THE JUDGEMENT JUNK-O-METER
It never surprises me how quick we are to judge parents who we think are doing the wrong thing with their kids.
This week radio host Chrissie Swan had her parenting skills called into question as the anti-fat ninjas launched into action to express their disgust with the weight of Chrissie’s gorgeous three-year-old and nine-month-old boys.
Apparently you can’t just look at a beautiful picture of a mum and her kids these days, without going into some kind of moral tailspin if you think that family is overweight.
Once again, we learned that EVERYONE is an expert on obesity.
Comments following Chrissie and her children’s appearance in The Australian Women’s Weekly have ranged from those who accuse her of ensuring that her children develop diabetes by the time they are teenagers, to those who say the message Chrissie is sending will impact on the health of all Australians. Could Chrissie be any more unpatriotic by giving a message about body positivity that disagreed with government anti-obesity campaigns?
Some took it a step further, arguing that Chrissie should serve as a cautionary tale about the perils of feeding your children the wrong foods.
Neighbours actress Ashleigh Brewer got in on the act by tweeting that she was “furious” with Chrissie’s parenting.
Bizarrely, even those blogs that came out in support of Chrissie did so by claiming ‘no parent is perfect’.
But on my reading, Chrissie was doing everything right! Her kids were eating healthy foods and getting lots of activity. They were just bigger than average.
I will say it again. SHE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG!
Instead of judging people for the choices they make, how about we focus on the much more pressing influences on the health and wellbeing of our children.
One of the areas that I am particularly interested in is the impact of marketing on the health of our kids.
There is overwhelming evidence that most food and beverage marketing directed towards children is for unhealthy foods – especially those with high sugar, high salt, and high fat content – and this marketing has far more influence over our children than parents assume that they have.
With more than a $400 million spend on food marketing in Australia in 2010, the reality is that today, kids – fat or thin – receive a huge number of messages about the positive benefits of consuming unhealthy food.
And evidence suggests that no matter how hard we try as parents, those seductive messages strongly influence kids’ attitudes towards, and consumption of, these products.
This is not just about childhood obesity. This is about the overall wellbeing of our children.
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