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Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh

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What The Eating Disorder World Wants Mrs. Obama To Know

Posted: 02/01/10 03:36 PM ET

In the eating disorders world, putting any child on a diet is not only unacceptable but appalling.

In the eating disorders world, a father referring to his child as "chubby" and commenting on her eating habits is not only frowned upon it is reviled.

In the eating disorder world a mother who felt her children were "perfect" should not be corrected by a doctor who points to the children's weight as altering that.

In the eating disorders world it is well-known and embraced that healthy children rapidly gain weight as they approach puberty.

In the eating disorders world it is understood that dieting is an unhealthy behavior, that healthy weight is whatever one's body ends up with when they are behaviorally and mentally healthy - a wide range of body shapes and sizes. Average weight people can be unhealthy, and non-average weight people can be healthy.

Behaviors, not weight, are appropriate health goals.

But OUTSIDE the eating disorder world none of the above is true. In fact, most people believe the opposite on every single point, and are not aware of any other way to think or that the science supports all of the above. I am sucker-punched to read that our First Family put their daughters on a "diet" because they feared "obesity" and no doubt will be lauded for it.

This is not an eating disorder issue, however, and it should not be only us who know this and speak out about it. These are medical, social, and ultimately self-defeating errors in thinking that do harm to all children and all of us. I am very sad today.

 
 
 

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