Seriously, that’s the take-home message from this article on the Herald about how terrible it is that children are fat. You don’t need to click through to find the balanced, definitive science on this, because what more could you possibly need to know than the identity of the first person quoted:
The director of SureSlim New Zealand, Phil Pullin
A scientist and a gentleman if ever there were one.
A major issue I have when I get into arguments about THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC with otherwise critical, analytical people is this: how do you not see the ridiculous, head-desking contradictions which abound in all “reporting” on this “problem”?
The article starts off talking about putting children as young as 6 on commercial diet programmes – and even Weight Watchers thinks that’s a silly idea, for context. But then of course there’s the handwringing:
[Phil Pullin, man who runs a programme which puts 6-year-olds on diets] said weight problems among children was an increasing trend.
… [Spokeswoman for Fight the Obesity Epidemic, Dr Robyn Toomath, said “It’s much more that we don’t appreciate the extent of obesity.”
Yet a mere 9 newspaper paragraphs later:
Good Talks speaker on body image Rachel Hansen said children were bombarded with unattainable messages from the media, peers and even their parents that girls should be thin and beautiful and boys strong and muscular to be accepted by society.
“I’ve seen children as young as 3 and 4 saying, ‘I’m too fat, I can’t eat that’.”
Ah, yes, three-year-olds rejecting delicious food. A clear sign that “we” don’t “appreciate” how terrible a lifetime of fatness is.
And yet so many otherwise-analytical people will immediately jump up to say “oh yes that’s a problem, that’s terrible reporting, that’s a contradiction, but obesity is still a problem.”
It’s like someone’s adapted the script of a terrible sexist two-dimensional sitcom mother: “Oh sure you like living alone and you love your apartment and your last relationship ended horribly and you’re trying to get comfortable with your own identity, but don’t you think it’s time you found a man?”