A UK mum has told of how she weighs her six-year-old daughter every day to monitor her “puppy fat” after she was teased at school and called “chubby”.
Nadia Udin wrote an article in The Sun explaining why her youngest daughter, Shifaria, has a daily weigh-in – which gained a lot of negative attention this week. On Thursday, she appeared on ITV’s program This Morning to defend her decision.
The 30-year-old said she aimed to “empower” her daughter against the bullies, and she also teaches her about portion-control and healthy eating.
As a parent, what can you do if your parents or in-laws refuse to stop feeding your kids unhealthy food? We speak to Butterfly Foundation Founder, Christine Morgan.
Nadia told hosts Rylan Clark-Neal and Emma Willis her daughter didn’t even register she was being weighed.
“It’s a fun thing where I jump on the scales, she jumps on too and we kind of have a laugh about it,” she said.
“If you were to ask her, ‘Does your mum weigh you every day?’ she would say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’.”
When asked about her fears she may be negatively impacting her daughter’s self-esteem, Nadia said was more worried about the further bullying her daughter may be subjected to at school.
“We’ve got to be careful because the name calling…she’s going to be more affected by that,” she said.
“Why not take control and do something about it and be in control with her?”
She said if her daughter had gained weight, she would see it as a sign that she, as a mum, needed to make changes.
“I would look at what I’m doing, not wrong, but what am I doing because I’m in control,” she said.
“Am I putting too much oil in the food? It’s a mindset, as well. You need to explain to your child as they’re growing there has to be a balance in life. She had an Easter egg, but she knew not to have it all.”
Psychologist Deanne Jade, who founded a not-for-profit organisation to help eating disorder sufferers, appeared on the show alongside Nadia.
She told the mum that while she could see she had the best of intentions - to prevent obesity and bullying - she worried that Nadia didn't have all the information she needed.
"I can see clearly you’re trying very hard to look after your daughter but there is the question are you clinically aware of how children do change in their weight?
"We know children gain weight at the time of a growth spurt, you might get the wrong information from that. Rather than see it as a natural process.
She also explained that weighing a child daily "is associated with other problems".
Nadia, however, said that if the daily weigh-ins had any impact, she would have seen them in her eldest daughter Iman, who is now 10 years old and was weighed the same way.
"If you see my eldest, she’s lost her sweet tooth and she’s confident," she said.
"That’s the same with the younger two, I’ve seen the before and after and there is no psychological [effects]."
Deanne pointed out that eating disorders more often emerge in children as teenagers, and it is too soon to say there have been no effects.
Do you think a parent should be weighing their child every day to combat obesity? Tell us in the comments below.