I am sure you have heard by now about the debate regarding Mrs. Obama and her daughters. Her pediatrician alerted her recently that her daughters were on the verge of obesity. Mrs. Obama has decided to discuss it with the world.
Here is my two cents on this.
I do believe our society needs a bit of a "wake up" call regarding weight, body image, obesity AND eating disorders (There are many eating disorders besides just Anorexia)! But, crying outrage against obesity from the president might or might not be the way to go about it. We will have to wait and see.
What I think is more crucial is the education piece! Maybe before she announced to the world that her daughters were at risk she should have done some research regarding eating disorders as well as the delicate issue surrounding talking to her daughters about food and body image. Maybe she should have thought of how that kind of public scrutiny would affect her daughters.
Do I think her daughters are MORE at risk to develop an eating disorder because she is publicly talking about their weight? Nope. That is where public needs more education. Remember this is just my opinion :).
But, eating disorders happen in all types of families. They can happen when the Mom has an eating disorder, when the Mom is critical, and when none of that is present. It is true that the mothers (and fathers) eating habits as well as attitudes around body image and weight will affect the children in some way. BUT...they DON'T cause eating disorders. They may cause insecurity with weight, body, and yo-yo dieting. But they DON'T cause eating disorders. I (and many in the eating disorder community believe an eating disorder is a disease and the person must first have a pre-disposition towards addictive behavior. Then, combine that with an overly critical mother and an overwhelming set of circumstances and the eating disorder can for sure take root, but you really need the pre-disposition to addictive behavior – FIRST.
You see...not all college students who drink become alcoholics. Not all children of alcoholics become alcoholics. But, for those with the addictive pre-disposition and/or genetic make-up they will be much more at risk to develop an addiction. So, if the Obama's daughters have this pre-disposition and they are looking for a negative coping skill that is pretty easy to pick up, they might develop an eating disorder.
An eating disorder is an addiction. It is also a way to cope. Just because Michelle Obama is putting their weight in the spotlight does not mean they are going to develop an eating disorder.
Ok, now here is where some of you might not agree. But, if one of her daughters does develop an eating disorder (which I would hope and pray not) having the First Family address an issue and maybe put money to an issue that is affecting millions of men and women might not be a bad thing. Sorry, but it is true!
In conclusion, I was saddened by her comments mostly because it is embarrassing for her daughters. What is she going to announce next, when they have their periods? And, I hope what comes out of this is better education about eating disorders, better education for our society about positive coping skills, and more money to fund eating disorder research as well as eating disorders being recognized as a disease by insurance companies.
Hope this helps!
Would love to hear your thoughts!