ALSO, TALL CHILDREN FREQUENTLY FORCED TO DUCK SLIGHTLY WHEN ENTERING A ROOM

Overweight children are stigmatized by their peers as early as age 3 and even face bias from their parents and teachers, giving them [quality of life scores] comparable to [children] with cancer, a new analysis concludes.

This new study, combined with AP reporting on past studies, shows that a range of people have been willing willing to stand up and beat the self-esteem of fat kids like a pinata:

The stigmatization of overweight children has been documented for decades. When children were asked to rank photos of children as friends in a 1961 study, the overweight child was ranked last.

Several studies showed that overweight girls got less college financial support from their parents than average weight girls. Other studies showed teasing by parents was common.

As a (happily) former fat kid, FD can only weigh in with: Duh. But articles like this one make us feel pretty good about our own mom and dad, who never stigmatized us and did not link their financial support, limited as it was, to our meeting any BMI benchmarks. Also, much as we realize we shouldn't care about these things, we're admittedly thrilled that Fellow and Tiny are, so far, on the less-weighty side. We don't wish a junior-high locker room on either of them as husky preteens.

CONTINENTAL EXPRESSJET, OPEN YOUR CHECKBOOKS AND PREPARE FOR LANDING

Here's another small-child-kicked-off-a-plan story, this one from Houston, where a flight attendant for Continental ExpressJet recently demanded that a mother and her 19-month-old son be removed from her plane because the boy would not stop repeating, "Bye bye plane!" during her safety talk and other preparations for takeoff. Before demanding their removal, however, the saucy stew actually suggested that the mom tranquilize her happy child with a dose of Benadryl. Other passengers have confirmed that the boy was not crying or throwing a tantrum, and that none of them had complained about the child's talking. Nevertheless, mother and child were deposited back in the terminal—even though the boy had fallen asleep by the time the plane returned to the gate to expel him. The family's luggage, which remained quiet throughout the ordeal, moved on to Oklahoma City without incident. The family is, not surprisingly, considering a lawsuit.

Update: Hey, this kid may be the early frontrunner for FD.com Kid of the Year. Here's the report from his appearance on Good Morning America:

. . . . While Kate Penland explained her child was well-behaved on the Continental Express flight, little Garren kicked, wiggled and squirmed out of his mother's arms. At one point he climbed up on a coffee table and rifled through Sawyer's scripts. When Sawyer handed him a model Space Shuttle to distract him, Garren rolled it off the table and onto the floor.

WAL-MART TO KIDS: STEAL ALL YOU WANT—UNTIL YOU TURN 16

If you're about to turn 16, we'd advise that you rush over to your local Wal-Mart TODAY and drop something worth $24.95 in your messenger bag. The gargantuan retailer, concerned about the dent shoplifting appears to be making in its bottom line, has dropped the age at which it will bring charges against first-time offenders from 18 to 16. (The store will also not prosecute first-time offenders of any age if they've lifted goods worth less than $25.) Perhaps publicity about the previous policy had encouraged a wave of 17-year-olds to the superstores seeking to cash in on the company's guaranteed amnesty?

NO, YOUR FAMILY'S ANNOYING BECAUSE ITS MATRIARCH WRITES COLUMNS LIKE THIS ONE

This week on Slate, Emily Bazelon navel-gazes the question, "Is our family annoying because we own a Prius?":

. . . [a recent marketing survey on Prius ownership] also made me worry about how my kids perceive our family Prius ownership. Do they think we're doing our small bit to save the Earth, or are they imbibing a look-at-me smugness?

Good question. We guess it depends on whether the kids are reading your articles on Slate.

BLOWING THE LID OFF THE ALUMNI FUND

Also on Slate this week, Joel Waldfogel writes about why alumni parents give to their alma maters:

Why do alumni give? The cynics will like the answer provided by a new study by Jonathan Meer of Stanford and Harvey S. Rosen of Princeton. It offers persuasive evidence that some alumni give to their schools in the hope of raising the chance of admission for their children.

Waldfogel reports that the study finds that alumni parents are 13 percentage points more likely to give than childless grads and that, predictably, donations rise as children reach application age, then stop altogether when a child is rejected by the school. The study also indicates that universities take advantage of the slim hopes that giving will boost a child's chances to draw more cash out of its alums. Our own experience (OK, our own plotting) indicates that universities also must benefit from the volunteer hours of less-wealthy alumni who hope their time spent on various committees will pay off in ivy-covered dreams come true for their offspring. Fellow, Tiny, and Little Guy's parents have been highly active alumni since they began breeding. Check back here in 2017 to see if it's all been worth it.

THE 2007 AMUSEMENT PARK DEATH WATCH CONTINUES

A 4-year-old boy drowned Thursday in a wave pool at the Paramount Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, while closer to home, Rye Playland suffered its third death since 2004, though eyewitness accounts appear to blame the victim in this one.

Saturday, a 16-year-old Wisconsin girl died after falling 40 to 50 feet from a ride called Air Glory while attending Lifest, an annual Christian music festival. Here's how Air Glory works: ". . . a crane would hoist up a person or people in a sling, and at the top the person inside pulls a ripcord. That drops the person or people and they swing back and forth. But for some reason after the cord was pulled, she fell to the ground. . ." Can't imagine how that ride could have gone wrong with a redundant safety system like, "Sure hope that cord works!" (This AOL article comes with a photo essay of recent theme-park tragedies.)

July 16, 2007 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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