As the school year is getting ready to kick in to gear, I am in the process of setting up some interviews to specifically discuss childhood obesity and bullying. Both topics, alone, are emerging as major problems in the lives of our youths. However combined, as I have discussed in detail concerning my experience with obesity related bullying, they can be a major obstacle to a child making the most of their school years.
Because of Michelle Obama’s initiative, we are becoming more and more cognizant of the childhood obesity epidemic and all of the health related issues that can accompany it.
Bullying has been identified in many high-profile news stories over they years, and the response to, or the result of bullying, can sometimes have tragic repercussions.
I am of the strong opinion that if a child is obese, to one extent or another, they are being bullied. It could be anything from name calling to all out physical harassment. However, whatever it is; the bullying can have long-lasting detrimental effects — so it is up to the adults to be ever vigilant. Often times, the bullied child will not discuss the fact that they are being picked on. I never did, it was bad enough that I was harassed about my weight, I wasn’t going to give the bullies further fuel to make my school days miserable and so, for two long school years I silently suffered.
I kept it quiet.
I kept it inside.
I kept it all to myself.
When I turned fourteen I went out for football. I really wasn’t any good, but I began taking weight training seriously and I started jogging. As my body changed, the abuse ceased and I was able to enjoy a relatively normal high school experience.
Even though my change in body type had a positive outcome, I can not stress enough that body image should never be used to motivate a child. In most cases, to the overweight and bullied child, their parents unconditional love is the one constant that gets them through the roughest times. If the child, even for an instant, believes that their parents do not love them the way they are; do not accept them the way they are; do not appreciate them for the persons they are on the inside — an already complex situation will become even more complicated.
Through the two years of sometimes violent bullying I was confident of a few facts. At home:
-I was not unloved.
-I was not unwanted.
-I was not unaccepted.
We don’t want to use weight as a motivational factor, however we can still use as motivation the improvement of the child’s quality of life. By encouraging and assisting the child to attain an improved level of fitness, we will be giving the child a certain amount of control over their situation. That control will assist them in coping better with the uncontrollable circumstances going on around them — not only with a bully, but with life itself.
Although my parents did not use my weight to motivate me, when I made the effort to drop weight and get physically fit, they encouraged and assisted every single step of the way. They endured sometimes awful weather to watch me sit on the bench. They prepared meals that I could eat, even if they differed greatly from the planned meal, and they made time to get me to a from physical activities.
If we take the tract of encouraging fitness over weight loss, weight loss will also occur and the end result will be an overall healthier child.
Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now; A life beyond wight loss.
Dr. Joe Leonardi is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org