Monday, January 08, 2007

Body Image, Revisited

A while back I posted on the topic of male body image, eating disorders, and men. As of today, I am down 70 pounds. I'm wearing clothes that were long ago lost to the back of the closet, marked as "when I'm skinnier." I'm getting there, and this morning at 6am the Reverend and I braved the cold winds and lightless day to meet with our personal trainer for the first time. Granted, that would be Scotty, so he's not so foreign to us, but still... We made it through our first morning of cardio fairly well, and are even playing handball after work with Brendon and Amber. But this is not what prompted today's post...I just thought an update seemed appropriate.

Today on gay satellite radio station, they were discussing an article about "obesity report cards" which are being sent home in several states now. In addition to grades for reading, spelling, or history, students are now being given report cards on their height/weight... It's being done in an effort to combat the growing "childhood obesity" in the U.S. A noble intention, but I don't think I'm going to like the methods...or the results.

At first thought, the concept of grading kids on their bodies is abhorrent to me! one of the girls discusses in the article is 6 years old. She received a letter in her report card that she's in the 80th percentile for BMI. Though she doesn't know what those terms mean, she's stopped eating for fear she'll get in trouble at school. Doesn't this sound like the beginnings of a beautiful eating disorder? IN A 6 YEAR OLD!?! That concept terrifies me.

Callers on the radio show were split. Some said "they're going to be teased if they're fat anyway, so they might as well have all the facts." Others echoed my thoughts of anorexia and bulimia, as well as overall self-esteem. I was that kid in school. Overweight, despite the fact that my eating habits didn't match my voluptuous and curvy figure. Teased. I hated going to school because I didn't want to hear more of the taunting. And now we're going to GRADE kids on their bodies?

How many more supermodels have to die of starvation before we get it? While I appreciate the efforts to control childhood obesity, there has to be a safe and sane way to do it, without our schools convincing kindergarteners to pick at their plates or stick fingers down their throats.


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