Should parents be accountable for fat kids?

June 9th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

As some doctors here for for taxes and bans on certain food and drinks, Cristina Odone has a different solution – hold parents responsible, rather than advertisers.

She writes in The Telegraph:

“What do we hate? The Nanny state!” might be a suitable marching song for conservatives — until, that is, children’s well-being is compromised. When parents abuse their role as their child’s protectors the state is right to intervene. Which is why the couple in Norfolk, arrested for allowing their son’s weight to reach 15 stone, should face court.

The son is aged only 11. To be 95 kgs at 11 years old is horrendous. He’s only five feet tall.

Imagine parents who regularly gave their son heroin; or a bottle of vodka. Anyone observing such behaviour would instinctively call the police to save the child. The same now has to be true of a child whose parents are feeding him too many of the wrong things. We now know that food — junk food, fatty food, sugar, additives  – can prove as damaging to a child’s health as heroin or alcohol. Indeed, sugar is so toxic that experts claim it is as bad as tobacco: it leads not only to , but to diabetes too.

Parents who ignore these facts and ply their children with excess food (or just really bad food) are abusing their children as clearly as those who let them take drugs. In the case of the couple in Norfolk, their son suffers from autism: he is all the more at the mercy of his parents’ care. They defend his weight by claiming that it is down to bad genes. Wrong: it’s down to the parents.

Genes of course play a part. But they don’t get you that large at age 11.

The pressure is on to change Britons’ diet. Sadly, the best way forward is to scare the living daylights out of parents who have been too lazy to monitor their child’s eating. The threat of a prison sentence, and of social services taking the child in care, sound draconian but might prove the only solutions.

There is a point where it probably does become .

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50 Responses to “Should parents be accountable for fat kids?”

  1. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    Why just fat kids?

    Parents need to be held responsible for far more than that.

    Tagging, car theft, burglary, truancy.

    Where to start?

    The issue is parenting and moral decline overall rather than responsibility.

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  2. mike tan (485 comments) says:

    Smokers are demonized. High time we focus on other unhealthy behaviors (or give up the moral police attitude altogether).

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  3. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    OMG – make parents responsible for their kids rather than the state – No… it’s against human nature !

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  4. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    Burt, you’re a philistine.

    Hillary has already told you-

    “It takes a village”..

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  5. Ryan Sproull (7,128 comments) says:

    “It takes a village”..

    Yes. And states aren’t villages.

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  6. Shazzadude (529 comments) says:

    “Why just fat kids?

    Parents need to be held responsible for far more than that.

    Tagging, car theft, burglary, truancy.

    Where to start?

    The issue is parenting and moral decline overall rather than responsibility.”

    Parents usually have more control over what their kids eat than what they do when out of their sight.

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  7. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Yeah it takes a village. Lets start with allowing people in the village to call fat kids fat ! Oh hang on, the little fat kids might not feel very nice about that – lets give the state control all of our diets so that no fat kids ever needs to face the reality of being called fat.

    FFS – If we cared about kids and we believed it took a village – we wouldn’t bypass the village and go directly for the state !

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  8. Nigel Kearney (1,012 comments) says:

    I think parents should decide.

    But if we are going to start expanding the ‘child abuse’ label to justify the state taking over from parents, it’s much worse to let a kid watch too much TV than to let them get fat. They can lose weight but they can’t ever get back those years of formative brain development. Locking up parents for not reading their kids enough books would make more sense than intervening in this sort of situation.

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  9. Tarquin North (297 comments) says:

    In Kim Dotcoms case, definitely.

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  10. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    looks like the safety net of the welfare state is going to need stronger netting if these obesity rates keep going up.

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  11. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Utter fascism.

    And who will define obese? The social services in Britain have been rightly hammered in the past for their intrusiveness into priavte lives.

    One pound over a set wight and height index and ‘You’re nicked”

    I now look forward to the McCanns being nicked by the Portugese police for gross neglect ,leaving a child alone while they went out on the piss.

    Where do we draw the line?

    I know lots of chubby kids from great families ,this is utter bollox.

    Where will it end ? Uh look you smoke in the same car.Uh look you swear in front of the kids. Uh look you put sugar on their over sugared cereal.

    How about the “emotional abuse” (UK introducing that as a crime ) Hey darling you’re a bit over weight ,Daddy could get nicked” Waaaaaaah, Daddy’s going to jail cos of me”…….Plod at door,can’t cause psychological abuse mate, you’re nicked.

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  12. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    It depends on definition of Fat my youngest was the most rotund of them all the kids all teased him. When he got to 12 he stopped growing side ways and grew up . he is now a tall handsome kid very active and that which was a wide waist for a 12 yr old at 4 foot 6 is trim on a 22 year old at 6 foot 3 .

    Other kids who were skinny at that time are now lumps of lard .

    Not all kids are created equal and we have to be careful as to what we define as fat.

    there is not a standard build for kids ( or any one ) there are many body shapes.

    as meat loaf once said 2 out of 3 aint bad fit and Healthy is a great 2/3 for some one considered fat by others , its much better than being skinny and ill – anorexia can be fatal.

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  13. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    The kids who come to school with bags of crisps and giant bottles of fizzy drinks (and never have money for school trips) come from homes where there’s a lot worse going on than bad food. The kids aren’t all fat either – the skinny neglected child is also a heartbreaking sight.

    But what about people like my middle-class, educated family? Fat all our lives but fizzy drinks only on our birthday, no fast food at all in childhood or adulthood, everything cooked from scratch, home-grown veg and a full fruit bowl. We follow all the rules but the whole family has a weight problem – on excellent food following the rules. One of us stuck religiously to an 800 calorie diet for two weeks and put on weight!

    The Food Stasi want simple solutions that line their own pockets, punish the poor and poke big business in the eye. We should resist the bastards with all our might.

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  14. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Of course if being fat is such a health risk we’ll probably all drop dead before we take our pensions, need rest home care etc etc. Though my very well fed, portly parents lived healthily into their 90’s and died peacefully in their sleep.

    I am dying to see the list of taxed foods – honey? jam? butter? bread? ice-cream? yoghurt? bananas? steak? salmon? Lots of high fat and high sugar foods we think are good for us!

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  15. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Of course parents are responsible. Fat kids do not do the grocery shopping. Fat kids do not decide what is being dished up for dinner.

    But of course, I do not think that it is the place of the state to be enforcing diets.

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  16. georgebolwing (846 comments) says:

    Once again, people are jumping to the conclusion that self-harm needs to be prevented.

    This is what conservatism is all about: conservatives have a (usually narrow) view of acceptable behaviour and everyone who doesn’t comform to that standard needs to be brought into line. As discussed on another thread, this is currently often expressed as “taking responsibility”.

    Leaving aside the issue of publicly funded health care (which could be easily addressed by a bit of experience rating on premiums), what business is it one anyone if I want to lead a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle?

    I can accept that parents probably should have an obligation not to make irrevokable choice for their children, but apart from that, I think that liberty is liberty.

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  17. mike tan (485 comments) says:

    George:

    I think the issue of publicly funded health care is the crux of the issue. Given that risk is being pooled and distributed throughout society, it follows that society should have an influence on behaviors which lead to negative outcomes.

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  18. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    what is the definition of Fat here ?

    perhaps education is the key .. go into any dairy and you will find sugary foods are cheaper than ” healthy foods ”

    Wheat and grains are the real issues and we should not be feeding kids bulk wheatbix

    the food pyramid was put together by an advertising team of the wheat board
    the sugar industry is massive, sugar is in almost everything now even our seasonings.

    People are confused even people on this forum salmon is healthy Fat does not make you fat check out the beta oxidation for cells and you will see that starches and sugars convert to fat .

    Bread is dangerous I’ve done a little research, and what I’ve discovered should make anyone think twice….

    More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters.
    Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
    In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations.
    More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
    Bread is made from a substance called “dough.” It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!
    Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low occurrence of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis.
    Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after only two days.
    Bread is often a “gateway” food item, leading the user to “harder” items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter and even cold cuts.
    Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
    Newborn babies can choke on bread.
    Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
    Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

    In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

    No sale of bread to minors.
    No advertising of bread within 1000 feet of a school.
    A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
    No animal or human images, nor any primary colours (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.

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  19. Harriet (4,969 comments) says:

    “……Leaving aside the issue of publicly funded health care (which could be easily addressed by a bit of experience rating on premiums), what business is it one anyone if I want to lead a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle?…”

    But that IS the issue George. Some people bludge an unhealthy lifestyle off the public!

    Smokers don’t. Drinkers don’t. Sugar eaters don’t -as far as dentistry goes- as they pay for their dental healthcare.

    But gays/hypersexuals and the overweight bludge their lifestyles off the public. They get sick, get looked after, and then they go right back to their irresponsable behaviours!..

    Gays/hypersexuals and fat people need a ‘price point’ to stop them from being irresponsable. However, fattys already do have that with GST being at 15%.
    Gays/hypersexuals is where healthcare costs can be saved. These people are well overdue in having their irresponsable ways bought under control.
    Taxpayers should not be paying for the unhealthy lifestyles of gays/hypersexuals.

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  20. jem (51 comments) says:

    “Should parents be accountable for fat kids?”

    Come now! We live in a society bred to blame others for their own faults and failings!
    Of course its not the parents fault!

    I blame the Nat government. They clearly aren’t doing enough…. Free liposuction for all kids under 10 I say!!!!! ;)

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  21. georgebolwing (846 comments) says:

    I am not sure that conservatives are promoting their particualr brand of desirable behaviour in responce to the distroted economic incentives created by the public health system.

    Anyway, surely the best solution to the distroted economic incentives created by the public health system is to change those incentives, via experience rating, rather than add a further layer of government intervention. It seems very odd to me to be saying, in effect, “Yes, we know that because we provide universal health care people have a clear incentive to act in ways that damage their health becuase they don’t suffer the full financial cost of their decisions, so lets set up another set of rules that attempt to make everyone make what others consider to be the right decisions”.

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  22. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Wheat and grains are the real issues and we should not be feeding kids bulk wheatbix

    what absolute trype.

    Grains have been staple foods forever. Grains are staple foods in countries of famines.

    Having been born in a bakery and eaten and still eat grain products forever along with the pies and cakes et al and still being only 10 kg heavier now than as a teen it ain’t done me no harm. Mind you I also have cholesterol high enough to give my cardiologist apoplexy and no heart disease to speak of. Funny that.

    and most of your diatribe is just that. Unmitigated rubbish. iT AIN’T THE BREAD THAT KILLS YA IT’S THE SALT AND THE GLUCOSE SUPPLEMENTS USED.
    Oh and the cheese you slobber on those bread rolls from subway.
    What a fucking idiot.

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  23. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Viking2

    Only bread knitted at home is good – when a company is making money from selling bread it’s bad. It’s not about the food – it’s about state control and command. Wait for KiwiFood policy which mandates state production of all food items in plain packages.

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  24. wikiriwhis business (3,996 comments) says:

    There is such a thing as genes which produce over weight kids.

    Obesity in this country is largely due to the ever growing low decile sector not being able to afford nutricious food because of the huge closures of production lines etc in the unsubstantial job market.

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  25. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    I don’t think the food is as much to blame, but the lack of activity certainly is.

    Kids don’t walk to or from school, many don’t play sports. After school many plonk themselves in front of TV or the PC/Playstation and don’t get up again until its bed time.

    Apart from the fact that physical activity uses energy – its also pretty hard to eat when you’re running around.

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  26. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Hey, I agree with Judith on this one, activity levels are much lower than they used to be. Too many possible diversions inside what with game consoles and the like.

    But some people get fat/stay thin almost regardless of their physical activity levels; genetics does play a part as well as eating habits.

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  27. kowtow (8,444 comments) says:

    Not able to afford nutricous food?

    Apples cheap as chips. 20 eggs for $5-6 . Tinned toms ,less than $1. 10 kilos spuds less than $10.

    Cheap ,nutricous and can’t be fricken bothered.

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  28. Redbaiter (8,810 comments) says:

    “I think the issue of publicly funded health care is the crux of the issue.”

    And this is yet another example of why publicly funded health should never exist.

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  29. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    It’s not just exercise. The crisps and Coke kids all walk to school. I biked to and from school and home for lunch every day too. I even biked to university and to part-time jobs.
    When we got home after school mum would kick us outside and we’d play with the kids in the street.
    Still fat.
    There’s more than a whiff of class here too but really aren’t our so-called poor lucky to be fat? The kids I saw in the Third World were skin and bone.

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  30. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    Not vaccinating your kids is child abuse.

    Allowing your kids to eat too much crap food is just slack parenting.

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  31. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    “Apples cheap as chips.”

    Maybe the problem is that chips are cheap as apples…

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  32. IC5000 (111 comments) says:

    “jem (44 comments) says:
    June 9th, 2014 at 3:28 pm
    “Should parents be accountable for fat kids?”

    I blame the Nat government. They clearly aren’t doing enough…. Free liposuction for all kids under 10 I say!!!!! ;)”

    True, you only have to see the size of Cameron Slater to know that National Party members can’t even keep their own house in order.

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  33. Griff (7,686 comments) says:

    Yes retardist redbaiter we all know that the USA and its private health care system costs are the highest in the western world @ 17.5% of GDP yet its overall health statistics are not any better than any other country in fact are below most western country’s with far cheaper public health care cost of around 10% of GDP.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_%28PPP%29_per_capita
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy
    http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/health/

    Redbaiter wants to spend more money for less outcome

    Reality and your politics are not in the same space time continuum.

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  34. IC5000 (111 comments) says:

    Well Wussel was never one to let reality get in the way of his ideological vision. He reminds me of the lyrics of that Placebo song ‘Every You Every Me’ -‘All alone in space and time, there’s nothing here but what here’s mine’

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  35. nasska (11,478 comments) says:

    Griff

    Baity advocates a system where kids born into poor families will be equal…..equal that is to the poor little buggers entrusted to the Bon Secour nuns.

    I’d rather pay tax than have that on my conscience.

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  36. Albert_Ross (291 comments) says:

    Griff, the US is not the only alternative model to publicly funded healthcare.

    George:

    conservatives have a (usually narrow) view of acceptable behaviour and everyone who doesn’t comform to that standard needs to be brought into line

    Nonsense. The doctrine of “taking responsibility” does not mandate particular behaviours by individuals; instead it declines to rescue individuals from any negative consequences of those behaviours. Whereas socialism has no faith in individuals’ capacity to take decisions for themselves and so seeks to decide everything for them.

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  37. Steve (North Shore) (4,560 comments) says:

    First they came for your smokes, then your alcohol, now your fizzies and chocolate.
    Won’t be able to burp or fart soon unless you pay a tax to those who lobby for control

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  38. OneTrack (3,089 comments) says:

    The solution is for all the families with obese kids to give their food to the families living in poverty. Win-win.

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  39. Odakyu-sen (646 comments) says:

    “The solution is for all the families with obese kids to give their food to the families living in poverty.”

    The problem is that some of the families with obese kids are also the families living in poverty.

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  40. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    @BeaB, 800 Calorie s and put on weight? I think not.

    Food still counts if no one sees you eat it.

    There were no people with slow metabolism or glandular issues in Auswichz.

    Fat people eat too much, its that simple. Some of them lie to themselves about it though

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  41. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    Phew bro’s if folks is held accountable for their fat kids who’s going to subsidise the butcher for having to dump all them pork bones and pigs head’s eh? :)

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  42. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    Alan’s on to it. No fat bastards in Auschwitz.

    If you eat like a pig you end up looking like a pig.

    You’re not “big boned” or “have a Polynesian build”!

    You’re a fat, greedy cunt! :)

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    You can get charged with a serious crime for smacking a naughty toddler on the bum. The schools can arrange for your daughter to go on the pill and if it does not work they arrange for an abortion without you being notified but now it is being proposed that you can be prosecuted if you child is fat.

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  44. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Alan
    All done under supervision and no cheating.
    Another member of the family the same. Confounded the experts.
    But I guess you and john boy know best.

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  45. Johnboy (16,516 comments) says:

    If you don’t eat you don’t shit BeaB. If you haven’t stopped shitting you’re still eating too much.

    Tell us your weight now, don’t eat for a week, just drink water and tell us your weight next week.

    Don’t cheat fatty! :)

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  46. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Foxtrot Oscar.

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  47. Left Right and Centre (2,975 comments) says:

    Johnboy and Alan are on to it.

    Genes is mostly bullshit. Change the diet first – rule that out as a factor.

    Judith – physical activity is secondary to dietary intake in importance. Activity is a part of the equation, but has a lesser overall effect on weight and body composition in the overall population.

    No-one is losing weight as long as they think it’s mostly due to lack of physical activity. Learn food energy kilojoule values – change dietary intake accordingly – lose weight. No sugar, healthy level of ‘good’ fat within sensible guidelines, limited grain based food, limited meat and dairy – lose weight. Fanta Zero is shit hot too.

    I was running an average 11km per day up until March. Ok – I cycle now, sure. But my weight dropped down 2-3 kilos *without the running* – hello ?? (in fact – record low was post March after running Oct 2012 – March 2014 with no effort to drop further). Ok – I’m one individual. You’re just going to have to trust me. It’s the food. Food. Food. It’s possible to lose weight sitting on your arse. Body burns energy whether you move or not – still possible to create a caloric deficit.

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  48. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    It’s basic physics, the laws of thermodynamics can’t be avoided.

    Energy out > energy in = reduced stored energy in fat.

    Energy out < energy in = increased stored energy.

    The whole obesity industry that has grown up in the past twenty years is a fraud, the above is a simple truth. Everything else is a lie

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  49. jakejakejake (134 comments) says:

    Should parents be accountable for gay kids?

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  50. Left Right and Centre (2,975 comments) says:

    Should parents be accountable for gay kids?

    People can’t choose their sexual orientation. It is physically possible to gain or lose fat and muscle.

    They have more choice about their weight than who they’re attracted to. Silly comment I reckon jakejakejake. Do you really think fat kids can’t lose weight because they’re ‘naturally fat’ ? That’s dumb dumb thinking.

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