I was in McDonald's the other night (yes, that's what I said.) Ed was out for the night and our local McDonald's has a play area in it. I will usually eat beforehand and just take the kids there for happy meals and to kill some time in the indoor playground. I will usually get a coffee so I don't pick at their fries.
I'm the type of person that chats with anyone, so the other night a friendly grandma and I struck up a conversation while our kids played together in the play area. Grandma was telling me that since she hurt her knee a few years back, she has put on 100 pounds and she can't walk much anymore. I couldn't help but notice that her grandkids were considerably overweight for their age. I thought her grandson was at least my daughter's age, but he was actually a year younger.
The granddaughter came over for a few fries and grandma confided in me that mom had told her to get the apple slices on the side but she got them the fries. She said they were trying to watch their weight, but in the next sentence she said how they were just here to kill some time as the parents were taking them out to dinner later. I thought, Dinner? Isn't this dinner? The kid had just eaten full happy meals!
When she said they were trying to watch the kids' weight, I did make a comment on how now is the time to battle it, get it under control and to set up those good habits. Yes, I had brought my own kids to the golden arches, but it is a once in a while treat - not a weekly occurrence.
I also said that I know what it's like to be an overweight child, and it needs to be addressed now to save this child from many years of heartache to come. That was my only comment and I only said it after Grandma had brought up the subject of weight. I know I have lost so much and changed my life, but I certainly don't like to come off preachy or on a soapbox. When someone has weight to lose, they know it (well, in this case, it is the parents' responsibility, but they don't need an outsider saying what their kids need, unless it's their doctor.) You already know.
Staying on the subject of weight, Grandma had also said she doesn't know why the kids are heavy, as their parents are not big. If McDonald's was their appetizer and they still went out to dinner that could be one reason. Mom came to pick them up, and I guess Grandma's idea of "not big" is not the same as mine, as mom definitely had about 60 pounds to lose. I guess everything is perception.
The conversation with Grandma just made me think of how many overweight kids you see now. Video games, computers, over-scheduling and bad habits at a young age are just a few factors that add to a growing epidemic. It just makes me sad, as I know what it's like to grow up not being able to wear what other kids wear, and not feel 100% part of the crowd due to your size. I can only hope these grandkids don't grow up with the same weight issues I had, and don't have to wait until they are middle-aged to get things under control.