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|Why You Shouldn’t Put Your 7-Year-Old on a Diet|
|News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition|
|Written by Ginny Grimsley|
|Tuesday, 20 August 2013 12:13|
Whether It’s a Parent or a Bureaucrat, ‘Food Police’ Can Have
a ‘Fatlash,’ Says Former Little Miss Denver County
Before Karen Kataline knew what a calorie was, she was restricted to 500 of them a day. At dinner, she was not served the same foods as her parents and brother. She remembers being hungry all the time.
Kataline was a toddler beauty queen and performer.
“I’d started performing in dances and beauty pageants at the age of 3 in the 1960s,” says the author of a new, award-winning memoir, “Fatlash: Food Police & the Fear of Thin,” (www.KarenKataline.com). “My mother wanted me to be a star, and she was obsessed with my weight and appearance. She wanted me to be thin.’’
Years of being forcibly held to a restrictive diet had a profound effect. As a child Kataline learned that she could “win” by eating as much food as she could sneak without getting caught. She especially sought the foods that were denied her, from gravy to chocolate bars.
“When parents – or some government agency or official – make food choices for individuals, it sets people up to develop eating disorders,” says Kataline, an experienced mental health therapist with a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. “Many times, a child wouldn't have a weight problem at all if his or her parent weren't superimposing their own fear and anxiety about it onto the child.”
Likewise, Kataline is troubled by increasing efforts to legislate food choices for adults, from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to ban super-sized sugary drinks to Los Angeles City Council’s prohibition against fast-food restaurants in certain minority neighborhoods,
“The attempt to control a choice as personal and critical to our survival as what we put in our mouths creates serious consequences – whether the control is imposed by an overzealous parent or an army of food police,” she says. “Government attempts to force people to eat in a particular way will have the backlash of actually making people fatter.”
Kataline offers these suggestions for families who want their children to have a healthy relationship with food – and with themselves.
About Karen Kataline, MSW
Karen Kataline is a social worker, public speaker and performer whose professional and personal perspective on the effects of beauty pageants on young children has won the 2013 Sponsor’s Choice Award for the National Indie Excellence Awards; the 2013 NIEA Award Winner for Women’s Issues and Addiction & Recovery; 1st place Evvy Award, Colorado Independent Publishers Association; and was a finalist in Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards. Kataline received her master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and has worked with teenagers, the elderly and the profoundly traumatized. She taught communications at the New School for Social Research, Parsons School of Design in New York, New Jersey’s Montclair State College and Fairleigh Dickenson University, among others. She also continues to perform as a talk radio host, broadcaster and voice-over artist, in musical comedies, and in television and film.
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