Yesterday was my usual day for grocery shopping.  It’s the middle of summer break for school kids, so the mothers and grandmothers had their charges with them, some by choice and others obviously not so.  From young teenagers to toddlers, the ages varied as expected.  Do you know what caught my attention?  The sizes of these offspring.  That’s what.

There were two basic sizes of children in the stores I visited.  There were tubby ones, and I don’t mean the cute cherub idea either.  Then there were the twiggy ones.  You’ve noticed them.  Those that look like skeletons with a scant amount of muscle to adequately move around with?  Yea, those.  What is happening to the new generation of children?  When I see these kids, I am bothered by a couple of things, and no, it’s not their outward appearance.  I’m not so shallow.

I’m bothered by how stressed the heart is in the tubby ones at such a young age.  At their rate, they’ll be victims of heart disease or various forms of heart failure before they mature.  No child should have to fight that much girth and discomfort.  It affects their overall self-esteem, not to mention potential for academic and emotional growth.  With that much body mass, sleep apnea is an issue.  Daily fatigue and absent-mindedness prevents the cognitive skills from  sharpening.  As they feel “less” than their peers, the emotional damage begins.  Self-worth drops and causes an silent urge to “fix” it with other damaging habits like alcohol abuse, food abuse, chemical abuse, or violence either toward others as a bully or toward themselves with suicidal tendencies.

As for the twiggy ones, their troubles may lie in their future potential to have off-spring as well as emotional scarring because of that fragile appearance as they mature.  Being a size double zero is a novelty while in middle school, but as time progresses and their bodies don’t, then being that living skeleton becomes less beautiful or envied.  Adult clothing will be hard to find as well as having anyone take them serious as an adult in our society.  “Built like a child, treated like a child” comes to mind.  I saw one teenage girl whose hips might have measured twenty inches, and her waist was smaller than that.  My daughter, who is neither under- nor over-weight, asked how that girl would ever be able to have children with such narrow hips.  I answered, “She likely won’t.”

I worry for the up-n-coming (local) generation.  They don’t appear to have any guides in their lives to assist them in becoming truly healthy people.  Most put stock in this fast paced living-style of quick-fix foods full of empty calories and false imagery of beauty.  Yes, beauty does emanate from within as does self-esteem, but smart living starts there too, radiating out to change the body.  Look at the body.  It tells the tale without a single spoken word.

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