Knowing About Fat Kids
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 wouldn’t want to be his friend. They had never met him and didn’t know anything about what he liked or what he was good at. But they didn’t want to be his friend.
Have you ever thought about how you feel when you see a fat kid? Maybe not.
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. It’s not even true that fat kids eat more than other kids. Most of these kids are heavy because their parents are or because they don’t get enough exercise.
Exercise helps everyone stay healthy. But if people made fun of you because you were sort of fat, you probably wouldn’t want to run or play ball in front of them. Many, many kids have been embarrassed by other people’s mean remarks until they don’t want to try anything in front of anyone.
Sometimes, even adults don’t 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 she’s too embarrassed to practice.
But Babe Ruth was fat. So are Fernando Valenzuela and William (Refrigerator) Perry. And they play ball very well. It wouldn’t be fair to them if you kicked them off the team because of their size. It wouldn’t be fair to the team, either.
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.