So this is a bit of an impromptu post. When I’m at work I like to spend my lunch hour scanning the news to see what’s going on in the world and I came across this article by The Sun: Primary school pupils ‘to be regularly weighed in class’ over fears Covid pandemic has sparked child obesity crisis — the headline alone was enough to piss me off.
The concept behind this is that “experts believe that homeschooling, less exercise and increased snacking caused by lockdowns has caused weight gain in kids.”
As a child who grew up with a weight problem, who grew up being called “fatty” and lives with memories that scar my childhood because of cruel children I don’t think this is the answer in tackling childhood obesity. What I think it is, is the stimuli in creating a generation of children with eating disorders.
Now, I understand that to gather this type of health data for children across the UK, weighing them at school makes the most sense. However, if that data becomes public knowledge that’s when it becomes a problem.
Children do not need further ammunition to be cruel to each other such as knowing each other’s weight, ultimately creating an environment where they can actively compare their body weight to the child standing next to them. It’s one thing when you can recognise it, it’s another when you can put a number on it.
So, I ask what’s the plan here?
Let’s assume they DO keep the child’s weight confidential, this would mean weighing the child and not letting them see their own weight as a primary school child is less likely to keep it a secret in order to prevent bullying. However, does the school then inform their parents? If they do, it’s the parents prerogative to tell the child or not, and then the same problem arises.
Let’s say they DON’T keep the weight confidential. Well you run the risks of children comparing their weights in the playground or in classes and ultimately create an environment that could impact the mental well-being of students.
Now, let’s assume letters get sent how to parents? How will they react being told their child is unhealthy?
Let’s think about the families that can barely afford to keep their heads above the ground. The families that rely on budget friendly meals, breakfast clubs and free schools dinners. What about these families?
While I believe the government is continuously setting themselves impossible tasks when they want to tackle the nations “obesity crisis” and forever come up with ridiculous ideas and incentives to inspire the country, this has to be one of the worst by far.
While I understand the logic behind it, I can’t stop thinking about all the times I was called “fatty” in the playground — you never forget the first time someone calls you fatty. So, the idea that children could go through their lives with a number hung above their heads like some kind of status symbol at such a young ages genuinely makes me feel sick. This is not behaviour we should be teaching at such a young age — if I had my way it would be a behaviour we wouldn’t teach at all.
I really hope that if this initiative moves forward they heavily consider a child’s mental health, because I don’t see this ending well for the children who will be impacted for this decision. To all the parents out their reading this, I’m not sure if you can opt out of this, but I really hope that you would choose to if you could. Otherwise, please remind your child everyday they are beautiful, amazing and that a number does not define them.