Are Parents To Blame For Rocketing Obesity?

posted on: May 15, 2018. posted in: Weight loss, Mindfulness

We've had a question sent to us privately...

"Please help, My daughters dad is bullying her about her weight. She is 12. She is laying in bed saying she is fat and ugly. She has been told if she loses weight he will buy her new clothes? I am to have a chat with him tomorrow about it all. I need stuff to tell him that will shut him up!"

Hello and welcome to Rebelfit.

Being an adult is tough.

Being a parent is even tougher.

I'm only two and a half years into being a parent and finding it really, really tough, so I can't imagine how tough it must be for you both to be parents of a 12 year old. And, by the sound of things, parents to a 12 year old when you are separated?

Please sit down, have that chat and share the following with your daughter's dad, and hopefully you can find a solution.


I'm going to take you back to the second year of my Law degree when I studied Family Law.

One of the first things I learned was something called The Welfare Test, from section 1 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1925:

"Where in any proceedings before any court the custody or upbringing of an infant is in question, the court, in deciding that question, shall regard the welfare of the infant as the first and paramount consideration".

In short?

Kids. Come. First.

It's not about the father. It's not about the mother. It's not about anyone else, other than the child.

And it just makes sense, doesn't it?

When relationships break down. When parents separate. They need to put any anger, upset or aggression to one side and continue to work together to create a stable environment for their children.

Fast forward to today...

I'm not a lawyer.

I decided not to go into Law because after my Law degree I discovered fitness and wanted to become a personal trainer.

But here I am today, an experienced personal trainer who has spent his career training obese people whose parents didn't apply The Welfare Test and didn't put them first.

There is now so much research and evidence to prove that children brought up in unstable, stressful family environments are that much more likely to grow up obese.

And children brought up by parents who stigmatise them for their weight gain and put them on diets are also that much more likely to grow up obese.


So looking at your situation, we've got hostility between you and your daughter's dad, creating a stressful family environment, combined with your daughter's dad creating weight stigma at a time when her body is naturally meant meant to be gaining weight.

So here's what I recommend...


You both need to look after her.

You both need to sit down, put your differences aside, shake hands and agree to put HER NEEDS FIRST.

And the thing she needs most in her life right now is the belief that her parents are stable.

If you both want her to grow up healthy and happy, the best thing you can do for her health and happiness long term (and in doing so reduce her risk of adult obesity) is foster a friendship based on your shared love for her.

And if you can't?

Fake it.

Hate each other as much as you like in your own head space, but try your best to never let her see it.

Think of it like this...

Parents hatred and aggression towards each other is the most fattening thing a child can ever experience. More than burgers. More than cake. More that fizzy drinks. Angry, stressed out, venting parents have done more to increase obesity than fast food ever has.

I appreciate this is a really hard ask, but trust me when I say that love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and most of all stability are incredibly slimming for children.

Moreso than the promise of new clothes.


And for anyone reading this who is thinking of becoming a parent...

You should write a contract with each other, and sign it together on the day of your child's birth, that agrees you will always look out for the child's needs, above your own, if your relationship breaks down. And that means showing love for each other as parents, even if you can't show love for each other as a couple.


p.s. For all our followers reading this, if you have any thoughts, suggestions or ideas, or any experience with this situation, please comment below. Thank you.

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