Just one of those things? or is it more serious than that?
Watching Junk Food Kids on C4 was nothing more than an excuse to get angry with the TV. I watched children who were so over weight they could not get clothes to fit them, and who had such bad diets that they had to have mouthfuls of teeth removed at such young ages.
One of the children the programme was a four year old who was overweight (so much so that her mum could not find a uniform in Tesco, despite increasing the sizes, that would fit her), and who had a mouthful of decayed teeth. A four year old!
Her mother was what made my blood boil. She refused to believe that her daughter’s weight was down to wrong eating. I was stunned about the size of the jacket potato her daughter got for her tea – it was bigger than anything I would serve to myself and I know I eat too big portions. This is the same lady who said a 20 pk of crisps would only last a few days. There were only three of them. It had nothing to do with the snacks of sushi (I would eat this as a meal at lunchtime) that the children ate as they walked around Tesco. Nor the Kinder Egg chocolate that they got half way round despite all the empty threats of them not getting anything as they had not behaved. Nope this child’s weight issues were, according to her mother, due to thyroid problems.
This same child had huge problems with her dental hygiene. She complained that almost every tooth in her mouth hurt her. So as part of dealing with the problem the wee girl had to attend a hygienist appointment. We watched as the family left the house with 10 minutes to spare until the appointment, just to miss the bus. It then transpired that they would have been late because the appointment was nine miles away and took at least 30 minutes by bus to get there. So they complained about sleeping in, turned round, and went home!
The mother then sat brushing her daughter’s teeth whilst stating that there was hardly any point as it wasn’t going to help them anyway. What a thing to teach your child! She then said she couldn’t see the point of going to hygienist as she didn’t think her daughter would be interested in learning how to brush her teeth anyway! Again, what a great attitude.
Now Molly has been brushing her teeth since her first tooth came through aged eight months and has just got her third tooth today. She currently really enjoys teeth cleaning time but I do imagine at some point this will be a less fun activity. What I do know is that whether she likes it or not she will clean her teeth.
Thankfully for the wee girl she did end up getting help from the dentist who seemed shocked at the “mouthful of abscesses” that the girl had. The teeth were so bad she was scheduled for surgery to get many of them out! More teeth than I would ever want to have removed from anyone.
The dentist, when interviewed, expressed his annoyance with the system in that no-one was at fault for the dreadful teeth he saw in youngsters. He was annoyed that when asked about the children’s dental hygiene the parents would always answer in the way the dentist wanted, therefore indicating that they knew how to look after their children’s teeth it is just a case that they just don’t do it.
This parent did say that she did things, like giving junk food, for an easy life. For convenience. She wanted an easy life at the detriment of, it seemed to me, the health of her children. She did not want to deal with tantrum over food, or teeth cleaning, so she gave them unhealthy foods to make her life easier. Surely to give healthier snacks and to protect her child’s teeth would have been the easiest thing for her as she would not have to watch her daughter cry in pain from rotten teeth.
Other children featured on the show were older, and more independent, meaning they could get the food that they wanted, when they wanted it. What differed from some parents was that some moaned but did very little to change things whilst other parents went out jogging with their son, trying to encourage him to be more active.
What annoyed me about the situation, especially for younger children, was that nothing seemed to be done to protect them from what I would class as child abuse, or neglect. If you did not wash your child, and they ended up covered in skin sores you would end up being reported for neglect. If they have a mouthful of rotten teeth nothing much seemed, or not that I saw, was done. If you starved your child you would be reported for neglect. If you feed your child so much rubbish and they are overly obese nothing was done.
I know not every case if clear cut like this but it seems to be more acceptable to let your child’s teeth rot, or eat so much rubbish food they get so large and their health suffers.
Maybe I am being a bit over the top? What do you think?