29 Jun, 2015

Why you never get over a fat childhood

The psychological trauma of being an overweight child can stay with you for life, says Cristo Foufas, so why isn’t more being done to help?

You never get over a fat childhood. Trust me, I know.

At the age of four, I was diagnosed with a minor heart defect. I remember the hospital specialist explaining how controlling my weight was the key to health of my body. Little did I know the toll that conversation would take on the health of my mind.

My diagnosis, coupled with the fact that my mother had always battled with her size, meant my early years were filled with my weight, my waist and my calorie content being measured regularly.

Abstract: No-one eats themselves into obesity just because they’re greedy. It’s always a symptom of something else. An alcoholic or drug addict isn’t considered greedy. They’re considered ill, and the help and compassion they need is available to them. But kids or adults eating themselves to death are considered gluttonous, or their parents are deemed neglectful. The sooner we realise that obesity is as much a mental health problem as a physical one, the sooner we stop reading stories like the one about the boy from Norfolk. We’ll then also be on the right track to lose the weight of the £6 billion that obesity is costing the NHS every year.