If you are a thin kid, you may not know that being fat can make it
hard to make friends. In this country, "overweight" kids sometimes have a hard
time and can even be made fun of.
Some scientists have actually studied the way kids feel about fat kids.
They talked to a whole group of kids who took one look at a photo of someone who was fat
and though they wouldnt want to be his friend. They had never met him and
didnt know anything about what he liked or what he was good at. But they didnt
want to be his friend.
Have you ever thought about how you feel when you see a fat kid? Maybe
No two kids are just alike, whether they have a few extra pounds or not.
Even so, you probably have a lot in common with most kids your age, no matter what shape
they have. For instances, most kids like music, the Simpsons, a good story and a big place
to play in. Fat kids do, too.
A surprising number of people, even grown ups, act as though being
"overweight" makes a person lazy or stupid. None of this is true. Its not
even true that fat kids eat more than other kids. Most of these kids are heavy because
their parents are or because they dont get enough exercise.
Exercise helps everyone stay healthy. But if people made fun of you
because you were sort of fat, you probably wouldnt want to run or play ball in front
of them. Many, many kids have been embarrassed by other peoples mean remarks until
they dont want to try anything in front of anyone.
Sometimes, even adults dont give fat kids a chance. You may have
had a gym teacher who expected those kids to do poorly. Heavy kids can be so worried about
being made fun of that they stop playing. And no one can be good at sports if shes
too embarrassed to practice.
But Babe Ruth was fat. So are Fernando Valenzuela and William
(Refrigerator) Perry. And they play ball very well. It wouldnt be fair to them if
you kicked them off the team because of their size. It wouldnt be fair to the team,
Disliking someone unfairly is called prejudice. The best way to be sure
you grow up without prejudice is to get to know an overweight kid before you decide if you
like him or not. In fact, that is a good way to meet most kids. ©
Adapted from an article appearing in "Family Talk"
from Nazareth Hospital in Pennsylvania.