sexual preference that you don't agree with, or a child that is overweight, bullying is becoming a way to harass and harm kids. School violence is being used as kids are being hurt.
Promoting health, wellness and good eating habits is sometimes difficult for busy parents. According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, 30% of us who are overweight or obese think that we are just fine, thanks, and 70% of us who are obese think that we are merely overweight. Our self-esteem, in other words, hasn't skipped a beat. Some have even surmised that "fat is the new norm," our perceptions gradually adapting to the sight of our heavier friends, neighbors, and acquaintances around us.
Weight discrimination has increased a whopping 66% over the past decade, and is "comparable to rates of racial discrimination, especially among women." Weight bias affects the workplace, media, healthcare, schools, and yes, family life. A recent study reveals that parents discriminate againsttheir own overweight kids by being less willing to help pay for college or buy them a car.
Sadly, weight bias is no joke, but like any form of bullying, a potentially deadly affair. Overweight kids and teens are often physically bullied, taunted, and excluded by peers, family members, teachers, and other authority figures. Not only does criticism and public pressure about one's weight tend to increase eating disorders, comfort-eating, reduced physical activity, and weight gain, but it contributes to depression, damaged self-esteem, poor body image, and even suicidality.
So what can parents do? Get educated. Watch three fantastic videos on weight bias and kids from Yale University's Rudd Center and share them with your family, your PTO or PTA, your school principal, your friends. Read posts on Fitsmi from a teen who was bullied for her weight; a girl who suffered drive-by insults; a teen teased by her brother and his friend; a Mom reflecting on the importance of praising a daughter's beauty, at any size. Increase sensitivity to weight bias in your home, raise awareness at your local schools, and make sure that in a tough world, your child at least has one person he or she can turn to: you.
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Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.