Kids in Fargo, North Dakota may want to bypass a certain house where a woman has announced her plan to give kids who appear overweight a letter instead of candy.
“It’s just these kids, I see them and they are struggling to stay healthy and they want to play with other kids and I think it’s really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ‘cause all the other kids are doing it,” said the woman known only as Cheryl, via an article in Global.
This year she is taking the 'it takes a village' ethos by the horns. But not everyone regards her strategy as helpful.
Here is an excerpt of Cheryl's letter, which many have already branded as fat shaming:
"You(r) child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season. My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits."
For starters, her letter plays into the usual fallacy that size is a direct correlation of health and eating habits. (Plenty of skinny kids have poor diets.) Furthermore, fat shaming or denying kids treats at a festive time of year is hardly the way to raise obesity awareness, as previously demonstrated.
Of course parents everywhere could do with rationing their children's Halloween candy... I'm not a nutritionist, or a doctor for that matter, but it seems to me that this kind of short-sightedness directly contributes to disordered eating rather than prevents it.
“There is a presumption that this person has the right to make a judgment about an individual child and his or her parenting based on a subjective evaluation of their weight alone,” said Merryl Bear, director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Toronto. “It also incorrectly simplifies the condition of obesity to overconsumption of sugar.”
And while we're at it, plenty of people use the 'it takes a village' mentality to back their own (self-serving) agendas while at the same time turning a blind eye to abusive situations in which they should step in, but don't.
It does take a village: to set the record straight for well-intentioned—but seriously misguided—people like Cheryl. End rant.