You know, the thing that drives me crazy about all these new and horrible measures the government is putting into place to stem the supposed tide of obese children in the UK is not quite the same thing that drives a lot of other people crazy. It's not just about the fact that BMI is rubbish science (though it is), or that diets make people fatter (though they do), or that no one has yet figured out how to permanently make a fat person thin (though they haven't).
No, it's the fact that I can't see how shaming children about their weight – sending home report cards which include their BMI, lecturing them endlessly about food, giving them the constant message that Fat Is Bad – is going to do a single damn thing to make them thinner.
What I can see is that it's going to make them crazier.
And by crazier, I mean crazy like I am. These kids are going to end up in this same boat I've been trying to get out of for two decades. Some of them will become as fat as me, some of them will become very thin. Some of them will remain of average weight, but will still be crazy. I can't see anything but an increase in obsessive behaviour, whether dieting or eating or exercising.
How in the hell does that create a healthy population, let alone a thin population? Aren't increasing numbers of eating disorders going to put a pressure in the health system? We're going to end up with a bunch of people with the normal range of bodies, and the totally intolerable mental state known as an eating disorder. Seriously, I got this way with only my parents having a go at me about my weight. I can't even imagine how horrendous it must be for the kids who have their schools and teachers and random prejudicial people from the local council all chipping in on the notion that being fat is the worst thing that you can possibly be, so, hey, let's treat it like you failed a subject.
The thing is, I'm pretty fat. And I have a few health issues that might be related to my fat. But by far the biggest and most distressing health issue I have is not the pain in my feet or my wonky menstrual cycle (though that might not be related at all). It's the fact that I have compulsive eating disorder and have spent nearly twenty two years obsessed with my body and obsessed with food. This is a health issue far more serious than my actual weight, and it is, in fact, the cause of my weight. Quite seriously, if no one had ever started telling me in adolescence that I was too fat, I would not be this fat. The government is just lining up to do to all children what was done to me, and maybe the intentions are just as good as my mother's were, but the results are going to be just as disastrous.
The whole thing is idiotic and hateful and, you know, it's completely immoral. It's immoral to make children suffer because dubious science reporting and hysteria has created a world in which thinness is equated with moral superiority (and now, apparently, about saving the planet - I mean, GEEZ, people!). It's immoral for schools and governments to tell children that there's something wrong with them, especially when it's something that they don't really have control over.
And you know, in ten years time, when they start complaining about how now seventy percent of teenagers have eating disorders, and blah blah, what a drain on the NHS that is, I will just be sitting here saying, "I fucking told you so."