big kids

Nine years old and 81.5 kilos in weight. That’s nearly 13 stone for those of us who still think in “old money”, and it’s the weight reached by a child con obesidad mórbida in the north of Spain.

It seems the authorities have been aware of problems since 2004 and the parents haven’t been obeying the legal conditions that had been laid down. So, recently, a judge ordered the child to be ingresado en un centro de menores where diet and exercise routines would, presumably, be strictly adhered to.

I suspect the parents felt they were not mis-treating the child, just like the UK mother a couple of years ago who denied child neglect of her 14 stone, eight-year old son, claiming, “If I’d neglected him, he’d be skinny, underfed and undernourished.”

Certainly, the Spanish parents weren’t happy about the child being taken into care, so lo ocultaron – they hid him.

I wonder where. I bet he couldn’t have slipped out of sight debajo de la cama or in the wardrobe.

And so in the last couple of days there have been news reports discussing how wrong the parents’ actions were and whether el peso de la ley debe caer sobre ellos. Personally, I think they should worry more if the weight of the child were to fall on them.

There is no doubt that children today are a very different shape from their parents’ generation. Twenty years ago, I was considered ‘tall’ here in Spain, when, at best, I’d been average height back in the UK. Now, however, the kids tower over me. I’d always put this down to better nutrition after the poverty of Franco’s Spain.

Mind you, on the bus from the village the other day, I overheard an interesting theory. The driver and front seat passengers were discussing the relative heights of their children and young relatives, each vying to outdo the others. One assured everyone she had a nephew who “mide tres metros.” “Three metres,” she repeated over and over again.

Sadly, I’d forgotten how tall Sultan Kosen was, or I could, perhaps, have persuaded her to shut up. Still, it was possibly worth it to hear the comment from the old chap opposite her: “Es la comida basura que les hace tan altos.

So, if fast food makes them tall, what makes them fat?

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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