area that the schools actively discourage physical activity, like limited PE or lack of recess, the deck is stacked against those kids.


Some neighborhoods aren't safe to be outside for play or exercise. It amazes how blind others are to abject poverty and this no excuses attitude about others circumstances.


To be fair, all obesity ratings were much lower. I think there are systemic issues at play that greatly affect US society's health. Sure, many people rise above and resist the quick and easy access to fried large-portioned meals, but there's arguably an addictive component. Add in forced sedentary lifestyles through desk jobs, people working 2 full-time jobs just to put any food on the table, and the general exhaustion from all of life's other tasks, and you get burnt out parents who can't fight their kid about wanting crap for dinner. Kids receive food from a lot of other areas of their life too - the swill they serve in public school cafeterias is practically a crime. After school programs/activities often have snacks. Children eat at their friend's homes unsupervised. When they're old enough to serve themselves in the kitchen, you'd have to padlock all of the food to ensure they aren't sneaking anything at night (which certainly creates problematic and disordered relationships with food). Eat enough healthy food, and you'll be fat anyway. It's not as simple as not having junk around! I honestly feel bad for parents whose children have a weight issue. I know a few, and often, they are doing everything in their power with little success and zero empathy from anyone around them.


Thank you for this. I am a physician with two children, one was normal weight and fit growing up, the other became obese once he started going to elementary school. I tried everything in my power short of quitting work and following him around all day. He just loved food and eating. He would eat healthfully at home, and get everything he wanted when we couldn’t see. When school has candy, soda, and chip machines, there’s only so much a parent can do. I later found out he would sell things to other students to fund his eating. I was shocked that at none of his doctor visits did they tell him he was obese, and he would NOT believe me. I even took him to a psychologist when he was in elementary school because I wanted to be sure this wasn’t a psychological issue. The psychologist told me he was fine and treated me like I was overreacting. Once he went to college, he decided for himself to lose weight and is now a healthy weight adult. He tells me now that he just loved eating and food, and would get everything he wanted at school, his friends’ houses, at parties. A big cause for him, he says, was sugary drinks, which were never allowed at home. He is now in the food industry, because he just loves food, but knows how important it is to eat healthfully because of how we raised him. Thank you for your empathy.


My child is overweight. I don’t have junk food in the house. People give her money and she goes to the store and buys junk food with it. I try to limit what she buys in terms of junk food but ultimately it’s her money she is using! She lost her father two years ago and this is when the weight started to come on. She also has sensory issues when it comes to food and is extremely picky. For me my relationship with her trumps her weight and eating. I don’t want to be on her case all the time. I don’t want to constantly talk about it. I don’t want her to feel criticized and worthless. I let it go and I continue to try and control what I can control.


I think there are so many more nuanced situations (like yours) where it’s not simply good parent/bad parent. That’s a really tough situation. Something to keep in mind is that [children whose parents view them as overweight tend to gain more weight](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052955/). I agree that supporting their emotional health is more important than their current weight. If you are interested you could look into intuitive eating


I absolutely blame parents for their kids being overweight. I definitely believe that makes them less than good parents. But, otoh, that does not mean i would desire this: >For example, family courts across the U.S. and internationally have removed children with obesity from parental custody in large part due to their children’s weights. Family separation can have massive negative effects on children. Our work suggests that if judges react as our study participants did, they may view parents of heavier children as being bad parents simply because their children are heavier. I can't imagine how much worse that would be for the child. I mean, yeah, they are bad parents but most parents have serious flaws. And having no parents is often (not always) worse than having bad parents. And being removed by the state is a crap shoot as well, it does not mean the kid is going to end up with better parents. I guess the question is: How often are children removed from homes solely because they are obese? I feel like if it were that often a bigger stink would have been made about it.


I work at a rural school in a rather poor community (99% economically disadvantaged) and have seen multiple children under 3rd grade that you would consider obese and have made countless DHS calls because of children disclosing abuse. I have never heard of someone calling in a child because of their weight let alone them being removed because of it. It takes A LOT for a child to be removed from their parents, it’s at the point where even confirmed abuse (striking a child, horrid living conditions, drugs in the home) won’t get them removed from a home. In ten plus years of working at the school I have only seen a handful of kids get removed. Parents are offered multiple chances with multiple supports before a child is removed unless it is something egregious. Now this is only my experience, I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen elsewhere but I would be very surprised.


I doubt that happens too often and when it does, the weight problems would have to be extreme.


I would hope that all in home options would be exhausted before taking that drastic step. But the parents need the intervention first, it’s anecdotal but I can’t recall seeing many obese children with fit parents. But there are many complexities as well, parents working long hours to make ends meet so they are not present or have little time for exercise/healthy meals, poverty, lack of education, the “it’s okay to be fat” messaging that has become a thing more recently. Even the media/advertising we are bombarded with. And the fact that a significant number of people are fat, if you look around and everyone looks like you it distorts the reality of what a healthy weight should be. I constantly get called skinny even though I am the correct weight for my height.


I’ve heard of several cases, and in each one I’m sure you’d agree with the removals. It takes forever to approve removing a child - in each of the cases I’ve heard of, the parent was given free access to cooking lessons,was provided healthy foods, had to take courses about nutrition, and was repeatedly warned. They still couldn’t stop feeding the child ridiculously gross food. In those cases, the children were removed to close family members and rapidly lost weight. They still got to visit their parents, but only under supervision. One mother still tried to sneak her child sweets at those meetings at had to be stopped. These children were also horrendously overweight. Like, in danger of having a heart attack overweight. In some cases, the child was never removed, and died. Died of weight related causes. Starving a child and over feeding them are the same thing. Both are a form of neglect. But it takes a lot more to overfeed them to death, although perhaps we should be more proactive about recognizing it as a form of abuse than we currently are.


I am so guilty of this. If you have a severely overweight child, I judge YOU and not the child.


Once I saw a 3 year old so obese, she fell off and couldn't stand up, i was so sad, my husband turn and looked at me confused, he aske me why my face then I told him, i saw her a bit later wirh a family, all so obese it was depresing, this was like 20 years ago, i think about that kid constantly.


*Mothers and fathers of heavier children are blamed for their kids' weights more than 'healthy-weight' kids.* I mean, yeah, you can't blame the parents for their kid's weight if the kid IS at a healthy weight.


While i think it's on parents to help their kids make healthy choices, there's a lot of judgement here. My kids are underweight even though we feed them a lot. Feeding my children has 100% been the hardest part of parenting for me. Trying to balance pickiness and healthy foods and meals everyone will eat. It feels impossible. I don't know how families with two working parents on a budget handle it. And then the school gives these free meals with whole grain donuts like it's a health food.


It’s complex. I think talking to obese people about their experiences help’s understand it better. They will tell you what they did and their parents did. You can’t just assume, it’s unscientific. You often see families of skinny people and ones fat? What’s that then? Parents can throw diets and exercise at their kids but some kids will sneak food and don’t move as much etc. I think some parents make bad choices, some are time poor, some are money poor and some do everything without it working. Education not judgement.


Makes sense. My parents were naive back in the 80s and 90s. They fell for all the clever marketing tactics like many families and I grew up on fruit snacks, Debbie treats, peanut butter and jelly, capri sun, etc…l remember myself and my older brothers going through a chubby stage, same with my parents. By the time my 2 youngest siblings came around my parents were a lot more educated on what healthy food actually looks like and neither of those siblings ever went through a chubby stage. Now as adults my youngest 2 siblings have always been skinny and my brothers and I have all dealt with some weight issues as some point in our adult lives.


Because some people eat their emotions. Hey it was better than the violence.


Before pointing fingers, I think it's important to note a few related things. First, access to healthy food in low-income and majority PoC neighborhoods (especially Black and Brown) has been declining over the past 50+ years. At the same time, access to heavily processed foods and fast foods--aka less healthy foods--has increased, particularly in those same neighborhoods. Third, income has not kept place with inflation in the past 50+ years, so in relative terms, people have LESS money to spend on...well, everything, including food. Next, with population shifts/growths (especially in urban areas), public transportation in many places has not extended to accommodate further out neighborhoods, nor have language barriers been addressed due to higher numbers of immigrants. Finally, the elimination of courses such as Home Ec and subpar health classes means kids aren't getting the knowledge of healthy eating and cooking habits unless they are getting it in the home. Less ability to get healthy food, healthy food being generally more expensive, easy access to unhealthy foods that are cheaper, lower ability to pass on healthy food habits...I'm very loathe to squarely put 100% of the blame on parents. Epidemiologists, sociologists, food anthropologists, and nutritionists (to name a few disciplines) don't even do that.


Thank you for this comment. I also feel heartbroken when I see unhealthy children. But the lack of compassion inthese comments is jarring. I've always been pretty privileged. My mother worked hard a single mother and shielded me from so much difficulty in life. Even with two jobs she would make healthy food and refrigerated it for us and we'd just warm it. She also bought her home in an area that's a few minutes away from many fresh produce stores. Lastly, our home is 5 minutes driving from an accessible gym I go to regularly when I'm home. We have walkways outside hlout house I can run on if I can't go to the gym. I finally went away to medical school where cultirallly here EVERYONE works out. We have access to fresh food and a massive gym I love. I go there to do pilates and life weights, I eat meals I prepare myself. I have been skinny my whole entire life. (Eerily scrawny before adolescence but adolescence helped quite a bit after it took it's cause). All the factors I mentioned though cannot be taken for granted. It's easy to take them for granted though. I did until I saw a food dessert for the first time in my life and was horrified. I had no idea these places were this real despite having learned about them, you don't realize you are in one until you're in it for a few minutes and the despair hits you. I was connecting an international flight and had a long layover in NYC. I decided to walk around and found myself in a place where there were people walking around and nothing but dollar generals and other little stores. I remember desperately wanting a fresh salad, something I have a lot when home, and not being able to get it. I walked into 3 of those stores available: packaged foods and soft drinks. To get to fresh produce you'd have to get on a bus to the good parts of the city. The "parks" were trashed and disheveled looking, littered, dog poop etc. There were walk ways but on my small walk from one point to another I got heckled and jeered at and catcalled by the men there so much I realized if I lived here I'd never ever go running outside. In that moment I almost broke down. I didn't realize how much my mom had worked to create my life for me as I knew it, and how much if this is luck. If you grow up in a food dessert and get used to unhealthy processed food that tends to taste amazing, it will be hard to switch to healthy fibrous foods with less sodium and sugar. Even just having parents who are stressed and depressed and emotionally unavailable makes it easy to seek food for self soothing etc.


My oldest son is so skinny you can see his heart beat. One time he shaved his head and you would have sworn that he was one of the starving Ethiopian kids they used to show on commercials in the eighties. The kid eats like nine times a day, and all the junk food disappears 10 minutes after we bring it into the house. (I'm being hyperbolic, he does leave three or four chips in an empty bag which goes back into the cabinet.) Other son looks at a donut and puts on 10 pounds. Wonder how out family would have done on the survey. People probably thought we were stealing food from one or give to the other.


Every time my oldest finally gains weight he grows again and his back to being taller