Pass the Butter, Daddy

October 5, 2006 at 1:48 am (Uncategorized)

I was on my morning jog down to Shelley Beach and back earlier today, when I saw something disturbing. It was funny timing, actually, because I had just been thinking to myself (seriously for the millionth time, it’s like some kind of mental tick) how lucky we are to live by the beach. I think people who live by the ocean – I have absolutely zero evidence to back this up, by the way – tend to be more active because the environment encourages it. Everything is set up for fitness, including all the really trim people, everywhere you look, who – just by being there, semi-naked on their towels – make you very aware when you’re letting the side down.

So as some totally cut, uber-fit freak bounced past me this morning, I thought “It’s a good thing. If everyone lived by the beach, maybe this country wouldn’t be in the fleshy, adult diabetes grip of the worst obesity epidemic in its history.”

Then I rounded a little bend in the path, and, sitting in front of me squeezed into an outdoor chair at The Bower restaurant, impatiently awaiting her breakfast like Augustus Gloop, was the fat princess. She was maybe nine years old, and she was wearing a t shirt that said:

I’m spoilt
And your point is…?

Well, sugar dumpling, my point is you’re being killed with kindness. You’re obese, my little pork bun. In the rush to spoil you, because you’re their little girl, their little princess, your parents seem to have overloaded the goodie bag. And now, you’re not so much the apple of their eye as the double cream pie.

Friends know this is something of a sore point with me. I have a pathological problem with fat kids. Or to be more accurate, and fair, I have a serious problem with their parents. For all my own food indiscretions, ultimately I am a terrible fatist. Yes, I did eat a box of BBQ Shapes on Sunday all to myself. Yes, last week I did stand at the stove top roasting marshmallows one idle afternoon. But yes, I also exercise in some form just about every day, and generally I observe pretty healthy eating habits. And you know, I’m also an adult, so it’s my responsibility to balance all my naughtiness and complete lack of discipline with some goodness, whole foods, and endless laps of the beach.

What I CAN’T STAND is seeing a kid whose parents have over-indulged them to the extent that the child now looks like Sumo Suzy. It’s THEIR responsibility to look after their child and give them their best chance at a long and healthy life. It’s THEIR responsibility to teach their child about responsible eating and the absolutely non-negotiable importance of regular exercise. Little Miss I’m Spoilt So Pass the Pastries is on a fast track to heart disease, diabetes, and a shortened life span, not to mention the negative cognitive affects like reduced concentration and recall. I think – yes, this is officially a rant – that encouraging your child to become obese through the decisions YOU make about what they eat and how they spend their time is a form of child abuse. If I was in charge – and everyone can breathe a huge sigh of relief that I’m not, and never will be – there would be laws against it in the same way there are laws against other forms of abuse.

Because it takes some doing on the part of the parents, make no mistake about that. Some kids are genetically predisposed and will always struggle against weight gain, but for the most part, kids simply aren’t designed to be obese. Parents have to be wilfully blind to it, and that kind of complicity in your child’s guaranteed and rapid degeneration just ain’t right. So that’s my point, spoilt princess, but I’m sure it won’t ruin your breakfast.



  1. Erin said,

    Di, I just ate half a box of Cheds … because they are so good, and you can’t walk past the office kitchen without diving into the box. Don’t hate me though!

  2. doctordi said,

    Now, darling, you and I both know you’re not obese, and neither are your unborn children. Go ahead, eat the other half of the box of Cheds – you deserve them. I know you do the hard yards power walking etc to atone for your many (and often sweet-toothed) sins.

  3. Ruanne said,

    Di, Someone has heeded your call – see this from the BBC:
    “From next year, pupils will be weighed and measured as they start primary school and again before they leave. Parents of any obese four- or 10-year-olds can expect a letter telling them their child faces long-term health damage unless they lose weight.”
    Also, I have a friend who wants to know if one can eat too much crab curry? Fresh Dungeness crabs…

  4. doctordi said,

    That’s great, Ruanne! I’m glad something is being done about it elsewhere – hopefully such measures will trickle down to Australia in much the same way we replicated the northern hemisphere fat crisis in the first place.

    On the question of curry…what’s the recipe for this crab curry? It sounds yummy. And if like any good, self-respecting curry it’s got coconut cream or some equivalent making it taste SOOO GOOD, then I think we know the answer, don’t we?!

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