Drawing attention to one facet of a child’s appearance or health is UNhealthy. As a mother I know this. One insult to an adolescent about his or her appearance, especially from a peer, will drive him or her to their room for weeks to sulk.
In fact, the University of Buffalo’s News Center reported on three recent studies done at their university that tested rejection sensitivity based on one’s physical appearance. Lora Park, Ph.D., director of the university’s Self and Motivation Research Laboratory, conducted the studies.
The results of the studies confirmed that many people with rejection sensitivity were likely to have low self-esteem, base their self-worth on their appearance, think of themselves as physically unattractive, and have increased symptoms of eating disorders. EATING DISORDERS. What will the children with high BMIs think of themselves when they are told theirs are too high? Will this information increase their feelings of self-worth or their body image? I don’t think so.
And in support of the findings in the rejection sensitivity studies, the National Eating Disorder Association stated that “People with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder and are more likely to suffer from feelings of depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and obsessions with weight loss.” Do we really want to exchange one serious health condition for another?
Consider the skyrocketing number of eating disorders sufferers in the United States. The National Eating Disorder Association’s stated, “In the United States… 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting…an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder.” And a high percentage of anorexia nervosa victins die. I know this from personal experience.
Please Mrs. Obama, reconsider your plan and initiate one based on increasing self-esteem. Tell children that by eating healthy and exercising they will feel great. Even the children with low BMIs need this since today children fall victim to eating disorders at much younger ages. We all don’t have to be thin to be healthy.