An Apple a Day…Who the Hell Can Afford One??

*rolls eyes*
*rolls eyes*

Headlines this week have slammed Kelloggs for the sugar content of their Frosties. The line that jumped out at me on the article I just read (<–linked over there!) says:

Last week, an OECD report found 26.6 per cent of British girls were obese and 22.7 per cent of boys – almost twice the level in France

This says almost half of all children in the UK are obese. Now, a lot of people – parents or not! – would read that line, tut and shake their heads. Let’s address a few points about why children are classified as obese now:

  • BMI (body mass index), which is used to calculate obesity does not take into account bone or muscle mass.

When I was pregnant, I was berated by a midwife because my BMI stated I was obese. I was referred to a consultant at the hospital for blood tests for gestational diabetes, for which I was clear of. The consultant took one look at me and asked me why I was there. Husband and I laughed, and said I was obese so needed consultant care. She checked my weight against my height and said to me I didn’t look like I was obese and sent me away! My BMI didn’t take into account the muscle weight from years of martial arts.

This being said, many children get weighed and there is an ‘average’ weight for a child’s height. However, not every 7 year old will be the same height. So one 7 year old could be 5 inches taller than another, and be the same weight, but one will be classed as obese and one as healthy. Therefore, I believe that the OECD report mentioned above is a load of fucking shit.

  • Children now spend too much time indoors and on games consoles than outside playing.

When I was 10 years old I was growing up in London. We didn’t have a local park that was 2 minutes away but we did spend hours and hours playing 40/40 home and hide and seek in the street. We also had a huge paved area out back where we would spend most weekends playing football. We had a games console, but the freedom of being outside and the fact my Mum limited our time on it, meant we were always playing and had fresh air. We were also involved in karate from a young age twice a week.

Now, due to the rise of paedophilia, child kidnap, scared and busy parents and lazy kids, it’s easier to plonk them in front of a brand new Xbox 360 or PS3 than take them to the local park. Kids don’t want footballs and swingball to play with, they want an new iPhone (yes, 8 year olds seem to have these now!) or a new shoot ’em up game. Hours and hours of sitting in front of something that gives them square eyes. They just don’t get exercise now. Not to mention, schools and youth clubs put the price of activities through the roof now! A friend of mine wanted her daughter to do gymnastics and found it to be £10 PER SESSION, which is ridiculous! How can you encourage children to get involved when you will charge parents the Earth to do it? They also took away a lot of parks in the UK, for ‘health and safety reasons’. We are in a world full of idiots who sue the nearest Tom, Dick or Harry if their precious baby scrapes their knee when they fall off a climbing frame. No parks for children to play = lazy indoor children. PE sessions per week at schools has also changed from twice a week to 45 minutes a week…well, that’s helpful. NOT.

  • Fruit and vegetables, unless frozen, is effing expensive!

I am a regular Asda shopper (and when I say regular, I go all the bloody time, it’s just so good!). Anyway, Asda are brilliant because of their offers. Biscuits, crisps, ice cream, burgers, milkshakes, cakes, bread and fizzy drinks are ALWAYS on offer. I can get (and did!) a multipack of 22 bags of Quavers for £2. TWO POUNDS. I buy a bag of Roosters Potatoes, and that cost me £2.45. This right here, this is the problem. Food that is better for you – potatoes being a vegetable of the ground which you can chip, mash, boil and roast – is always more expensive. We once did a shop that was purely healthy. Broccoli, grapes, bananas, porridge, brown bread, low fat butter, fresh fish, chicken breasts (which are £6 a pack of 3!), cereal bars, milk – all of this cost more than £30 and that’s before you add in toiletries, laundry things, juice, water and yoghurt. A shop of ‘crap food’ like frozen chips, pizzas, noodles, burgers and hotdogs, along with biscuits and cakes for snacks, costs under £30 and will feed a family for a week.

Cash strapped families in a recession are FAR more likely to buy shopping that costs less but fills up tummies than a green shop of healthy food and snacks. Children will get fed crap, and not exercise (see above!) and then put on weight, and the first thing to be done is ban sugary food and tax fizzy drinks…

What a crock of shit! The first thing they should do is LOWER the cost of the healthier food and meat. Pay supermarkets a bonus for charging a lot less for their fresh food. I know for a fact I would buy more fruit if it didn’t cost almost £5 for a kilo of grapes (it does!). But why spend £5 on one bag of fruit when I can buy 5 frozen pizzas for that? The next thing they need to do, is rebuild local parks and lower the cost of youth activities like football. I know clubs need to make a profit, but if the halls and equipment wasn’t so bloody expensive the prices would be more reasonable, therefore encouraging both parents and kids to get more involved. This all has a ripple effect on the children that they are tutting at, for being overweight.

  • My last and final point: Parents who can’t say no…

This isn’t always the case in childhood obesity, but for a small minority it is a factor. Those big eyes that plead at you for some cake, a little bit more chocolate, just a slice..go on… Unfortunately there are parents out there that cannot say no. I read in That’s Life magazine last night about a mother who would give her son a pack of biscuits (he was 6) each time he played up. Used food as a way to shut him up and let him play, or to show her love for him with a big chocolate cake. I’m all for treats, I had treats as a child, but that is extreme. Then when he began being bullied at school for his weight, she realised what she had been doing. She had been teaching him that food meant love, and when he asked she never said no, using the phrase ‘he is a growing boy, he needs all he can get’. This just isn’t true. At all. Food doesn’t mean love and shouldn’t mean love for a child especially.

I love Frosties. I hope they don’t ban them and I hope they start actually thinking before they go slapping stupid taxes on everything else. For now though…

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMM

iPads and Innotabs?

The other day at the doctors, I witnessed the most tragic scene I have come across since I became a Mum. I say since I became a Mum, because before then my eyes were clearly closed to some of the oddest thing in this life! I watched a toddler who could not have been more than three or four, tapping a picture on a book with his finger.

I realise that doesn’t seem like something that is harmful. And I would have agreed except his mother began to laugh and handed him an Innotab. Think of this little gadget as the iPad for babies. He happily started jabbing away at it and it made sounds and kept him happy. What saddened me about the whole sorry thing, is that he thought by tapping a book, the photos would animate.

Innotab

How sad is that? The little kid didn’t know that a paper and spine book would not come alive with the tap of his chubby finger. Kids now are part of the digital age where everything is computers and iPads and Kindles. I am relatively young, but seriously how do people expect their kids to maintain legible handwriting? Or understand the beauty of Roald Dahl’s paperback?

My mum was once berated at a school parents evening about my youngest brothers handwriting. Apparently it was like a doctors handwriting, so you can imagine how awful it was. Anyway, my mum pointed out that if he spent more time using a pen in the classroom and when doing homework instead of a computer, his handwriting would be neater.

Hands have muscle memory, so normally your handwriting stays pretty consistent over the years. If you don’t use those muscles though, your hand becomes weak and doesn’t write the same way. Parents nowadays complain so much that they are under pressure to buy the latest gadgets for their kids so their kids ‘fit in’. Well balls to that I reckon – no parent should be pressured by their own child to buy a gadget they can’t afford. Kids have to learn the lesson of ‘tough’ on that one. I was the kid in the class that didn’t have the latest gadgets or the Nike trainers. Primark shoes and a shared Sega Megadrive at home was what I had. My fun came from my imagination with outdoor games in the back garden where I was Pocahontas or acting out scenes from Ninja Turtles with my brothers. There’s nothing wrong with me and there would be nothing wrong with other kids either.

When Sophie is older than 7 she can have some child electronics, but there is no way in heck I am buying a baby laptop/Innotab/MP3 player. Colouring books, dot the dot and mazes, crosswords, Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, Harry Potter and art sets. That’s where the fun is, that’s where kids can find their imagination.

 

Not an 8 year old who plays GTA or Call of Duty 7 hours a day just to be shut up.

 

Babies Next Top Model

I am quite the fan of Americas Next Top Model, well until season 6 anyway and then it got silly with the whole “Love TYYYYYYRA” thing… But I found this bib in Poundland the other day and I love it!

Oh yeaaaah!

Anyway it got me thinking about child modelling and baby modelling and whether you, my lovely readers, think that it’s right. I don’t particularly have any inclination to turn Sophie into the next Honey Boo Boo and nor do I want to be the next Dina Lohan. There is something rather, well, wrong about wanting to put your baby into modelling and pageanting to gain wealth and fame for yourself isn’t there? I watch shows like Baby Beauty Pageant and I just feel sorry for the poor little kid who looks like a scary doll with TOO much make up. The parents always say the same ‘oh she wanted to do it I’m just helping her live her dream’.

When I was three years old I wanted to go to the moon. Sure as shite my mother did not start packing me off to Nasa to give it a go! I think every four to five year old girl wants to play with make-up and hair curling and all kinds of grown up things, but there’s one thing to buy a play make up set and another to parade a child in front of an audience. Some of the girls on these shows CRY because of the tanning or constantly being told to smile wide, which is why I think this whole world is mainly because the mothers want to make their kids the next Lindsay Lohan. And we all know how THAT turned out!

Maybe I’m just being ignorant? Maybe I’m being a daft Mummy who will hear from my daughter one day how she wants to be a model. Well so be it – I’ll be ignorant. Because if and when Sophie decides she wants to be a model/singer/actor/dancer she will be told she can be anything she wants to be when she’s older. I don’t plan on spending money I haven’t got to make her into a living doll. This is not to mention my own utter terror that she would be seen as a sexual object and get slobbered all over by weirdos.

The reason for this post today is because of this photo.

All eyelashes and baby blues

I posted it on Facebook and a few friends have asked if I’d ever considered her for modelling. My daughter is absolutely gorgeous (and no I don’t think that’s a bias fact??) but no I haven’t considered modelling in a serious way. That’s a whole world of being grown up, dictated to and opens a lifetime of potential eating disorders for a baby girl that I want to grow up to love being a child and enjoy her childhood altogether.

Sorry, Honey Boo Boo… you can keep that life. My daughter will be a child for as long as I can keep her that way.

Damn right