Daniel Engber pushes back on the absurd notion that the problem with fat kids is that as a society, we haven't made it clear how disgusting we find them:
This idea--that we've gone soft in more ways than one--has come up again and again in Slate's effort to crowdsource a remedy for overweight children. "Schools should actively stigmatize being fat," writes one member of the Hive; "few things are more terrifying to a kid than being an outcast." Another declares, "We need to stop telling children to 'love themselves the way they are.'" A third suggests that the government take custody of any child with obese parents, as a way to "get both parents and children motivated to exercise and eat healthy."
These proposals are so plainly ill-advised, so thoroughly at odds with the available evidence on the causes of obesity, and so utterly detrimental to the welfare of our children, that I can only indulge in the fantasy that they're meant as satire. Let's be realistic, though: They're not. And their presence in the Hive--among many other suggestions, to be sure--reflects the danger of equating a child's health with the shape of his body.
Obviously, these suggestions are quite extreme, and absurd--as Engber points out, it's not as if kids started getting fatter because our society became so much more welcoming of body fat. But some variant of it is very common when we discuss "education" as a way to combat obesity (childhood or otherwise). The problem is not that overweight people are unaware that society would be nicer to them if they would eat less and get thinner. And even quite young children know which foods are fattening--which is how they know to torment fat kids they catch eating them.
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