As the new mum to a gorgeous baby girl I was horrified this week to read that over half of all three to six year old girls think they are fat. Fat? At three? I don't think I even knew was fat was when I was ten never mind three. And I didn't grow up that many years ago.
In fact, I was a child in the eighties with my teenage years played out across the nineties. And yes, I do remember worrying about my weight, but only when I got to sixteen and discovered boys. Looking back it's scandalous that I even thought I was 'fat' then. A mere size eight I was in fact probably too thin!
So to think that our little ones are now developing body issues at such a young age scares the life out of me. Being a child is all about having fun, and NOT worrying about anything at all, never mind weight.
Part of me hates to say it but I believe that school policy regarding snacks is somewhat to blame. I say part of me because I am a huge advocate of healthy eating and definitely believe in the old adage everything in moderation. However, I've heard my friends with children talk about how strict the schools now are about break time snacks and I wonder if it's their over-zealous approach that has kids paranoid.
They are constantly being told that crisps and sweets are bad for you, that it's unhealthy to be overweight and it is only a matter of time before the constant bombardment starts to take its toll. Growing up we were never denied anything, my mum cooked us good home-cooked meals every night and she always said, 'once the treats are gone, they're gone' - ie. if we wanted them all on day one then don't be asking for more on day two when there was none left!
Personally I can safely say that I spent my university years worrying about my weight more than at any other time in my life - and it's when I put most on - I blame the drink! Now, one baby down, I am more happy with my shape than ever before - and that's despite the stretch marks and the toll pregnancy and labour has inevitably had on me. I can only hope that my precious daughter follows my relatively positive outlook as regards her weight because 'fat' at three just isn't sitting well with me at all!