You know, my mom used to play the same record over and over when I was a kid, to the point that a neighbour came over and gave her a new one, because his head was about to explode (open windows, loud volume, 1974, etc.) I am wondering if your family is experiencing the same thing with the Minchin festival? Would your lovely husband appreciate a gift of earplugs, or perhaps a few batts of soundproofing? (Not that Tim Minchin isn't completely awesome, in moderation...)
I have had occasion to hear people blame their obsesity on genetics. I have resisted telling them fat doesn't enter their bodies by their airways.
It's been awhile since you picked on the fatties so I'm guessing a pitbull post is coming next.
I totally understand this. As a proud member of the first generation of super obese children I really do blame my parents. I have since turning 18 lost almost all of that weight but in doing so have had to teach myself how to eat correctly because no one ever did. I always thought it was ok (and apparently so did my parents) to have 3 donuts at a sitting. It was a harsh shock when I realized i could not.
@3 I'm guessing Youth Pastor Watch, Archbishop edition, as I've yet to see a slogpost about that utterly damning letter from Archbishop Luciano Storero to the Catholic Church of Ireland ordering them in explicit terms not to report abuse accusations to the police.
@4 Amen! ( to speak.)
Not enough business trips = density rash, chez Canuck.
@5: Congratulations! Learning how to eat healthy as an adult is tough. You have to completely retrain your stomach and your tastebuds.
Picking on gay children with uninformed ideas about how they got that way and the risks involved and spreading it through the media - wrong.

Picking on fat children with uninformed ideas about how they got that way and the risks involved and spreading it through the media - awesome.
Why do I suspect that for "every time I read something about childhood obesity" we should read "every time the Google Alert I set up pings me that someone somewhere in the world has chimed in on the childhood obesity beat"?
I feel fucking awful for obese children, because it's not their fault, and they get the worst quasi suicide inducing teasing as kids. I was just a chubby kid, not obese, and I was suicidally depressed as an adolescent due to teasing
Fat people need to learn to eat properly and exercise, but honestly, it's fucking expensive. ONE HEAD of broccoli costs $2 in ottawa. Grapes? $6. I can see how a happy meal is attractive. The government needs to encourage healthy eating with taxation of shit and subsidization of vegetables so that the poor can eat properly.
Dan, you have said nothing explicitly bad about "the fatties" as it were, in this post, but please, don't take your own issues with food and body size (that you've written about in the past) out here. I think you don't even realize this is what you're doing, but it's oozing out around the corners of every "obesity post" you run.

Also, you have such a platform and you could be such a help. Don't you realize how many people will read this and will take away, "Dan S. agrees with ME! It's SIMPLE! Stop eating so many donuts!" It's a complex problem that requires so much support to get over. Are you better informed about obesity than say, David Kessler, MD (pediatrician) and former FDA Commissioner who recently wrote an entire book about the complexity of this issue? Please, stop. You're not helping, and you are hurting.
nicely said, @9.

dan, you're a terrible person sometimes.
@9--you mean, picking on their dumbass parents. there's a huge difference. Gay kids are born that way. Fat kids are made that way by parents who have unhealthy relationships with food. There are very few exceptions.
@14 - You've inadvertently described *part* of the problem (family cycling of the issue) and why it's not so simple. Mean spirited ("dumbass") attacks DON'T HELP.
@ 14, no, I mean the kids. You know, the ones whose bodies are being criticized and made fun of and deemed wrong, gross, and unacceptable.

Like Dan and Tim (both of whom I like very much), you're making it really clear how little you understand about obesity, health issues, diet, genetics, and all of the ways in which those things do and don't intersect on a case-by-case basis. You do not know more about this than the leading medical specialists in the field, and acting like you do in order to have an excuse to shame children isn't okay.
Adults have the choice to be fat, young children do not. The song is about the inherent child abuse of feeding your child shit food and not encouraging a healthy lifestyle. It isn't 'picking' on the kids but 'accusing' their parents of neglect and passing on their own issues to their kids.
@11 I am so tired of the 'vegetables are expensive' BS. Is that all you're eating, broccoli? How many servings are in a head of broccoli or a bunch of grapes? Are there starches, protein, etc. on your plate as well, that moderate the price per serving? And why do people always pick one of the more expensive vegetables when they use this argument? If you are on a budget, frozen vegetables are much less expensive than fresh, especially in winter, and while they may not be as wonderfully crisp as fresh, what is the choice, slightly less than 'al dente' vegetables, or McNuggets and fries? A healthy body or morbid obesity?
@16: While the "leading" experts pretty much know that while there are myriad intersecting factors that can influence the relative susceptibility of a person to obesity, and they may disagree about the degree of importance each lends to the overall picture, the universal and MUCH more significant factor is this: more calories in than out. Slight fluctuations in basal metabolic rate due to hormones and genetics do not force you to become 350 lbs. They might make the difference between being 320 vs 350 in an obese person or 140 and 150 in someone with a normal body condition, but they don't by any means account for the vast majority of obesity.
This song isn't making fun of the kids so much as it's mocking the lazy and thoughtless parents causing their child's obesity. And by the way, @9, obesity is a health problem that is generally preventable, as opposed to being a normal variation of human sexuality that is neither preventable nor inherently unhealthy.

I don't think making fun of fat kids is laudable at all; I was chubby, too. Making obesity sacrosanct (by whining when someone points out that feeding your kids crap is bad for them and makes them subject to mental, emotional, social, physical, and physiological hardships) isn't helping.
Sorry, too many "whiles" in the first sentence.
@17, pretty much everything you just said is ignorant and factually inaccurate.

The songs calls children names, compares them to Jabba the Hut, and says fat children will be dead before middle age because they ate too many fries, all for laughs.

It (and many other people like you, Dan, and Tim) never seems to be concerned about advocating healthy diet and exercise for all children, just the fat ones. It equates body size with health, a very dangerous idea that kills people. It behaves as though it's okay to judge people's bodies if you saw them eating something you didn't approve of this one time, because that means, since they're fat, you get to assume they eat that way all the time. It completely ignores how poverty contributes to obesity and pooh-poohs serious genetic and health problems that can cause obesity as one of many symptoms as some bullshit excuse, as though anyone is owed an excuse of any kind.

So A+, everyone. Way to keep these really ignorant and harmful ideas going so you can have a virtuous excuse to shame children.
@ 19, if you still think that weight is universally determined by calories in vs. calories out and that health issues only cause a 6% body weight differential, then I think you need to re-read all of that material because some really basic facts have either been distorted or never sank in in the first place. Please also re-listen to the song if you don't think it makes fun of children.

But see, even if we go by your totally incorrect idea of what universally causes obesity and ignore that bad diet and many serious health problems it coincides with are also an issue for thin children (among other fatal health problems specific to thin children that go undiagnosed because they weren't fat so they must be healthy, right?), obese children are no more responsible for their obesity than a gay child is for their homosexuality. Furthermore, it's no more appropriate to say that "letting" your kid be fat will kill them of a heart attack before thirty (for laughs, no less) than it is to say that "letting" your kid be gay will kill them before 30 of AIDS. Both are completely false, ignorant, and hateful.
@17 - Ask yourself why parents might be feeding their kids like this. Do they live in a food desert where fresh fruits and veggies pretty much aren't available? Living in Seattle, it might be hard to imagine, but this is *quite a common problem* and not just in urban areas - rural areas, too.

Is the household extremely poor? Do you they have enough money to last through the entire month? During the last week of the month are they eating mac and cheese simply because it's at the very least filling?

Do Pepsi and Coke have vending machines in the kids schools, where they are encouraged to "Buy a pop to support their team"?

All of these small things add up to extra pounds quite quickly and I'd say it's far more likely scenario than the song's assumption of a parent not caring and just giving the kid three Krispy Kremes for breakfast or something.

**Please understand this "Three Krispy Kremes for my kids for breakfast and I don't care!" assumption as another way we demonize fat people. Boy are THEY stoopid!***

I know we want it to be simple, but people don't just one day choose to be fat any more than they choose to be gay. It's not that simple or easy, and the people most knowledgeable about obesity see it this way these days too. (See:…)

What the fuck is wrong with you? Even DAN admits that the song is bullying (but he's perfectly okay with it, because FATTIES!!! lol), and you're making excuses? Fuck you.

A team has scanned since 1994 about 800 people with MRI machines to build "fat maps" revealing where people deposit the fat. People who maintain their profile just through diet rather than exercise were found to possess higher deposits of internal fat, even if slim. "The whole concept of being fat needs to be redefined," said Bell.

Lacking a warning signal like swollen belly, thin people may be deceived by the idea that because they're not overweight, their health is strong. "Just because someone is lean doesn't make them immune to diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease," said Dr. Louis Teichholz, chief of cardiology at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey.

Bell's team discovered that even people with normal Body Mass Index (BMI) have surprisingly high levels of fat tissue: up to 45 % of the women with normal BMI scores had excessive levels of internal fat, while for men the number rose to about 60 %. These people have a too abundant diet in fat and sugars without exercising: they just do not eat enough to be fat. Many experts still regard normal values of BMI as an indicator of good health. But many doctors believe the internal fat is increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

*Indeed, experts have long known that fat but active people can be healthier than the skinny ones.*

tl;dr version: people who don't exercise are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, etc. Whether they happen to be fat or thin.
Additionally, even people who make fun of fatties say that there are exceptions because there ARE health conditions that cause obesity. If you grant this, then why would you ever make fun of a fat person? You have no way to know whether a particular fat person was lazy or just unlucky.

Fat looks fucking identical from the outside, whether it was caused by too many milkshakes or PCOS.
@18 - In a food desert, fruits and vegetables are often not even available at all, or are available at a very high cost and are probably not really fresh at all. This is a very common issue in many parts of the country.
@25 Exactly. I was just about to respond to @2 and tell him that I blame my skinniness on genetics and no one questions me. they conflate skinny with healthy.
Stretching an idea to its comic extreme is a staple of Tim Minchin, and he regularly fosters interesting dialog, so thank you, Tim!

The "take away" is not the outrageous but the subtext: Parents, PAY ATTENTION. What you do has an enormous effect on your children.
It's heartening to see how many commenters here know this is fucking bullshit. Anyone who thinks obesity has everything to do with stupidity and willpower and nothing to do with poverty and genetics is just willfully (at this point) ignorant.

Furthermore, parents shouldn't be stuffing their kids with doughnuts regardless of their weight. Nor should they be denying them all fatty treats entirely, as that essentially fetishizes them (which has happened to me with pasta--thanks carb-free mom!). And yes, this is fucking bullying, and it trickles down to anyone who's a little heavier than the ideal, so don't pretend it's out of concern.
Yep- another fat-rant from Dan, who is paranoid about becoming obese- most queers are. I agree with the Tim Minchin schtick, always having thought that glandular conditions are mostly in the elbow gland...
However, watching my obese MIL die of cancer gave me another viewpoint that I can't get rid of. She was 100+lbs overweight, but did not eat anything the last 3-4 months of her life. Nothing, and with cancer eating her alive the whole while. Yet she never lost a pound that I could tell, and was as big as always the day she died. It made me wonder if she *ever* ate all the stuff in secret that we thought she did, tho never saw happening. How can anyone live without food for 3-4 months and not lose weight? Has to be a metabolic thing.
Then there's my own experience with meds changing my metabolism...yikes!
I am now inclined to be less snobby about weight issues in others.
@3: Sometimes I think his pitbull thing is just satire, since it's the same one-sided hackery of which he accuses most marijuana-related articles. Or rather I hope that it is.

@10: Nailed it.
@29 -But what has extreme speech brought us to these days? It brought the Arizona tragedy - and that's NOT a stretch.

We need more thoughtful writers, like Ta Nehisi Coates over these guys - meaning Minchin and even our dear Dan about 50% of the time. This kind of speech is old, dangerous, and needs to stop.
For anyone, Tim and Dan included, who is genuinely concerned with the wellbeing of fat kids rather than looking for an excuse to bully them:

"A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that obese girls ages 13 to 14 are four times more likely to experience low self-esteem than non-obese girls.

The study also reported that obese boys and girls with low self-esteem had higher rates of loneliness, sadness and nervousness. These children were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol compared with obese children with normal self-esteem. Depression, often an outcome of low self-esteem, affects as many as 750,000 teens in the U.S. (Source: Pediatrics, "Childhood Obesity and Self-Esteem," January 2000.)

A recent University of Minnesota study reveals that children who were teased about being overweight were more likely to have poor body image, low self-esteem, and symptoms of depression. The study found that 26 percent of teens who were teased at school and home reported they had considered suicide, and 9 percent had attempted it. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents. (Source: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, "Associations of Weight-Based Teasing and Emotional Well-being Among Adolescents," August 2003)"

Hmm, a group of young people being teased and mistreated at school and at home being more likely to be suicidal, depressed, and abuse drugs and alcohol...what does this sound just like?
Gee, if only abstinence education had funny songs...
@18: There's also the question of time. Making food from fresh ingredients takes a lot longer than heating up something processed, or getting something at the drive-through. When it comes to food you can probably pick, at best, two out of three: quick, cheap, healthy. Working-class folks -- especially parents -- trying to make ends meet on low wages and multiple jobs have less money and less time than, probably, most folks who have time to comment on Slog.

If you want to help low-income kids get better nutrition, consider spending less time being snarky on Slog and more time supporting unions, living wages, and a decent social safety net. (I suppose I should try to take my own advice, at that.)
I've never understood the veggies==expensive thing. That's how I saved money in college -- I went vegetarian and forewent the expensive MEAT.

Now. That said, I suspect the problem is more about COOKING. Who the hell knows how to cook anymore? So cue the prepared, processed food industry, and bear in mind that over the years, the ever increasing amount of sugar (HFCS) and other additives have pretty much guaranteed that anyone whose diet is comprised solely or mostly of preprocessed food is in a huge amount of trouble.

Cook & prepare your own food -- may take some more time and may have a learning curve at the onset, but there are easy recipes for almost anything to get started on and practice will make easier. Honestly, most times I take less than 30 minutes to put a meal together. And you'll see the results. You won't even have to diet -- just eat like this and do a lot of walking and it will just happen.

(My downfall tends to be eating out with friends. Sigh.)

As far as the teasing and bullying of fat kids, I can only imagine. I remember how merciless we were in 3rd grade toward the one fat kid in the class. And when I look at kids these days, I see many more fat kids, WAY more fat than he was. It amazes me, the difference I see these days. We were so cruel to the fat kids back then, I almost can't decide if the teasing is worse these days, or if there's more acceptance of moderately fat kids (could even be both are true).
Through lifestyle changes an overweight person can become thinner but a gay person can never become more straight...don't ever conflate the two, it's just ignorant. Fat people put out these canards because it's just easier for them to blame something other than the obvious. Being overweight is definitely made simple in our society, but so obese kid is an abused kid, and it's something that can be avoided.
@18 The problem with this line of thinking is there are not two types of bodies - Morbidly obese vs healthy (skinny) bodies. There are many different shapes and sizes and people who eat healthy and work out excessively are still called "fat."
Yes, there are many issues in our country today about food availability, accessibility, and quality, but body shaming does not address them.
I'd also very much enjoy a cautionary musical tale addressing steps a parent might take to ensure their red-headed children don't attempt dreadlocks.
@38 - It's no canard. It's certainly not a perfect analogy, but it works. You're right in that a fat person can become thinner - but it's only for a time, but as I'm sure you've heard: 95% of people who lose weight gain it all back and then some within five years (this *includes* those on "sensible" diets like Weight Watchers.)

Perhaps you would not be so afraid of gay being "conflated" with fat if fat-shaming wasn't so prevalent in our culture and the cost of being considered fat weren't so high.

Anyhow, be someone who creates a culture where people who are having difficulty feeding their children well can do so. People want to raise their children well. Calling people who are having difficulty doing so "abusive" is not the answer.
@38 - Also wanted to add: We don't treat gay people properly because "they were born that way and can't help themselves." We do it (or should do it) because they are human and it's the right damn thing to do. Same goes for all humans. Even *gasp!* the F A T ones.
@38 Then I guess there's no problem that all these overweight kids want to fucking kill themselves! They deserve it, amirite? So mock them as mercilessly as you want, cuz it's not as innate as being gay!
@31 Your MIL probably had ascites, a retention of fluid in the abdomen which is a frequent symptom of end stage cancer. The person often looks like they are maintaining or even gaining weight, even though their body is actually wasting away.
Amazonvera and Rach3l bring up good points, overweight does not equal overall poor health, and "normal" weight doesn't mean healthy. It's an important point, and deserves attention; however, the song - the satirical and intentionally offensive humorous song - is talking about a very specific issue: parents who feed their kids large amounts of crappy food in the face of childhood obesity. Obesity is, in general, not good for you. It's really, really not good for kids. Parents are responsible for their children's health: they should feed them moderate amounts of nutritious food, exercise with them, take them to the doctor when they are sick, vaccinate for reasonable diseases, and have them wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Yes, many of these things are harder to do on a limited budget. It doesn't mean that the children should be fed crap and allowed to become obese (or, conversely, to not eat and be anorectic). Of course you can be thin and unhealthy, but that's not what this song is about, and pointing out the existence of unhealthy thin people doesn't help kids be healthier. There are oodles of ways to be unhealthy, but ONE of them is being fed lots of crappy food and becoming obese.
@ 45, the song is about insulting fat children for laughs, people using medical issues, genetics, and social issues like poverty as lame excuses, and how feeding children poorly is a bad idea...if they're fat. Oh, and how anyone who is seen giving their child junk food must feed them that way all the time and it's making them fat and it's going to kill them in early adulthood.

Sorry, I like Tim a lot, but pretty much the entire content of the song is ignorant, bullying crap.
Classy, 47. I'm not obese, though I was once briefly when my thyroid medication got fucked up and my weight went up 33% before they finally decided to cut my head open and remove my brain tumor. I also have two close friends who almost died from undiagnosed illnesses because they were thin, so surely one couldn't have had type 2 diabetes due to poor diet, and the other was just lucky that she ate a lot but staid very thin...until she had to be rushed to the hospital with near heart failure to have her entire thyroid removed.

Fat does not equal unhealthy, thin does not equal healthy, and neither body type is dictated by either poor or virtuous eating. Ideas to the contrary literally kill people, aside from just being shitty and ignorant.
@46, Do you think that people who feed their children too much crap are not a major problem in causing childhood obesity?

Do you really believe that food intake amount, which is limitable, is overshadowed by medical and genetic factors as the primary cause of obesity?

Do you think that parents of obese children are usually making healthy choices for their children?

I understand that weight is a complex social and scientific issue, and that it's inaccurate to assume "anyone who is seen giving their child junk food must feed them that way all the time". As people, though, we see patterns and draw conclusions: a parent giving an obese child junk food is likely to have consistently poor feeding habits for their children. That's prejudice! It's discrimination! It's also a logical conclusion that is reasonable under the circumstances and is really only problematic if it doesn't change when new information is available.
@ 49, I know that eating badly is bad for the health of all children and all people, and that health problems that can be contributed to by bad diet affect both fat and thin people. I also understand that when I'm looking at an individual fat or thin person, I have no idea if they're healthy or not, what their health does or doesn't have to do with their weight, how they eat, or how they got to be fat or thin, and it's really not my business anyway.
@amazonvera You use the overuse word "ignorant" to avoid having to face opposing views. If you have all the answers what the hell are you doing here? Go to Washington and solve it....I thought not.

Yes, the song makes some harsh, offensive, (and funny) jokes but the target of the song isn't kids but the adults who are mistreating them. Unless you want to argue that this song was written for kids' ears?

The topic here is childhood obesity so throwing up the smoke screen that we don't worry about "all children" is silly. It's just not what is being discussed. Nobody is equating body-size with health, just body composition. Obesity is a measure of the % of fat.

If I see someone hitting their kid, I'm supposed to step in. But if I see someone biggie-sizing their eight-year-old's meal that's "off limits" and shouldn't even be discussed as "bad"? Right. Even if that kid is skinny as a rail, that amount of crap-food is just not appropriate, ever.

My problem with your argument is that you want to conflate factors that affect a small percentage of people into excuses for society to do nothing; basically continue with the status-quo of hand-wringing and tip-toeing around.
@50, I appreciate that you did not claim that the conclusion I made (a parent giving an obese child junk food is likely to have consistently poor feeding habits for their children) was illogical, thank you. I also appreciate that while you state that it's "not [your] business", you don't assert that I should butt out and not make those conclusions (even if that's how you feel). This is a very emotional issue, so the civility is appreciated even if, especially if, we have such differing opinions.

I would point out that no one is saying that fat equals unhealthy, they are saying that obesity (rather than just overweight), especially in children, can be detrimental to health. Equally no one is saying thin is healthy, not even close. No one is saying that a body type is "dictated by eating habits", though many of us are saying that overeating can and does cause obesity. No one is claiming it's the only factor, but it is a major factor for most obese people. Just because obesity has multiple factors, one cannot assume that all factors are equally significant.
I'm sorry, debug, are you under the impression that he compared the parents of fat children to Jabba the Hut eating candy bars out of their fat rolls and dying in early adulthood? If you think the song is funny, you're not alone, but you trying to pretend it doesn't insult and degrade fat children is ludicrous.

A happy meal doesn't harm a kid. A doughnut doesn't harm a kid (unless they have celiac's disease or something, but that's a separate issue). When you see what someone feeds their child once in a public place, you have no idea, fat or thin, what that child's regular diet is like. So sure, you could jump in and indignantly smack the french fries out of the parent's hand and berate them for abusing their child in public, and you could do the same to smokers, people drinking alcohol, and sunbathers (I'm still waiting for the outraged shame campaign about parents who don't protect their kids from UV rays from these same people SO concerned about children's health, and yet it mysteriously never appears). Or, we could be reasonable people who see that that's illogical and impractical, not to mention illegal, and try instead to find ways to discourage those behaviors and address the root causes the contribute to them, like poverty, poor education, and a lack of access to healthcare.

Society shouldn't "do nothing." Society should take steps to encourage healthy diet and activity for all children, since all children can be affected by the problems that poor diet and low activity cause. Ignorantly (and yes, given all the information we have, it is ignorant) focusing on obesity instead puts inappropriate focus on many healthy, active kids with good diets (because god knows all the teasing, bullying, and body shame haven't already taught them that their bodies are disgusting) and leaves unhealthy, inactive thin kids with crap diets without the help that they need.
@ 52, that still doesn't explain why it's your business or what place health concerns have in a discussion about fat people when health and weight are independent concepts. And if you think people aren't saying all of those things you claim no one is saying, I'd re-read this thread, listen to the song again, and take a closer look at Dan's posts about this issue.

And for the record, the idea that a parent who gives a child junk food is routinely feeding them badly IS illogical, whether the child is fat or thin, that's just wasn't the issue in your comment that was of most concern to me. Sorry to disappoint. Almost all children are given some kind of "junk food" now and then, but not all children, fat or thin, are fed badly. My grandmother was a public health nurse specializing in nutrition and whole food, but we'd get a happy meal now and then and candy on holidays and occasional doughnuts on a Sunday morning, because she was well aware that tasty junk in moderation wasn't going to harm us when balanced with a regular healthy diet.
A happy meal doesn't harm a kid.

He didn't say "happy meal." He said "biggie-size."

And a happy meal does, in fact, harm whoever's eating it, but especially kids. That you don't know that, makes everything else you're writing about this topic not worth reading.
@55 he also didn't say doughnut or french fries. They're all examples of junk food.

Happy meals are crap and they're certainly not good for you, but no, one happy meal (or a doughnut, or french fries) doesn't cause anyone bodily harm unless they have some kind of specific disorder, which I mentioned. It's food (though barely), not poison.
So, you're saying that parents who buy their kids Happy Meals only do it once? And never again?
No, I'd assume that the vast majority of parents in America have bought their kids fast food on more than one occasion. Even my friend who's raising her kids vegetarian and organic gives her kids fast food now and again on road trips. That doesn't make it a regular or relatively frequent part of anyone's diet, which is what would make it harmful.
Then if you assume that, the example of "one happy meal" shouldn't be part of your argument.

And you're wrong that Happy Meals are only harmful if eaten frequently. And so is your vegetarian friend.

I come from a family of fatties. I was a fatty. I weighed 200lbs in high school. My parents are fat, the women of my extended family are fat. Vegetables were a scarcity. Fast food for my single (and then married to a Navy dude) mother was an easy answer.

I struggle with weight. I may not get to eat as much as I want to (oh god, do I want to) but I can eat a lot if I pick the right foods. I eat every two hours between 200 and 300 calories. It ensure I actually feel hungry right before snacks, otherwise I never feel hungry, I only want to eat.

I have to steer clear of anything sugary or fatty because I can literally eat an entire large pizza (Pagaliacci sized) or a whole cake in one sitting (it makes me terribly ill). When I do eat those things I do so when I am with other people who do not have a problem because it is an addiction and I have no control. I lost 25lbs and have maintained the weight I am at for over six years now (sometimes I am less even).

Genetics, I think, play a large part in what kind of foods you desire and how much food you desire and what how crappy your metabolism is and then poor eating habits only help to uphold and progress that unhealthy base but anyone who acts like people cannot help themselves because of their genetics need to get a grip.

They can. They just need to admit they have a problem and question why they have that problem. They have Overeaters Anonymous for a reason, you know.
My vegetarian friend doesn't give her kid happy meals (you are aware that those have meat in them, right?), and "one" doesn't mean "one ever in your life." It refers in this case to once being as many times as you see a stranger with their kid having one, fat or thin, and gives you zero idea of what their regular diet is like.
Interestingly, I sat and ate the same meal as someone else today...well, mostly. I had whole grain bread and she had white. I drank unsweetened iced tea and she had regular soda. Later, I sat in the break room with her while she had some pretzels and I had some black coffee. Then, having our first halfway-decent weather day in a while, I walked home (1.7 miles) and parted ways with her at the Metro (.2 miles of that walk). Tomorrow, I will skip happy hour and go to dance class, while she's all in for some beer pong. I'm going to venture a guess she weighs about 40 lbs. less than me (about the same height, she might be an inch shorter than me; she's 2 years younger than me, but that doesn't mean much when you're both late 20's...yes, she's really, really freaking skinny, and so many people really love that).

In a few weeks, I get to go spend some time with my brother (less than 2 years younger). I'll eat half of what he does, and walk up to the grocery store to buy some nice stuff for my "thanks for the guest room" meal, while he drives to the DQ 4 blocks away for an after-dinner treat. I'm sure that his weight being the same as mine when he's 6" taller than me is all because I'm a hog. I'm sure that his weighing less than me as a kid had to do with the fact that my mom fed him so much healthier foods than she did me...oh, and the fact that he did FEWER sports and athletic activities than I did. I'm sure the fact that my mom, who gives me the 4-year-old face when I serve her vegetables in my home, is thinner than I am is because the donuts and McDonald's she eats like it's her job are just an optical illusion worthy of David Copperfield. I'm sure that my fat grandmother snuck lots of treats that didn't exist in her home (this was the woman who would force veggies down my throat by stuffing them in my mouth and holding my nose). Even though she couldn't drive, I'm sure that she snuck off to the store and bought tons of crap when no one was watching (leaving me at home alone at 4 or 5).

And I'm not even obese. But I work my ASS off to be just ever-so-slightly overweight. Parents should stop feeding their kids large amounts of sugary and fatty crap, but not everyone can be Natalie Portman a la Black Swan. I am appalled when I see people at the grocery store buying carts full of sugary drinks and processed foods, but even the healthiest diet and plenty of exercise can't always override genetics that add a little plump to your gut or thighs or bottom. Venus de Milo would be considered fat in our culture.
amazonvera: I've conceded the song made it's point in an offensively funny way. It's obvious (to most) that it isn't meant to be played for young kids, which is why it doesn't "bully" them. You're like a politician making arguments about what is "offensive and appropriate" without taking into account context, intent, and audience.

What is your point about a single happy meal? The hypothetical obese kid could be eating an apple in a grocery store and we'd still be able to logically deduce that he's being brought up with inappropriate eating/exercise habits.

I don't think it is right to use junk food as a "special treat" for kids who are obese any more than I think the occasional drink is a fine reward for an alcoholic.

Awarding with a toy, game, or trip to a special place would be more appropriate for someone who has to retrain their mind/body to accept normal portions and develop a taste for healthy foods.
Just love the way bullying is wrong wrong wrong unless it's bullying fat kids. And fat adults. All of whom have total control over their body size and all of whom are lazy and constantly eating.
Yes, parents need to feed their kids proper foods in reasonable portions, but this is just attacking for laughs, because it lets everyone else off the hook.
Get over yourself Dan, and let the whole weight issue rest.
@11- I was a slightly chubby kid and was teased relentlessly about it. I thought I was a really fat kid, but I recently looked at some old family pictures and I was a lot less fat than the bullies had lead me to believe.

You idiots. Read Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata.

With that said, there are a lot of fatties here not taking responsibility for their bodies. Calories in vs calories out. I'm sorry that you have a lower basal metabolic rate but anyone will lose weight if calories in are less than calories out. And surprise surprise, it has to stay that way for life to keep the fat off. Also: muscle burns calories and the less you weigh the fewer calories you need to maintain body weight.

Good luck!
@ 63, whether or not material that insults fat kids or gay kids or female kids or kids of color or Jewish kids or any kind of kids is intended specifically for kids really doesn't change the fact that it insults them. And as we both know, kids will hear it and have heard it. We're on a site run by a man who runs a whole channel of online videos for kids because he knows they watch them. There is no level on which that argument works.

I'll break this down for you again - many obese people don't eat poorly. Many other obese people who do eat poorly would still be obese if they ate well, maybe just slightly less so. Many people who are thin, conversely, eat very poorly. Poor health due to poor diet will affect anyone, regardless of their weight. So no, looking at a child and seeing that they're fat DOESN'T tell us that they don't eat well. Seeing a child of any size having some junk food DOESN'T tell us that that child typically eats that way. If someone is obese and eats well, it is no more inappropriate for them to occasionally eat one unhealthy thing than it is for any of the rest of us, nor is it any more likely to impact their weight or their health. You cannot deduce anything about someone's health or eating habits by the size of their body.
Every bullying has a Cinnabun of truth, Dan. Doesn't make it any less bullying. Actually it probably makes it worse.

There are always better ways to tell the truth.
For people saying it is irrelevant that thin people can be functionally obese, I'm trying to convince Dan to shut the fuck up about fatties already. It'd be less offensive if he didn't have a pattern of this behavior, though it wouldn't be any less hypocritical.

Every time Dan marginalizes another persecuted group (like fatties or transfolk) for the sake of a laugh and a quick blog post, I become that much less inclined to donate to this year's strangercrombie. I become that much less inclined to pop up slog when I get home from work the next day. I become that much less inclined to refer Dan's column to the sexually-inhibited twentysomethings in my family and circle of friends.

Save the hate speech for the water cooler, motherfucker. You aren't only hurting yourself, here, you're hurting your potential viewership too. I know several transfolk who've been alienated by Dan's trans-hate already.
Hey fatties: It Gets Better.
I agree Dan has some hypocritical hate going on and I've seen it before.

I still have a hard time reading this apologia for obese people, though, as though an overwhelming amount of non-psychological factors beyond their immediate control conspire to prevent them losing weight or increasing lean body mass to raise their resting metabolic rate (which is what we should be teaching everyone).
There is obesity in every population in the world. Yet, compare, say, the US and Japan or even South Korea (because I know myself some chubby, but mostly healthy, Koreans!)--they're on opposite ends of the spectrum. What are the relative BMI's? Is it just a matter of poverty? What about people in China: the 200 million affluent vs. the 700 million poor? Anyway, the diet and exercise thing for all people--skinny or fat--are factors within an individual's control. And Americans appear to be really bad at actually controlling them.
As for parents who feed their kids crap: shame on them. Anecdote time! My nephew, who's very skinny by the way, has bad digestive issues. He's 5 years old and just got out of the hospital 3 weeks ago for intestinal obstruction--something that is lethal if not caught quickly. How did he get sick? His parents refuse to actually cook any vegetables. No canned, no frozen, no fresh. No veggies. They also just gave him laxatives after his little hospital visit. It's stupid and he's going to have health issues for life because mom and dad couldn't be bothered to stop feeding him cheesy pasta and fries or balance that out a little.
America, the land of no personal responsibility and "my thyroid made me eat it." Now, its ok to set your child up for a lifetime of weight issues because "How dare you judge how I feed me child!" Please. All this rationalizing about fat heathy people and skinny unhealthy people and everyone can still tell you'd rather not be fat. Why not take some responsibility for you an your family's health? It's too hard? Ah yes, the American way.
In this song, isn't it possible that Minchin is merely showing the parents what the kids on the playground will call their kids? If the parents cringe and get angry when they hear Minchin's hateful words, maybe they'll realize the abuse that they're setting their kids up for. He's showing them the reality of their kids' lives.

Couldn't it be possible that this is the reason and point of his words? Because that's what satirists do. They hold a mirror up to society and say, "Yes. This is you."
Hey, gang. Skimmed the comments, running out the door.

Don't have a Google search on "childhood obesity," but might get one. The story I linked to was everywhere yesterday -- front page of NYT business section, WSJ, AP -- which is how I stumbled over it.

As for my relentless harping away on this issue -- my constant badgering of obese people -- well, gee. There must have dozens of examples from, say, just the last six months of posts I've written for Slog where I go off on fat people. Please provide the links. I'd like to read all those fat-bashing posts that I don't remember writing.

Finally, people shouldn't feed crap to their children. Treats, sure, occasional indulgences, yes. But a steady diet of garbage harms a child's health -- whether the results are visible or not.

Have a great day! I'll come back later to peruse all those links to my fat bashing posts from the last six months. Hell -- make it the last year's worth of fat-bashing posts. There must be HUNDREDS. Please find 'em, hold me accountable!
Gay kids and overweight kids have much more in common than not. Why someone like Dan Savage--a true advocate against the bullying of gay kids--would not take seriously the issue of bullying overweight kids baffles me. In fact, he doesn't even think it's bullying, it is just "nearly bullying". Why is it not bullying? Because being gay is okay and being fat isn't? Does it have something to do with choice? Anyone that says fat kids should simply lose the weight in order to avoid bullying no longer have the right to say that gay kids should be able to express their sexuality however they choose. Why don't gay kids just start acting more straight, dressing more straight, and stopping being so gay? We don't ask that of gay children, and we shouldn't ask it of overweight children.

I'm starting to question how Dan actually feels about the way bullying affects kids as they grow up, and it's a half assed endorsement of anti-bullying to say we should only stop bullying the kids who are different in the same ways we're different.
Gay kids and overweight kids have much more in common than not. Why someone like Dan Savage--a true advocate against the bullying of gay kids--would not take seriously the issue of bullying overweight kids baffles me. In fact, he doesn't even think it's bullying, it is just "nearly bullying". Why is it not bullying? Because being gay is okay and being fat isn't? Does it have something to do with choice? Anyone that says fat kids should simply lose the weight in order to avoid bullying no longer have the right to say that gay kids should be able to express their sexuality however they choose. Why don't gay kids just start acting more straight, dressing more straight, and stopping being so gay? We don't ask that of gay children, and we shouldn't ask it of overweight children.

I'm starting to question how Dan actually feels about the way bullying affects kids as they grow up, and it's a half assed endorsement of anti-bullying to say we should only stop bullying the kids who are different in the same ways we're different.
sorry my comment was posted twice.
I see chubby children with obese parents all the time and I inevitably think, "You're doomed."

The fat woman in front of me was being checked out. The clerk leaned in my direction and away from her in order to empty her cart. I whispered to the clerk, "An obvious cook." The clerk was scanning one frozen pizza after another, a whole cart full of frozen pizzas, the rest of the woman's cart was all commercially prepared frozen foods. The clerk cracked up laughing. He glanced at the contents of my cart coming up next. The contrast could not have been more stark. I actually do feel very sorry for children with parents who themselves do not know about proper food preparation or nutrition. Their children suffer for all their parent's ignorance and then pass it on.

I see the problem as not just a heavy reliance on fast foods but on all convenience foods in general. Beware anything prepared that comes in a box, and that's pretty much everything. Think: What came before the box? Before the tin? Then make an attempt to eliminate all of it and reconnect to the basic ingredients that predated its commercialization. X out of you life; Hamburger Helper, potato flakes, pudding cups, NoodleRonis, tempura mixes, fish-n-chip packages, potato flakes, sauce packages, bottled dressings, prepared cookie dough, prepared pie crust, prepared pie filling, soup in tins, anything pasta frozen or otherwise because it's just so convenient, and on and on and on. Learn to make all those things from scratch, that's what food is about.
I WILL NOT BE IGNORED (sent from my iphone app)!!!!!

Now that I have your attention....but what about the Minchin-fesival earplugs? Did Terry want them??
I realize that, @76, as I was gay and obese as a kid. I was bullied for being heavy until I started to lose weight. Then I was bullied for being a fag.

Now please cite evidence that I've bullied gay kids—besides posting this Minchin song, which I labeled as bullying. It does pop into my head when I read about childhood obesity, however, which is why I tossed it up.
Canuck, he referred to my comment's snarky Google Alert reference! I WAS NOT IGNORED and now, of course, I know I should have been....
I work in a pizza restaurant.

People buy entire 12" pizzas for five year olds.

I feel guilty that I let them.

And about 2/3 of my closest friends qualify as obese.

They all eat too fucking much and refuse to make vegetables.

It's too hard to cook right. To eat right. None of it tastes good. But when we have them over to dinner - which we do often - everyone eats everything. All the hippie dippie low fat whole grain high veggie shit we prepare. I think it's because we use these things called seasoning and imagination.

Yeah, yeah. It's complicated. People still ask if I'm on my diet - that thing where I eat real food (and a fucking lot of it) and exercise a lot and don't eat sugar or processed food.

Yeah. Still on it. Not a fucking diet. Just life.

God, I miss seven kinds of cheese in the fridge...
@ 81, no, Dan, you posted it as "nearly bullying" and then lauded it's Cinnabuns of truth.

Can you find hundreds of independent examples from the past year of Rick Santorum ragging on gay people, Dan? Can you find hundreds of independent examples from the past year of Rush Limbaugh ragging on Black people? How many times to you need to insult a group that already gets insulted, made fun of, bullied, and marginalized every single day before it's not okay? How large a risk of suicide do the youth of that community need to be at before it's not okay? How much more evidence do we need that the problems being ascribed to these people by critics masking their hate with concern don't actually apply to many of them and DO apply to many of those criticizing them before we admit that that kind of criticism is ignorant?
All I've learned from this thread is that we as a country are not serious about solving the obesity problem, which shortens lives and costs all of us as tax payers in the same way that smoking does.

We can't even agree that it is a problem with the crazy idea of healthy-obesity (especially in children) is being floated about.
GUS! You are famous now! (...and I did notice his/your Google reference, but jealous, self-absorbed Leo-slut that I am, had to get my earplug question in again...which *was* ignored...) Just don't forget those who have been with you since the beginning, you know, your shot buddies? The ones who got their Strangercrombie badge just a few minutes before you know? Nudge nudge, wink wink, riding on your coattails to fame and glory...!
honestly, even if this is the only post dan has ever made making or endorsing fat-phobic comments, it's one too many. there's a lot of factors that can lead to obesity, including poor eating habits, but that doesn't mean we should be judging people immediately or bullying them based on how they look. i grew up always chubby. i've since started watching what i eat and working out, and while i've toned up a bit, i'm still fat. i'm also, according to my doctor, totally healthy. i know this is anecdotal, but i can't be the only one. so hearing stuff like this from typically intelligent, sensitive people makes me sad.
no one who's morbidly obese eats healthy or exercises. NO ONE. jeez I'm ignorant
My Mother was/is a very good cook when she wants to be. But most of the time she just slapped stuff together: Lots of ground beef, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinner, frozen vegetables, and other stuff like that. But always a green salad and hardly ever a desert. And just enough food for a family of four - not a whole lot of seconds or leftovers.

We were big on dining out, but we tended to go to grown-up places where the portions weren't huge and it wasn't particularly "family friendly": I remember being incredibly bored while the adults lingered over coffee and cigarettes after dinner, but in retrospect I value the civilizing effect it had on me, and the opportunity to develop my imagination. Plus, the 60's and 70's was the era of campy, over-the-top dining rooms full of chandeliers and poufy drapes, so at least I was in an aesthetically comforting environment for me.

Nowadays, the corporate restaurants are so yuck: The enviroment is childish - even at the expensive places - and the food tends to be fatty and either too sweet or too salty, and the portions are huge. Soda, which was a once-a-week treat for us, is served at every meal. The sort of processed food my mom used to serve us is laden with even more crap than it was then, and kids just don't get the exercise they used to. It seems like even in the suburbs, kids don't walk to school - they get chauffeured everywhere. And if we sat around the non air-conditioned house all day in the summertime, my mom would have had a breakdown. She used to kick us out of the house after breakfast and expect us home for dinner. But we had a huge park bordering our property with lots of trails to play on. Also, in Iowa at least, you have Physical Education every day, with sadistic PE teachers who made you do all sorts of horrible things. But it kept us active during the school year.

So I can't blame the fat kids for being fat, and it's hard to blame the parents. It's just part of the dumbing down of society. And only a bore would bully.

As far as cooking goes, I don't know what I'd do with myself in the evenings if I didn't have dinner to cook - especially during these long winter evenings. But then again, I like to cook. (That’s not nearly as virtuous as it sounds. I'm one of those cream-of-mushroom soup casserole types)
Well, there is a Cinnabun of truth to it. Or two.

I'm a parent, and I see what many other parents are up to, what they're feeding their kids. It's particularly problematic when these kids come to our house for dinner and encounter their first meal that doesn't feature/isn't limited to pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, or hotdogs. Oh, the number of kids who've encountered salad for the first time at our place. I wish I'd videotaped some of their reactions.
@91 That's kind of scary...and you live in a fairly "enlightened" part of the country, at that. Same thing at our house, but with whole wheat bread. No wonder the "Wal-Martians" website is so prolific...
I don't understand. Isn't the point of feeding donuts and fast food to obese children to replenish the supply of nutrient-starved, brain-challenged Transportation Security Agents that diminishes from diabetes and cardiac arrests? Aren't these addlepated, applewaisted people "farmed" by both the U.S. and the U.K. to fight the "war on terror" by removing leg braces from developmentally disabled preschoolers and gel implants from octogenarian citizens who are breast cancer survivors?
Oh, the number of kids who've encountered salad for the first time at our place.

That is heartbreaking.

I can't tell you the number of times I've heard parents say, "Little Precious is a picky eater. She/he will only eat McDonald's." Parents who allow that and cater to it are worse than useless.
@ 91, and as we all know, many kids who are fed garbage are not fat, which doesn't stop them from getting heart disease or diabetes.

I have zero problem with highlighting the fact the there's a HUGE problem in this country, one that we know affects the vast majority of Americans, with people regularly eating terrible "food" that is literally killing them. However, it's completely illogical as a justification for shaming fat people and insulting fat children. In fact, by contributing to body shame that leads to an increase in diet-based obesity and obese teen suicide, depression, and substance abuse AND leading thin people or parents with thin children to think that bad diet isn't hurting them/their kids because they're not fat, that piece of ignorance literally kills people.
As a flight attendant, I can't count the number of times I've had to put child-friendly lids on drink cups that held soda pop for children young/small enough to be in baby seats on flights. AT SEVEN IN THE MORNING.

If I see a parent physically abusing their child with either their hands or their words, I'm required to take action according to guidelines set up the government. If I see a parent abusing their child with sugary drinks and prepackaged snacks, I'm required to offer seconds.
Dan, you are quite in shape for someone I see at the gym on your iPhone constantly ;)
Okay Dan, here's an example, and the conversation that ensued:…
To me, there is a huge difference between fat and obese. My brother was "husky", didn't get fat until after leaving the Navy, and bordered obese much later in life (now has two artificial hips from the wear and tear). I don't worry too much about the healthy looking husky kids, or even the fat teens - it is those truly rolly polly obese little kids that break my heart. I jumped back in, like Dan, just to remind parents once again to PAY ATTENTION, that's all.
@96 just because someone lets their kid have some pop on an airplane does NOT indicate that they have a habit of allowing their kids to drink pop. Nor is it fucking child abuse. How irrational can you get?

Most people fly every few years, at the MOST. Flying is a very traumatic experience for a child, when it's their first flight. A parent who wouldn't let their kid have a treat during a traumatic experience is more likely to be the abusive one.
Oops, that was more than a year ago.
@11, I totally know where you're coming from. I live in Cornwall and spent $100 on veggies on my last grocery shop. Note I didn't buy any meats (I'm trying a more vegetarian diet to help deal with my weight issues). It's insane. I could have bought a shit load of instant dinners for that.
When I was a cab driver, I had a customer who was extremely obese. He was way over 300 pounds. On the way to his girlfriend's house, he had me stop at a KFC, where he ordered a big bag full of some kind of chicken tender type of thing. "Boneless drummies" or something. Like, several orders worth. He offered me some, but I said no thanks. (I myself was trying to avoid fast food, since I was working my way down from 280 to 230, where I remain.) He got quiet for about two minutes, and then said, "I'm so fat." That was all he said for the rest of the ride.
Just yesterday the nice lady at the daycare cheerfully announced that my 10-month-old daughter just loooooved the apple juice they'd given her. What's wrong with water? I politely asked that she not give her juice again, but I'm astonished at the shit those people think is food. When I warned them that she'd recently had lentils and not to worry if her poop was lentil-y (you have to have these sorts of conversations when you have a baby), the nice lady asked, "What's that?"

*forehead smack*

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