Why You Should Never Comment On Your Teen’s Weight

Experts agree that talking about the need to diet and lose weight is one of the most unhealthy, counterproductive things a parent can do for a teen who is struggling with weight issues.

Now, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics formally endorse those findings. In order to prevent obesity and eating disorders, parents should focus less on diets and the scale and emphasize family togetherness and exercise for fitness, not weight loss. The AAP included both obesity and eating disorders in their recommendations because these often share unhealthy behaviors such as dieting, bingeing and having a dissatisfied view of one’s body.

Obesity in adolescents has quadrupled in the past 30 years; in 2012, 21 percent of young people aged 12 to 19 were obese. Teens who are obese are more likely to have bone or joint problems, as well as sleep apnea. They’re also more likely to develop prediabetes, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. On top of that, teens who are obese are more likely to grow up to become obese adults who will face heightened risks for diseases including cancer and stroke. 

Tweens and teens make up the bulk of eating disorder hospitalizations. In 2012, children aged 10 to 17 years old accounted for more than 90 percent of all hospitalizations for children with eating disorders, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). The AAP report was compiled, in part, over growing concern about the unhealthy way teens are trying to lose weight. 

Here are six takeaways from the report, published in the journal Pediatrics. These recommendations are for both doctors and parents, and they apply to all teens — not just those with weight problems.

What not to do:

Never encourage dieting. 

Dieting packs a double whammy because it’s a risk factor for both obesity and eating disorders. Girls who weren’t obese but dieted in the ninth grade were three times were likely to be overweight by 12th grade, compared to girls who didn’t diet. And young people who severely reduced their caloric intake and skipped meals were 18 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who didn’t diet. Even just moderate dieting increased a teen’s risk of developing an eating disorder fivefold

”A 3-year-old may not be worried if she’s a bit overweight, whereas an adolescent may try unhealthy weight-loss methods like fasting or diet pills and end up in a vicious circle of more weight gain,” explained lead author Dr. Neville Golden, a pediatrics professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, in a statement.

Don’t comment on your child’s weight, or even your weight.

What you say matters; teens who talk about weight with their parents are also more likely to diet, binge eat and have unhealthy weight control behaviors, but this risk lessens if the subject matter is about healthy eating behaviors. 

No matter how well-intentioned or seemingly benign you think your comments are, studies show that comments parents make about either their own weight or their child’s weight is linked to a child’s risk of being overweight and developing an eating disorder.

It’s important to note here that a teen doesn’t have to look excessively thin for a parent to be concerned that they might have an eating disorder, said Golden.

“This is a dangerous category of patient, because they’re often missed by physicians,” he said. “At some point, these patients may have had a real need to lose weight, but things got out of control.”

Never tease teens about their weight.

This seems obvious, but bears repeating since a significant minority of overweight teens say they’ve experienced weight-related teasing from friends or family members. Cruel taunts about weight increase a child’s risk of both being overweight and developing eating disorders, and the pain can last into adulthood.  

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a researcher who focuses on teen health and nutrition, previously told HuffPost that parents should make their homes a sanctuary where kids feel safe from weight-related teasing. 

“Our children need to know that they can tell us what happened without receiving advice on how to lose weight,” she said.

What to do instead:

Eat together.

While eating meals together as a family has not been shown to reduce obesity rates, it does improve the nutritional content of a child’s diet and it allows parents to model healthy eating behaviors in front of their children, the report said. One study found that families who eat meals together seven or more times per week eat more fruits and vegetables compared to families who never eat together, and for the kids, this increased intake of fruits and veggies persisted into young adulthood. Another study found that eating family dinners most days during the previous years seemed to protect kids from binge eating, dieting and purging behaviors

Focus on a balanced diet and exercise  not weight loss.

Encourage healthy body image by encouraging kids to eat healthfully and exercise for fitness not for weight loss. Teens who have these positive influences are more likely to report being happy with their bodies and less likely to say they had weight-related concerns. Kids who are dissatisfied with their bodies, on the other hand, are more likely to develop eating disorders, diet and have lower levels of physical activity. 

Create a healthy home environment.

While it may seem from the AAP recommendations that a parent is more hemmed in about what they should or shouldn’t say to encourage a healthy lifestyle in children, the truth is that what a parent does says volumes about the best way to approach eating, exercise and body image.

The report says that parents can create a healthy food environment at home by buying and serving fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and water, while keeping artificial sweeteners, sugar-sweetened drinks and refined carbs away. Parents can also encourage physical activity by keeping TVs out of children’s bedrooms. Indeed, health interventions for both obesity and eating disorders are most effective when the whole family is involved in the treatment — not just the child who needs help. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that eating disorders caused more than 90 percent of hospitalizations in teens. This is mistaken, and we regret the error. 

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-parents-can-prevent-childhood-obesity-without-encouraging-eating-disorders_us_57bb8f9ee4b0b51733a580e3?section=&

David Hernandez

9,000 Lb. Elephant Seal Throws All Of His Weight On A Car While Owner Helplessly Looks On

Generally speaking, elephant seals keep to themselves. But, it’s probably safe to say that this big guy isthe exception.

The massive seal is a southern elephant sealthatlives in California. The largest elephant seals can be 20 feet long and can weigh up to 9,000 pounds. As the BBC broadcaster says, elephant seals rarely encounter people, but when they do, they really throw their weight around!

Southern elephants are the largest of allseals. The male elephant seals are the super giants, weighing three times as much as female elephant seals.

No word on why the male in this video attacked the car, but he likely thought the car was his competition for a mate. Male elephant seals often fight over the smaller females.

(That is, after all, why most men come to blows.)

Read more: http://littlethings.com/

David Hernandez

Financial Slavery: play confronts the weight of student debt at FringeNYC

The cast of Financial Slavery: The College Debt Sentence is made up of students facing generations biggest political, social, economic crisis

Debt-laden students dont often make it to the theater in New York City, but this time, they are on stage. And the plays author is hoping her work will help highlight one of the hottest issues of the 2016 election.

The cast of Financial Slavery: The College Debt Sentence, an independent play that has been selected as one of the plays for this years New York City fringe festival, is not made up of professional actors. Some have just graduated high school; others are in college. The one thing they all have in common: they have all been affected by the surging price of college education. And they are talking about it the decision to attend cheaper public colleges, dropping out due to lack of money, being thousands of dollars in debt.

Each performance of Financial Slavery is followed by an unscripted 30-minute conversation with the audience about student debt and its impact on students and their parents.

Alyea Pierce, who wrote the play, herself owes $47,000 in student loans for her undergraduate degree. Does she see herself paying it off anytime soon? In the next 20 to 30 years, she told the Guardian. She is 24.

Its one of the reasons why she ended up writing Financial Slavery. While in college, she was asked to write a poem about debt and ended up writing about it as a form of slavery. The poem remains at the core of the play. In it, Pierce describes student debt as the twenty-first century slave ship and the people issuing loans as the new slave masters.

She recited the poem: [The slave master] is always saying how we on this ship, because we special, that we financial slaves going to the new world and there no cotton-picking fields no more. These are dollar-picking fields, where all we gotta do is go to college with our ankles chained to our wrists for four years and bam! we will be free.

Yet instead of being free, college graduates tend to end up thousands of dollars in debt that can take decades to pay off.

Does she feel that equating slavery and student debt is too much? Pierce says she wants to start a dialogue. I can understand how audience members may say that the comparison is too far. When researching and receiving stories from people about their student loan journey, the language used were feelings of feeling trapped, locked in chains, heavy, and too much weight, she says.

With those feelings used as inspiration and my belief that the student loan debt system is used as a 21st-century oppressive tool in a patriarchal society, and it involves socioeconomic status, race, et cetera, that this connection makes sense. This connection has a lot of weight, and when it takes a 24-year-old 30 years to pay off their student loan debt, that individual is in chains.

Ashley Krushinski, one of the actors, is about to begin her second year at a private university. She finished her freshman year with $22,000 in student loan debt. For her sophomore year, she had to take out another $25,000 loan slightly higher than last years since her tuition went up by 2.59% this year.

We are in chains. Dont you get it? We are never going to break free, one character says in the play.

To make their case, Pierce and the cast use various statistics and numbers throughout the performance. But it is the stories of the characters and the actors themselves that connect with the audience.

Over the past couple of years, Pierce has taken her play around some college campuses and high schools and asked the audience how they felt after watching the play. The most common responses were depressed and sad. As a result, Pierce said that the crew workshopped it to make it less painful and to evoke a sense of solidarity.

They actually say that they have hope. That they feel a type of solidarity, that they are not alone, she told the Guardian. Too often we feel like that because its such a hush-hush issue. Its a taboo to talk about your student loan debt.

On Sunday, after the first performance of Financial Slavery during its run at the Fringe festival, members of the audience said the play made them feel sad, anxious, enlightened and swindled.

One attendee was a young woman who had just finished law school with $110,000 in student debt. I dont regret it, but dont know how I am going to pay for it, she told everyone in the theatre.

There was a mother with three kids in college, who cosigned on a total of $160,000 worth of loans. My name is on there, she said.

There was a dad who said: Bernie Sanders tried to get us to wake up on this issue. And then there was a single mother who said that if she was able to figure it out, others should be able to as well.

The play does not shy away from stirring up a caldron of complicated thoughts and feelings. Yes, education is important, but should going to college result in mountains of debt? Should tuition keep going up? Who is responsible for knowing exactly what the interest will amount to? Should we talk about the cost of books, meal plans and housing that often add thousands of dollars on top of tuition? Would people be willing to pay more in taxes if tuition were free?

At one point of the play, a clip from Hillary Clintons convention speech played for the audience.

Bernie Sanders and I will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all, Clinton says in the clip. We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.

According to Pierce, this election has already helped bring the issue of student loan debt to the forefront.

This is the biggest political, social, economic crisis and issue for our generation, said Pierce. So if you really want to tap into our generation, our vote, you have to hit something we are passionate about, and thats student loan debt.

As part of FringeNYC, Financial Slavery will have four more performances from 23 to 27 August at the Flamboyan Theatre in downtown Manhattan.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

David Hernandez

Why the sexual harassment of fat people reaches a different level of offensiveness.

We were trading catcalling and harassment stories.

A group of smart, thoughtful, lively, funny women had gathered, as many women do, for a moment of catharsis and commiseration over the ways in which our bodies are taken from us, little by little, with stunning regularity.

One womans coworker had asked her out three times, unswayed by her declination. Another waited at a bus stop when a man, unannounced, wrapped his arms around her from behind. Gross, everyone agreed. Me too.

The stories gained momentum, building to purging crescendoes of laughter and irritation. This is how we unburden ourselves. This is how we loose tension back into the world that foisted it on us in the first place.

When asked about my own experience, I shared something about an acquaintance making a graphic pass at me months earlier.

He kept telling me how he wanted to hold my arms down while I struggled to get free. It was gross. I shrugged it off.

Friends responses sharpened. What had been lighthearted release turned to vigilance and concern. This moment, with this acquaintance, had felt routine to me. He was not the first man to tell me about a rape fantasy, and he wouldnt be the last. I had assumed it was just a particularly unsavory version of a kind of harassment wed all faced. Other women at the table assured me it was not.

Afterward, a friend asked why I hadnt told anyone sooner. Just as shed been surprised by my experience, I was surprised by her question. The answer felt so evident. Like many women before me, when I share stories of harassment, catcalling, unwelcome advances and violence, I am met with pushback.

Unlike other women, however, there is a common misconception that my body cannot be desired, because I am fat. And that couldnt be further from the truth.

Fat people date, marry, hook up, get lonely, and get laid just like anyone else.

Yet still, we are regularly depicted on screens and pages, by media and loved ones, as undesirable and undesired. Those depictions give way to a belief that fat people are isolated, unloved, desperate, voracious. Grateful for what little attention we get and forever longing for more of it.

So when we are harassed, catcalled, and assaulted, Ive noticed that those moments are supercharged with entitlement and violence. Those who harass us are emboldened by the belief that well be flattered, relieved, or honored by the attention. Their expectations have been skewed by a culture that tells them to indulge in any impulse, disregarding any want that is not their own. A culture that tells them they are entitled to nearly any body they claim. A culture that tells them so many of our bodies are disposable, accessible, and theirs for the taking. A culture that tells them fat girls are easy they want you more than you want them.

And when we dont, they lash out.

A man asked me out years ago. I declined gently, in the way that so many of us do a survival skill to avoid violence. My heart raced, straining against my ribcage as I gingerly chose my words. “Youre so sweet. Id love to. I cant.”

Still, he became agitated, asking why. I told him I was queer. I didnt want any part of him or the picture he painted me into. Still, my rabbit heart wouldnt stop thumping. Still, it stung. Still, I cried.

It felt so familiar. As a fat woman, the messages I receive about sexual harassment are cruel and constant.

Be grateful for the attention you get. Even if its violent. Even if you dont want it. Did that person really want to rape you? Really, you? Because we still think of sexual assault as being driven by desire. And who would want such a wretched body? Of course it gets violent. Of course we dont tell anyone.

Recently, a friend told me over cocktails about the umpteenth time a man made an unwanted pass at her. “Im so over it,” she said. “I get it, youre into me, move on.” I related to her irritation like her, I have felt the frustration of so many strangers entitlement to my body. As women, it seems that our bodies are always public property, there to be grabbed, judged, claimed, conquered. Her frustration I understood I feel it too. But her boredom and disgust stung.

Her body is held up so often as an ideal. Her skin is the shape of desire. When strangers and acquaintances see that silhouette, they approach her, almost reflexively. She constantly spends time, energy, and effort making sure she can stay safe. She does not know when a spurned stranger will turn violent.

She longs for a day uninterrupted by a strangers assessment of her body. So do I.

But where she is sought after with lust and attraction, I am expected as a convenience, readily available. I have shirked my responsibility to have a desirable body, so I am an easy mark. The men who approach me believe I will not resist, and I will not report. I will not be afforded the thin, flimsy veil of courtship. They will speak to me of violent desires, the darkest corners of their intentions.

After all, who would want to rape a fat woman?

My friend has become exhausted with the value of her body. I am terrified with the debt of mine.

Harassment of fat people is so much more than sexual and deeply different from the harassment faced by thinner people.

Strangers on the street regularly approach me to tell me that Im fat and how not to be. Sometimes, they tell me that I wouldnt be fat if I were a better person. Some shout that I shouldnt show my face in public. Others rage at having to see me at all.

The message is clear: Whoever you are, my fat body is more yours than mine. Fat bodies are always someone elses property, open to prescription, lecturing, anger, pity.

Street harassment, catcalling, and sexual harassment dont impact just one kind of body, though.

Street harassment happens when a stranger makes a pass a fat person then laughs derisively. It happens when trans people are asked whats in their pants. It happens when people of color are told to “go back to” another country, regardless of where they were born. It happens when women in headscarves are accused of terrorism.

To dig up the roots of this violence, we cant just listen to the stories that sound like our own. We have to stretch beyond our own experiences and listen to the stories that are unfamiliar to us. Our safety depends on it.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/

David Hernandez

When trolls attacked this fat, gay, black immigrant, Ireland answered perfectly.

On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, Michelle Marie became the official voice of Ireland at least on social media for the duration of a week.

Since 2012, the @Ireland Twitter account has featured a different person behind the handle every week, all of whom have some connection to Ireland or the Irish diaspora.

Each person has their own unique voice and perspective to offer to the account’s 40,000-plus followers. And Michelle Marie, who normally tweets as @ChocCurvesModel, is certainly no exception:

Marie is a single mother and plus-sized model, as well as an immigrant from the U.K. She’s also black, and, as she later disclosed, gay.

Unfortunately, there are still a handful of people in this world who can’t fathom the idea that a fat, gay, black woman could live in Ireland, let alone be its voice for a week. And they wanted her to know calling her “subhuman,” saying that Ireland is only for the Irish, and telling her to leave the country and so on and so forth in that monstrous way that only anonymous people on the internet are capable.

Sadly, this part shouldn’t be surprising though there is a certain irony to the fact that, according to their profiles, most of these racist trolls actually lived in the United States and thus almost certainly have no say in what does or does not constitute “Irish-ness.”

Did I mention that was all just on her first day as the voice of @Ireland?

But as a dedicated champion of body positivity and self-love, Marie was determined to use the @Ireland platform to make her voice heard.

And it wasn’t limited to racist vitriol, although those probably made up the bulk of it. There were also plenty of insults about her weight which, sadly, is a frequent occurrence for plus-sized people. Fortunately, Marie was a pro and deftly shut down the haters:

Despite her relentless positivity, those few nasty voices still got to her an experience familiar to anyone who’s ever dealt with bullying. By the end of her first day as @Ireland, Marie had had enough.

I understood the @Ireland account to be a platform for all people who have an Irish connection of a gr [love] for the country/culture. […] Many non-natives, non-residents, and persons of colour have gone before me on the account so I felt welcome to apply.

I expected trolls, and backlash, and criticism. But today I have experienced racism, sexism, fatphobia, and homophobia to a degree I have never known. I have had 8hrs of nonstop hate thrown at me. I am hurt, shocked, and appalled.

“I have become accustomed to a certain level of trolling online as it comes with the territory, but I have never known anything like what happened this week a relentless barrage of extreme hatred and prejudice,” Marie told Upworthy later that same week.

Perhaps even more inspiring were the droves of people who came to her defense and offered their support for her voice, and her continued presence on the Emerald Isle.

(“Craic” is an Irish word that basically means “a good time.”)

Even Patricia Arquette came to her defense yes, the Patricia Arquette!

Sure, Marie might not be the stereotypical poster child for the Emerald Isle. But, that’s exactly why it’s refreshing to have a voice like hers represent the country as part of a modern, global society.

Luckily, there were plenty of Irish citizens who seemed to agree.

Her legion of supporters were evidence not only of the Irish reputation for hospitality, but also that diversity and acceptance are both growing across the world.

Thanks to that support, Marie returned to the @Ireland Twitter account on Tuesday with a renewed energy.

And she continued to share her inspirational insights throughout the rest of the week.

“I have been really touched and taken aback by the level of kindness and support I have received,” she said.

“The U.K. tends to turn a blind eye to the less favourable things that happen, whereas Ireland has stood up and spoken up against it. I feel Ireland is ready to embrace change and diversity.”

Of course, it wasn’t all heavy social commentary. She also chatted with followers about their favorite places across the Emerald Isle and her appreciation for the Irish language and more personal subjects like body positivity, motherhood, and adoption.

As terrible as it was to watch someone like Marie suffer through so much hatred, the response that followed was a powerful reminder of why it matters that we continue hearing voices like hers.

After her whirlwind week as the voice of Ireland, Marie went back to tweeting and blogging about body positivity as well as helping to organize Ireland’s first-ever Body Pride festival proving that heroes come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/when-trolls-attacked-this-fat-gay-black-immigrant-ireland-answered-perfectly?c=tpstream

David Hernandez

Central Banks May Need to Start Thinking About Losing Weight

Picture for a moment the concept of a lean central bank.

No, not Janet Yellen or Mario Draghi out doing Pilates, but rather the thought that almost a decade after the Great Recession, central banks ought to be slimming down on the amount of financial assets that they hold.

And yet even as the U.S. Federal Reserve holds the level of its total assets roughly steady, in Japan and Europe balance sheets just keep growing.

At the Feds annual policy gathering at Jackson Hole, Wyoming through Saturday, questions are being asked about how long this can go on.

Take for example the European Central Bank. The Frankfurt-based ECB is engaged in an asset-purchase scheme worth around 1.7 trillion euros ($1.9 trillion), due to run until at least March next year, in an effort to boost demand and drive inflation in the 19-nation currency bloc away from the deflationary danger zone.

 Even so, the official in charge of financial-market operations at the ECB  the coalface of monetary policy, if you will  wondered out loud in a paper to the symposium about how developed-world central banks can return to their previous level of fitness.

“A perfectly lean central bank balance sheet can be defined as one which would have a total length close to the value of banknotes issued,” Ulrich Bindseil, director-general for market operations at the ECB, said here Friday. “In general, the objective of a lean balance sheet should remain valid in the future long-term operational frameworks.”

Yet given the ECBs current asset-purchase plan, the balance sheet is going to keep gaining weight until 2017, as further government bonds, private-sector assets and corporate debt are added. Total assets are already three times the value of outstanding banknotes.

Bindseil points to the example of the Fed, pre-crisis, as the epitome of the lean central bank  when total assets hovered just above the value of outstanding cash.

Obviously, a lean rule for balance sheets is meant to pertain to normal times, whatever they are, not the situation the global economy faces now.

Its just that, with interest rates in major jurisdictions already close to, at, or below zero, the balance sheet route may be one of few viable options for central banks to support the economy when the next recession comes along.

That is, unless something radical can happen to allow central banks to cut interest rates much further below zero, a concept for which was presented on Friday at the symposium by Carnegie Mellon Professor Marvin Goodfriend.

“Pressure to rely more heavily on balance sheet policy in lieu of interest rate policy will tempt central banks increasingly to exert stimulus by fiscal policy via distortionary credit allocation, the assumption of credit risk, and maturity transformation, all taking risks on behalf of taxpayers and all moving central banks ever closer to destructive inflationary finance,” Goodfriend said. “Interest rate policy is far superior to these alternatives.”

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2016-08-26/central-banks-may-need-to-start-thinking-about-losing-weight

David Hernandez