Overheard on CNN.com: Obesity, stigma and the trials of growing up
As children become obese, they're outgrowing school furniture, clothing and growth charts. What do you think?
February 15th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Obesity, stigma and the trials of growing up

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Children are getting bigger, say the statistics, and companies that make school furniture are nudging up the sizes to accommodate larger pupils. Some say this is a disturbing trend in coping with childhood obesity.

Obese children outgrowing kids' clothing and furniture

One of the biggest questions this story raised among our readers is whether stigma spurs kids to lose weight or merely depresses them. This was the most-liked comment:

Techsupp0rt: "Yes, let's keep babying the fat kids and lying to them and telling them they're just like the rest of the other kids. They aren't, and they know it, and you insult their intelligence by lying to them. You aren't helping them by giving them bigger chairs, you're enabling them. Being fat is supposed to be uncomfortable, because our bodies are not designed to carry that much extra weight. Discomfort should be a motivating factor in losing weight. When they complain about it at home, their parents should do something instead of just handing them another Twinkie and sitting them in front of the TV and telling them that they'll 'grow out of it'. Very few of them ever will, and if their parents are also fat, then it's highly unlikely that they will ever be anything but fat, until they grow up and learn what they can do for themselves."

Binky42: "Shaming a fat person to be thin doesn't work. It just ends up causing psychological problems, which is turn usually results in weight gain."

Being overweight is a person's responsibility, many of our readers said.

pandoradoggl: "Having been quite fat for most of my life (no, not as fat as this, but still overweight), I know that it was never anyone's fault but mine. It's not the clothier's fault that they don't have a 4XL on the rack. If we want to fit into trendy clothes, maybe we should get healthy. It's not as hard as some people make it out to be. You don't even have to do all that much crazy exercise if you cut out all of the sugar and starch and saturated fat. It's not rocket surgery."

This reader says it doesn't matter what size the desk is. Overweight kids will face challenges.

RA0013: "I don't see why they think putting an overweight kid into a larger or two-piece desk situation is going to make them seem different to the other kids. Kids are smart! They already know the overweight kid is different because he looks different (much larger), eats more than they do at lunch and can't keep up on the playground. And coddling or protecting the overweight kid does him no favors either. 300 pounds at 14 is ridiculous and shows a clear lack of personal responsibility and lack of parenting. Let's stop pretending this is a disease that can't be cured and look at ourselves in the mirror more often."

Now that you've read these comments, we'd like to know what you think. Were you overweight as a child, and can you relate? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport. And if you're participating in the Let's Move challenge, let us.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Business • Health • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. what was i saying?

    hmm... i've seen comments saying how parents need to take responsibility and how the government/schools should educate people, or mandate exercise and healthier eating. i agree with both; children should be taught nutrition in school health class, and they should have PE, but it's ultimately up to parents to be responsible for their children, and for everyone to be responsible for their self. they should not make seats bigger, nor should they bully children. there shouldn't be a message sent telling overweight children (or anyone, with the possible exception of the minority with a valid medical condition) that being overweight is okay, but nor should they be made to feel like crap because of their weight. you can motivate and encourage people without being mean, i think it's advisable since no one likes to be made to feel awful. of course, the focus does need to extend beyond weight, since you can be average or underweight and unhealthy if you aren't eating properly or exercising.
    it seems obvious, if you already know what and how much to eat, but a lot of people don't realize what or how much they're consuming, so it isn't so obvious to everyone; that does not make people who aren't yet aware stupid. it is, however, simple– pay attention to the nutrition information and exercise, so that you can work out how many calories you need to exclude/burn to lose a reasonable amount of weight in a timely manner, and keep it off.
    the bottom line is, to me, that when everyone is healthy the whole of society benefits, and who can argue with that?

    February 16, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. what was i saying?

    oops, i meant "but", not "so" in the second line of the second paragraph of my other comment. sorry. also sorry if any of that sounded condescending. and sorry for the arbitrary paragraph formation.

    February 16, 2012 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Portland tony

    The human race is getting bigger. Not just fatter. Bigger bones, taller... etc .....all caused by the better food and nutrition available toward the end of the 20th century. Take a look at class yearbooks starting in the 40s through today and you will be amazed at the changes in heights and sizes of the kids through the years.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • MNMartin

      While there is no doubt that people are getting taller than ever, this story is about being too fat. There is no way a 14 year old should weigh anywhere near 300 pounds even if he was nearly 7' tall, which by the picture is obvious he is not. He simply overate as do the vast majority of obese people.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nancy

    Being fat is the number one reason I have never gone one full week of my life without thinking about committing suicide. This addiction is one that is fairly obvious; I am ashamed and always have been. I should be, too, because I have never won the battle except now and again in my 61 years.

    February 19, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
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