A year ago, nine-year-old Breanna Bond was overweight. Breanna weighed 84 kilograms – which is well over the healthy weight for a child her age – and she’d been relentlessly bullied at school.
“Everybody at school would call me names,” the fifth grade American student said in a recent interview. “They would call me fatty, they would call me fat head.”
To stop the taunts, Breanna’s parents, Heidi and Dan, decided to help Breanna lose some of her excess weight. They put her on a healthy regime – which included a family walk every day. Breanna worked out on the treadmill for an hour and 15 minutes daily, joined the school swim team and ate a diet that consisted of only 20 grams of fat per day.
Within a year, Breanna had lost 30 kilograms. And this week she’s been doing media interviews across the United States media networks to talk about her ‘dramatic transformation’.
In her parents own words, Breanna lost weight the “natural way” – through exercise and healthy eating habits.
In every interview, it’s that aspect of Breanna’s weight loss that’s celebrated.
And yet the ‘dramatic reveal’ in the video below made us feel rather uncomfortable. It made us question why Breanna’s parents felt the need to take their daughter’s weight loss public, as this nine-year-old girl trumpeted her weight loss the way a Hollywood starlet would after giving birth.= display_ad('x18', 'hidden-xs hidden-md mm_incontent', 'MM In Content'); ?>= display_ad('x20', 'visible-xs mm_mob_incontent', 'MM In Content (Mobile)'); ?>
Take a look at her interview on ABC News (the beginning is fine but it starts to get squirmy at around 1 min 35 secs).
Now why exactly is this unsettling? Good question, it’s difficult to nail down because where’s the the line between promoting a healthy lifestyle and focusing too much on the physical?
What message does it send to a perfectly healthy little kid (who doesn’t need to lose weight) who is also bullied at school, who watches this on TV and thinks ‘that’s the solution for me to stop the bullies’?
And why is a little girl having her body ‘revealed’ to the world and being praised for her figure? And what message does it send to Breanna? That the world loves and celebrates you only for how you look?
Or maybe that’s totally off base.
Because this IS something to be celebrated. A happy little girl who is positive about how she looks and proud of being fit and healthy and having lost weight in a way that caused no danger to her health.
And yet… something isn’t quite right.