100 lb. Club - being fat is unhealthy

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10-11-2007, 12:15 AM
My 6 year old daughter came home today and told me that I was unhealthy because I was fat. And so was my husband and my parents. I asked her where she heard that and she told me that her 1st grade teacher told her that people that are fat are unhealthy and that they will make them sick and die.

I was livid. I have always been concious of what we said around her. I dont want her to think that she has to be thin. I want to lose weight not to be thin but to be healthy and that is what I have always tried to tell her. I tell her that mommy doesnt care if she is skinny as long as she is healthy. And I was feeling confident that she was understanding. I want her to have a healthy body image and if she thinks that she has to be skinny then she will never have that.

So now do I go to the school and say something or do I just talk to my daughter and tell her that it isnt being fat that makes you sick but being unhealthy.

I would love anyones advice as to how I should handle this.

10-11-2007, 12:17 AM
Wow - that's a tough one.

10-11-2007, 12:29 AM
Wow - that's a tough one.


10-11-2007, 12:31 AM
I would definately say something because just because some people are bigger does not mean that they are unhealthy and that they will get sick and die. That is not something to tell a 1st grader! I would be livid. You also may want to have a talk with her because if that was me I'd be terrified that my parents were going to die since she said that to you. I would either speak directly with the principal about things that are being said or go to the teacher. Either way that is not something I would let happen. 1st graders are at an impressionable age and telling them something that could potentially make them look on others badly is not appropriate. Thats just my 2 cents

10-11-2007, 12:38 AM
Okay! I am also the mother of a first grader, so I would also be livid. No, being "fat" isn't healthy, but I would NOT appreciate a teacher telling my daughter that being fat is going to kill her. Not an appropriate way to put it at all. The health risks should be addressed, yes, but obesity is one of many contributing factors to health risks. Right now, I am fat, but I am "fitter" than most thin people I know.
Out of curiosity, why were they talking about it? If they are trying to discourage children from becoming obese, great, but instead of threatening 6 & 7 years olds with disease and death, why not just encourage them to eat healthy and get lots of activity? This is what I do at home, and I've been successful.

10-11-2007, 06:54 AM
i hear the cries of outrage but i can also see the logic in the teachers comments. obesity is the biggest danger to the health of the western world in the future, by putting it in the simplest black and white terms for young children they are putting the scare tactic on them to be careful and develop good habits. Technically not totally correct however is it worth telling versions of the truth to get kids to think about being healthy?

Cassie. i hear you about scaring the kids and you would prefer them to address healthy eating but really young kids just don't get it, nothing affects kids like fear.

10-11-2007, 07:25 AM
I'd definetly call the school and find out what's going on. One thing though, my son is 5 and has a tendency to add his own "thoughts" when describing things to me. Is it possible they heard "being overweight is unhealthy" and maybe added ". . .and then you die". I sure hope that they are also teaching that being severaly UNDERweight is unhealthy too!

10-11-2007, 07:50 AM
As a mother of a second grader, I am quite upset by this teacher's behavior. Children at this age will hear "die" and that is what they will focus on. As parents, we are supposed to nurture and protect our children and teach them right from wrong......scare tactics cause insecurity, and the last thing I want for my kids is for them to feel insecure and afraid that I'm going to die any day! Yes, talk with this teacher. Her ignorance (and prejudice?) should be addressed.

10-11-2007, 08:10 AM
ooooo, this really bothers me. Im a mum of a 6 yr old and she was told in front of the class that her "oreo" cookie was unhealthy. Granted, she was supposed to save the cookies for after lunch and not snack time but they were not even oreos. They were sugar free organic cookies that LOOKED like oreos. People (including teachers) assume too much.

At this point we have all been working out regularly, eating a healthy. balanced diet. 2 months of doing this and a overweight person may very well be healthier than many thin people. You can have a poor diet and get no exercise at almost any weight. I have thin friends that eat cheetos and coke for dinner and think y should I work out. Im already thin. Being healthy is about so much more than thin or fat. Its about getting proper nutrition and vitamins and building your strength and stamina. Certainly someone teaching children should know this. I would think that the teacher should have focused on diet and exercise instead of weight. Kids at this age sometimes want to play video games or not eat veggies, there are many relevant topics that would help encourage a healthy lifestyle for children without making them prejudice or worry about the health of loved ones or themselves.

10-11-2007, 08:18 AM
I agree and disagree with this, first of all, I think that 1st grade is too early to talk about healthy weights, I think that this should be addressed in 4th grade and up when children are able to understand their bodies , food and feeling more, 1st graders are way too young to address this issue.
I do agree that being over weight is unhealthy, but these children should not be taught that 20 lbs overweight makes them target for death. I really do think our children need to be made aware of the problems of over eating and what it can lead to, and it should go hand in hand with being sensitive about people's feelings and that calling people Fat is not nice. Am I being contradictive? Don't mean to be, but if we look at our children , there are so many children who are obese, and education is one tool that helps.

10-11-2007, 08:28 AM
Gosh, a messy situation. I'd find out first exactly what the teacher said, if you can, before getting too irate.

I think it's been well established that obesity is a serious condition that can put one at risk for developing life-threatening diseases.

Scaring kids at age 6 is another matter. But, find out what the teacher said. Your child may have put her own spin on things.


10-11-2007, 10:07 AM
It's one thing to stress the importance of a good diet and exercise. I think it is never too early to teach this. It's a totally other issue when you start throwing around the word, "die".

I would speak with the teacher. If you don't get satisfaction from her, I'd then speak to the principal.

10-11-2007, 10:08 AM
I think there are a lot of pieces to this and I agree with Jay: find out what the teacher said exactly. I have a 7 year old who definitely puts her own spin on things. I listen to and honor what she says, but I also know what she says is her interpretation of the world.

Addressing weight and health with children is challenging and rampant with emotion...especially if we are personally stung by the discussion. My daughter pointed out that I am fat. She is a kid....she calls it like she see it. She's right, I am fat.

You say you want to lose weight to be healthy. It seems to me that your message and the teacher's message are actually pretty similar. It sounds like your daughter needs some reassurance that you are healthy and working to be healthier and fit (and that you are not going anywhere anytime soon!). Emotional and physical health are vital for children and families (and stressed out moms!), and your behaviours of choosing healthy foods and participating in purposeful movement will teach your daughter a lot.

When my daughter pointed out that I am fat, I agreed with her (cause, I am actually!). And I pointed out that I was working hard to be healthy and I pointed out how wonderful our bodies are that we can change them.

10-11-2007, 10:49 AM
I can understand your anger. I believe that children should be taught that obesity is unhealthy, but to tell a first grader that the result is death is going too far. I have taught first grade Sunday School for about 14 yrs and am very surprised that a teacher would say that to a 6 yr old. Children at that age are very literal. They don't think in general terms, or possibilities...if they are told you will die..that's EXACTLY what they think will happen. I'd find out exactly what the teacher said (though I highly doubt your child would make up the death part) and let her know how you feel.

10-11-2007, 10:58 AM
Reading your post I flashed back to being the fat kid in class and what would have been said to be after that lesson.

Of course, teach about eating healthy and she probably didn't say it exactly like that to the class. However, you have to think about things like that too.

10-11-2007, 11:47 AM
Oh, I would so be in to talk to that teacher. But I would approach her calmly and not "on the attack" and ask her to tell you exactly what she discussed with the kids. It is certainly appropriate for them to discuss healthy eating and habits with the kids, this is looking at it from the positive direction rather than "if you are fat, you will die". Can you imagine the terror a chubby kid in that classroom was feeling, being told he or she was going to die (if that's what is said)? There is a right way to teach, and terror is never involved.

10-11-2007, 11:55 AM
It's one thing to stress the importance of a good diet and exercise. I think it is never too early to teach this. It's a totally other issue when you start throwing around the word, "die".

I would speak with the teacher. If you don't get satisfaction from her, I'd then speak to the principal.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

10-11-2007, 04:08 PM
Right, the part of the post that upsets me is that there seems to be "scare tactics" involved (get thin or DIE)...that's why I say they should teach children to focus on eating healthy and being active.

10-11-2007, 04:29 PM
It sounds to me like the teacher may have brought up the subject and the kids were the ones that elaborated on the "get sick and die" campaign. That doesn't sound like something any adult would say, especially one trained to interact with children. I have gotten really mad about something the teacher supposedly said to my kids too, and it turns out the teacher was completely solid and it was the kids talking at recess that came up with the silly parts.

10-11-2007, 04:44 PM
I'm a mother of a 1st and 4th grader - I'd deffinately call the school and complain. That is completely wrong.

Cuter w Curves
10-11-2007, 08:00 PM
I would find out exactly what was said.

Teachers make mistakes but if this was one of them then it is a doozy.

I feel for you as I would be livid hearing it. Though for me I would tend to believe her.

My daughter just turned 4 and started Junior Kindergarten this year. I am actually waiting for something similar as the school is pressing heavily on exercise, and healthy eating. I have a gut feeling that someone will slip up. We've had too many "slip ups" this year already.


*Teacher went back into school and left two children in the play enclosure unsupervised if not for myself and another parent standing there (not comfortable over that).
* Another teacher dragged a Junior Kindergarten *who is 3* into the school by his wrist.

etc. etc. etc. so I PERSONALLY am being very watchful.

10-11-2007, 08:17 PM
Definitely ask the teacher exactly what was said. Maybe explain that you are dealing with these issues at home.

Also let him or her know that such a thing being said can plant a seed in such a young one for a future eating disorder. They are finding disordered eating in kids as young as 8. Teacher needs to be careful not to contribute to that.

10-12-2007, 01:15 AM
Oh yeah, Id call the school in a heartbeat.

Mrs Quadcrew
10-12-2007, 10:00 AM
I would first calm down then call and talk to the teacher. I have had a daycare for 25+ years, and small ones definately put their own "spin" on things at that age.

10-12-2007, 12:27 PM
It could of been slightly misunderstood, however I would definitely talk with the teacher.

My daughter's kindergarten teacher made a statement to me when my DD was starting school....

"Believe only half of what your child brings home, and I will only believe half of what your child brings to school"

10-12-2007, 02:16 PM
Having a third grader, who sometimes has "elaborated" on what a teacher said, I have on occasion called another parent from the class and see if they got the same story out of their child. Not sure if I would call a teacher over this, as they are under enough stress already!!

I am actually teaching my children that overweight is not healthy and that there are good/bad foods, but each can be consumed in moderation.

I also would doubt the teacher said that "overweight would make you sick and die" -- but if the teacher is a little off in her teaching, now, the beginning of the year, is a good time to know and stop it. Good luck.