Parent commenting on weight in front of their child

Three in five children use ‘fat’ as an insult

In the latest issue of Broccoli & Brains we revealed how children’s literature over the years has played a part in equating fatness with badness, and how this underlying negative portrayal of characteristics is harmful to those in the real world.

This got us to thinking, are we making the next generation view being overweight as a moral failing and giving them fuel to discriminate against those who are?

A 2016 survey revealed that children as young as three worry about being fat or ugly and already have strong views of how bodies should look. The way parents spoke about their own appearance in front of their offspring was said to be the biggest influence.

To coincide with the start of a new school term last year, we ran a poll with our Twitter followers, asking the question: “Do your kids use the word ‘fat’ as an insult?” A staggering 58% said yes.

Out of the 1,640 people who took part, 35% admitted that their children often insult others with the word ‘fat’ and 23% of parents revealed it happened sometimes. There was however 24% of people who strongly believed their children never used fat as a way to insult another person.  

Has your child ever insulted someone because of their size? Comment below or tweet us @brocbrainsmag

Read about the research study into kids believing fatness equals badness.