Fat-shaming children at school is no way to fight obesity
In an attempt to fight obesity, the government could force schools across England to weigh and measure their students. Under a suggested policy from No 10, children would jump on the scales and have their middles taped once a year. If they qualified as overweight, they’d be subjected to extra gym classes and a school-imposed programme of weight loss.
Schools could be judged on their ability to help students shed pounds, creating some sort of perverse competition based on the shrinking waistlines of pupils. A hierarchy of schools based on shaming pupils into losing weight is alarming and bizarre. Do they get extra funding if they make the kid cry? A bonus for every child who develops an eating disorder after having to stand on the scales in front of friends? A gold star for pushing students under their care into a lifetime of yo-yo dieting?
This is precisely the wrong way to go about combating the country’s supposed weight problem. It is a terrible, ill-advised, short-sighted idea – and one that could be quite dangerous. One in five kids are obese by the end of primary school, which is alarming – but to shame them into weight loss simply teaches them to equate their worth with a number on a scale, and sets them up for a lifetime of thinking their size is some sort of indication of who they are.
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