THE OFTEN-IGNORED EMOTIONAL TRAGEDY
EXPERIENCED BY OVERWEIGHT CHILDREN
In her book, “Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight
Children”, child psychologist Dr. Sylvia Rimm, director of
the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, describes in great detail the serious day-to-day emotional turmoil that overweight children and teens have to face, as they are often the target of rejection and even cruel treatment by their peers, their teachers and even their parents.
According to her, the lifelong consequences of these negative attitudes against these children are devastating to their emotional state of health. Dr. Rimm explains how they “are treated as outcasts, lepers and untouchables” by many people.
In a groundbreaking survey of over 5,000 children,
she was able to discover that compared to normal-weight
kids, heavy children were five times more likely to have low self-confidence, four times more likely to be lonely,
three times more likely to worry about their future, and two times more likely to consider themselves “not smart
enough”. They feel so sad about their social lives that they’re distracted when they work, and they may console themselves by snacking more often. They’re shut away behind a wall of loneliness, according to Dr. Rimm.
As parents, teachers and counselors, we must take steps to solve the weight problem, but also address the sadness issue among many overweight children, and take measures to boost their level of belief in themselves, leading to a higher and healthier sense of self-esteem.
Dr. Augusto Agostini
Ph. D. in Nutrition