The world is going to hell in a hand basket. Actually, make that a baby basket.  Right now there is a new “tool” for expectant parents on a prominent parenting website that couldn’t be more damaging or ridiculous if it tried.

Waaah, I hate weigh-in day. Photo: AP

The tool basically determines whether or not your infant child is at risk of obesity. It works by typing in both parents’ Body Mass Index, whether they smoke or not and their socio-economic status.

And it’s touted as a helpful, informative and even insightful and trustworthy source of information for expectant parents. What a load of codswallop.

What’s the inference here? That you abort a baby at risk of obesity because of a couple of numbers you typed into a dodgy looking internet calculator? The only thing useful about this so-called “tool” would be avoiding it altogether.

What hope do you have of being a good parent, ready to educate your children about health and body image if you can’t get through the gestation period without first checking that they won’t turn out fat? 

“Absolutely terrible! Just crazy! They are sending out completely the wrong message,” said Louise Adams, a clinical psychologist who specialises in health and weight management.

Adams told The Punch good parenthood requires people to place emphasis on safety, protection and healthy eating. Not size.

“Being larger is not necessarily a disability and health risks can be present at every level of BMI. Among US adults 20 years and older, 23.5% (approximately 16.3 million adults) of normal-weight adults were metabolically abnormal, whereas 51.3 per cent (approximately 35.9 million adults) of overweight adults and 31.7 per cent (approximately 19.5 million adults) of obese adults were metabolically healthy. Not only that, people don’t die from being overweight. They die from cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” she said.

The other glaring issue here of course, is the notion that the best parents are people who take a loving, sensible and responsible approach to life and health.

Not only that, surely the most important part of having a baby must be feeling excited about the new life that you’re bringing into the world. So where’s the tool that predicts stuff like personality traits or even a happiness meter? Isn’t that what most people really want for their offspring?

It’d definitely make a better story than telling your kid that instead of painting the nursery before they were born, you both sat around the laptop predicting how fat that they’d be.

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    • Slim says:

      11:20am | 05/12/12

      Ho hum. Way to beat up a non-story. Ignorant and proud if it.

    • Christie says:

      11:22am | 05/12/12

      Thank you! What a ridiculous tool. There’s enough pressure on expectant parents without adding speculation about obesity into the mix.

    • Pete says:

      12:13pm | 05/12/12

      Could have saved them the 1/2 hr of coding the obesity predictor: fat parents have fat kids. Fat people are unhealthy people, place a disproportionate cost on healthcare, and die earlier. There’s not much going for obesity, spread the word.

    • Pattem says:

      12:25pm | 05/12/12

      @Pete, not according to Louise Adams!

    • Tubesteak says:

      01:04pm | 05/12/12

      Agree with Pete

      Fat and lazy parents produce fat and lazy children who become fat and lazy adults.

      Takes a lot of break the cycle but there is a strong correlation to upbringing and adulthood.

      It has very little to do with genetics or glandular problems or slow metabolisms and just about everything to do with the facts it’s energy in > energy out

    • Pattem says:

      01:56pm | 05/12/12

      @Tubesteak, on the rarest of occasions the glandular and/or genetic argument might hold water, but in the main I agree.

      Wherever you see a fat kid you tend to see one or two fat parents.

      The Junk Food culture is quite intriguing.  How much is laziness part of this trend?  Quite a bit I suspect.

      Did you know when the movie Wall-e came out (its quite scathing of the Fat and Lazy lifestyle), certain Fat Pride Groups chose to get angry about it, rather than be inspired to lose weight!

      Go figure!

    • Geoff says:

      12:30pm | 05/12/12

      Does the website also calculate how stupid the people who would use the website are?
      “Your child will be big, and you’re an idiot. A big idiot”

    • Michellemac says:

      12:41pm | 05/12/12

      Its not exactly news…the higher the education levels and income levels of the parents, the less likely the children are to be obese.

      We moved house and school recently from a middle income area to one which is a beachside high- socio-economic area and the most apparent visual difference is that the other local state primary school had a load of fat kids.. I would say close to 50% of them were overweight and some clinically/mobidly obese kids in there too. This new school, not a single fat kid at all, anywhere.  Not even ‘a bit chubby’ they all look like healthy, normal weight range kids. They all have the same interests, play the same amount of sport, have the same mix of working/stay and home mums and same access to parks and play…the only differences are the incomes of the parents (assumed on house prices) and the lack of multi-national fast food franchises nearby.

    • Anjuli says:

      12:56pm | 05/12/12

      It was always hard to buy age appropriate clothes for my eldest girl she was a size 14 at 10 years of age now at nearly 50 she is a size 8 looks terrific. Other daughter who was always size 8 up till 36 is now fighting against being in a size 12 on a small frame.  The eldest was 8lbs 10ozs born the second 3lbs so go figure.

    • Pattem says:

      02:03pm | 05/12/12

      Lucy wrote: “...surely the most important part of having a baby must be feeling excited about the new life that you’re bringing into the world”.

      Absolutely disagree!  The most important part of having a baby is ensuring that it receives the best possible environment and upbringing so that it has the greatest possiblity of success later in life!

    • Sickemrex says:

      02:26pm | 05/12/12

      I don’t know whether it’s a completely ridiculous concept. There are many women who don’t know much about nutrition and exercise during pregnancy. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and most currently pregnant ladies and mums I know think I shouldn’t be, for no reason they can articulate. My doctor doesn’t seem to mind! Most don’t know what a healthy weight gain is. There are many things we can’t influence about our child’s future but nutrition and exercise pre and post natal is something we can affect IMHO.

    • Sickemrex says:

      02:52pm | 05/12/12

      Ok that makes no sense! I’m still running regularly at 26 weeks pregnant, derrr.

    • Courtney says:

      04:08pm | 06/12/12

      The stats in this para are useless as presented.
      “Among US adults 20 years and older, 23.5% (approximately 16.3 million adults) of normal-weight adults were metabolically abnormal, whereas 51.3 per cent (approximately 35.9 million adults) of overweight adults and 31.7 per cent (approximately 19.5 million adults) of obese adults were metabolically healthy. “
      so, can we compare these figures? Who knows?
      Are there only two states, metabolically normal and abnormal? Who knows?
      Does metabolically healthy equate to metabolically normal? Who knows?
      Use one criteria and one state, i.e. healthy or not, normal or abnormal and this may become relevant.
      Lazy writing.


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