Friday 26 August 2011

Odd experience - Ben strides through the 'Fat Camp'

Every summer a teenagers' residential Weight Loss Camp hires the school premises - and yesterday, en route to a meeting with his tutor to talk about his AS exam re-sits etc, and before I could stop him, Ben ended up striding right through the middle of it. It was a strange and unsettling experience. Here was a teenager who was desperately trying to put on weight heading right through a crowd of teenagers who were desperately trying to lose it.

I'm not sure what I feel about that. And today, on the News, they're talking about health professionals demanding that the government starts taxing junk food in a bid to combat the rising problem of obesity. The report said that two thirds of today's teenagers are obese - and this number is growing all the time.

Yet we all know that, at the other end of the spectrum, there is a group of teenagers who are suffering from anorexia nervosa - and this number is also growing all the time. But there was no mention of this on the news report and I don't see any of this obsession with 'healthy eating' being geared towards helping teenagers that develop anorexia, etc.

So it's a weird kind of balance. At one end we have teenagers whose parents would love nothing better than to remove all nutritional labeling on packaging so their anorexia-prone children can't examine the calorie and fat content in minutiae. And for the government to stop all this talk about 'unhealthy eating' which, no doubt, reinforces some kind of distorted logic in the mind of an anorexia sufferer.

Ditto all these programmes on the telly that focus on getting fat people thin, not to mention the massive banners up at school during the summer term advertising the fact that the 'Fat Camp' will be taking over the school during the vacation.

And at the other end, we have a rising problem with obesity that all this nutritional, 'healthy eating' and 'fat camp' emphasis appears unable to stop. And I imagine taxing junk food won't suddenly make people reach for the Weightwatchers ready meals.

Yet to my son, Ben, and no doubt many others, this reinforces the distorted thinking that tells him that all the food they're talking about is 'BAD' and must continue to be avoided or he'll end up like the teenagers he walked amongst yesterday.

Food for thought...

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