This is a post about image and health.
Fat is getting such a bad rap nowadays. With social media and all of that ‘pop culture’ stuff going on, people are getting such a warped view about how they ‘should’ look like.
I just got home after being at the doctor’s office with my squirrels (little brother and sister) and my mom.
There were a few things that irked me a bit.
This is a picture of my family. I’m on the far right. There are my parents, my older brother, and my squirrels.
Ronald is 56 inches tall, 10 years old, still growing, I expect him to reach past 5’10”. I’m 5’6.5″ (with shoes) as of today. He’s 104 pounds, which I have to admit is a lot more than I was. He’s in the fourth grade right now, and I think I might have been around 90ish pounds when I was youngin’ like him. The thing is that I know he’s a lot bigger than kids in his grade, and age. But he is definitely not fat or obese. And one thing that I really hate, how can you tell a kid that he is fat or obese? There are so many issues of self image that kids deal with. I remember all those things that kids used to call me, and how they made fun of my “flat face,” or when they would do a pig impression or some shit like that. It really sucks. It takes time for someone to realize the power that their words can have over people.
One thing that I love about my mom is that nothing really affects her. She’s so firm on her views that she can listen to shit from anyone, and she can just move on because no matter what anyone says, nothing can change her. On the other hand, I can’t tell my mom anything that will change her mind about anything, especially since I don’t have any official papers that prove anything. So definitely a doctor’s advice has slightly more weight than mine. Which makes sense, because obviously if I don’t have a piece of paper, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
My pediatrician told my mom that my little brother is in the 95th percentile on a Body Mass Index (BMI) Growth Chart. A 95th percentile means that you are in the top 5%. So out of 100 kids, Ronald would rank higher on BMI than 94 other kids. Similar to high school and college, people usually want to be in say that top 1% of their class. This would translate to the 99th percentile.
CDC states, “The use of BMI allows people to compare their own weight status to that of the general population.” But, “BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool.” Some people just don’t understand that BMI, although does have merit, is a really skewed measure that is designed (not on purpose) to make people feel worse about themselves unless fully understood. Especially for kids, and here’s why.
Kids are always growing until some age that scientists say is the general age. Somewhere around 21 years of age for males. No idea for females. Consequently, BMI is measured relative to years of age for children. What is really skewed is that, without a doubt, kids grow a lot in an entire year. Take for example my myself, born in September. If I were 10 years old, and my BMI was measured relative to kids also born in the year 1994, it’s no wonder that I have always been considered underweight compared to the average kids who were born an entire three months earlier. Three months might not seem like a lot, but remember the time where you were out of school for the summer, and when you came back all of your friends were a lot taller and bigger? That’s what three months can do. This is something that isn’t taken into consideration with BMI for children due to convenience. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to take the year someone was born, height, and age and find some correlation, in comparison to considering 12 different graphs for each month a child was born. Which is totally okay if people understand this. But many people don’t.
Ronald is born in February, which is why he’s a lot bigger and taller and muscular compared to kids of his age/grade. This is why he’s in the 95th percentile, not because he is fat, but because he has had four months longer to grow with respect to the average kid. I can’t explain this to him. I can’t explain that he isn’t fat. I can’t tell him that he is perfectly ‘normal’ (but if anything way better than normal). I can’t explain this to my mom either, who tells him to stop eating so much because he’s going to get fat. I do admit that he has a huge appetite, but that’s only because of the 3 or 4 martial arts that he does daily, on top of being in the after-school program everyday until 6pm.
What I really hate, is that a fucking number just told my little bro that he is fat. And just because my mom and my doctor believe in this number, he believes it too.