Promote health for kids, not torture for fat kids

I’m a few days too late on this one, but I just wanted to point out that Tish at Fatshadow totally rocks. Lately, she’s been responding to a San Francisco “resolution to create a task force on childhood obesity.” You know, get those kids in school to exercise, that sort of thing. Tish had planned to make a speech before the SF rules committee, asking them to change the emphasis from obesity to health. She put the text of the speech online… here’s a sample:

The other day I was thinking about how desperate I feel to get you to understand why this is important. I thought about the number of fat adults who have told me they avoid doctors because they are sick of being told that their only problem is that they need to lose weight. The health community does fat kids and fat adults no service when they make the size of a persons body the central issue.

I was a fat kid who walked everywhere, since we had no car, went swimming every day in the summer and took tap and ballet lessons. There have always been fat kids and there always will be. And thank God because they are so beautiful. Talk to them about salad and give them passes to the pool but don’t make them ashamed and afraid of their bodies.

It turned out they had already changed the language, probably due to the email campaign Tish and other fat activists have had going. So, hooray for Tish! You’re my hero today.

In a follow-post today, Tish is already seeing things to regret in her victory…

I have such mixed feelings about parts of the Rules Committee Meeting and the ideas about health. I do want kids to be healthy. But I also want some of them to be able to be the kid who would rather curl up in the corner with a book. And isn’t coordinated. Maybe that kid can just take walks. Or swim. Or do yoga. I wish I had spoken out for the kid who just wants to sit in the corner and read a book.

I definitely agree with Tish here; I was the kid who would rather curl up with a book. But let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good – what Tish and others did will potentially make life less painful for a whole lotta fat kids in San Francisco, and that’s very cool.

(And while you’re there, read Tish’s post on civil disobedience, too.)

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