random thoughts on not so tiny dancers

This week I went to see my 6 year old niece Eleanor's annual dance recital. She, of course, was adorable and the most talented child there.

But there were a lot of other girls there -- probably 60 or 70 of them -- at all levels of ballet and modern dance. There were five year olds all the way to up 17 year olds, and the thing that struck me as I watched the different performances was how many of them were fat.

I am not talking about girls with a larger frame or a more robust body type. These kids were really fat -- about one out of six of them.

And I guess these girls get at least some exercise, since they dance, so it makes me wonder what they must be eating.

I know that when my kids have certain friends over, these kids refuse to eat anything we have in the house, the stuff my children love. These kids turn their noses up at whole wheat bread (they want white). No apples. No cheese. No guacamole. No oatmeal. No soy milk.... They only want stuff we don't have - like potato chips and cokes... It's disturbing.


mamalife said...

I am a pediatric nurse and you are very right, it is terribly disturbing how many fat children there are and at what very, very young ages they are becoming fat.

Anonymous said...

rather interesting if breastfeeding is supposed to help prevent obesity. in this century there has never been more breastfeeding than now yet so many fat kids. what gives? all my bottlefed classmates should have been as big as houses but alas, they were for the most part, at least as of last I saw them in 1978, model thin.

katie allison granju said...

Breastfed kids are less likely to get fat. That's a sciantific fact. But of course that's only one factor among many that determine whether a kid is obese or not.

Additionally, you are mistaken in your assertion that "in this century there has never been more breastfeeding."

I guess you mean the 20th century, not the relatively new 21st century, but many FEWER children were breastfed in the 20th century than during any previous AMerican century.

Fewer than 25% of all American infants are breastfed past six months of age. Among low income and minority families, fewer than 25% of all babies are breastfed past 12 weeks.

In the area of the country in which I live (southern appalachia), breastfeeding rates are among the lowest in the country. Obesity rates are among the highest.

If more babies were breastfed longer, there would be some epidemiological impact on AMerican rates of childhood obesity, but unless that change was coupled with better nutrition and more activity, the impact would be negligible.

Anonymous said...

couple of comments. first when I said "this century" maybe i should have said "this generation". second, I think it is more about lack of activity than it is about food choices. except for a couple kids I can think of I dont remember anyone I grew up with as being anything but skinny.(now as adults thats another matter but we are talking kids here) and if my memory serves me correctly I also remember kool aid, ho hos, etc being consumed pretty frequently.(YUM)daily in fact. we all got gifts from hostess in our lunches and daily too, not as a special treat (again I am not thinking of adult health issues but whether or not this is what makes kids fat) BUT a lot of us were walking too and from school. I remember riding my bike around the neighborhood quite a bit, walking down the street to go fishing, etc etc. ice skating in the winter and I didnt have to wait for my parents to come with me to supervise even when I was pretty young. and I really wasnt a particularly athletic kid either. we also got two recesses a day and PE. a lot of schools have cut recess and PE. and most of the nondirected physical activity we partook of would not be allowed by most parents today because now we know that at least some of those free roaming neighborhood kids were being befriended by pedophiles. the only excercise a lot of kids get is whatever organized activities they are signed up for (and most dance classes are a once a week thing...NOT enough by any stretch of the imagination) anyone who thinks its the FOOD people are eating that is making them fat really needs to examine the eating habits of times past. look at an old cookbook and the amount of butter etc etc would just make your head spin. but those people were active active active. there are good reasons to not fill yourself with junk, most of which wont show their faces till you are an adult but not getting fat isnt one of them.(however obsessing about every morsel your kid eats is a good way to set them up for an eating disorder) another point is that its not the foods per se they are eating but the amounts. kids are depressed in record numbers and as most of us know, overeating is definately a way that people, kids included, deal with depression. in fact I'd go so far as to say that the few people i knew as children who had weight issues ALL, each and every one of them, can point to depression and reasons for that depression and that they took solace in food. even among families who cook everything wiht lots of fat and butter, there are plenty of those who just dont overeat and dont get fat (your ex is french Katie, so I know you know this) whenever you find a morbidly obese person you find someone who in addition to making bad food choices is ALSO using overeating as a drug, as a medication, to not deal wtih thier feelings. I further will add, having grown up bordering the south that as soon as we crossed that mason dixon line it seemd like the fat people multiplied like rabbits. I think overeating must be a recreational activity in the south. where I live now in hte pacific northwest except for a couple of people that spring to mind, I dont really see al ot of fat people. I might also add that the foods you described your kids eating Katie are NOT cheap. I seriously doubt you are a typical single mom (or on the income front your typical family either) i KNOW how much it costs to show hunters and jumpers and it aint cheap. neither is having a nanny. a lot of people cannot afford to shop at harvest grocery or whatever its called in your part of the country. as an aside, research is showing soy is NOT the health food it was touted as for quite a while and overconsumption of it can cause quite a bit of problems. I know this woman whose daughters started thier perieods very very maybe its just genetics but this woman was always filling them with soy milk instead of the real thing and they'd make all this weird gross stuff with tofu and try and pass it off as meat (you should have seen those kids scarf the meat when they went to peoples homes who served the real thing) and I really have to wonder in light of what I have seen about soy lately if that wasnt part of the cause. we'll never know but I do know I have read of the dangers of giving kids too much soy.
so I think in conclusion theres a couple of reasons kids are fat...I'd say its using food as a drug instead of as fuel and no activity unless its an organized sport activity which a lot of kids arent into.

Annie said...

Do you think that the reason why dancers are so big is because so many dancers have had problems with anorexicia? Yeah, I didn't think so either. I think that Katie Granju makes an excelent point on how kids are eating so unhealthy these days. If childeren ate more fruits and veggies and less fats and sweets, the obesity rate in Childeren would be much lower.