You have to be kidding. This has to be some sort of joke, right? Or maybe someone dreamt this happened, and shared it to the point the story made national headlines—but, in fact, it didn’t actually happen.
That is me dreaming, I suppose. On Friday, President Donald Trump met with children of the White House press corps so they could trick or treat in the Oval Office.
While handing out candy to the children, Trump said, “You have no weight problems ― that’s the good news, right?”
As a child, I recall salivating over a piece of cheesecake—my favorite dessert of all-time—following a steak dinner. I was told that, I “didn’t need that.” It was a statement like that that activated thoughts about my body, and the importance of my appearance. I began questioning if I “needed that” when putting anything in my mouth. These thoughts soon became obsessive, restricting my diet became a game, and, a full-blown eating disorder thereafter developed.
Sure, there were multiple components that contributed to the development of my eating disorder. But, when comments are made to young children (or even adults for that matter) about their body and size, it declares 2 things: 1) If you are of an “appropriate” weight, you can enjoy life’s most desirable treats, and 2) Your size and weight determine your self-worth. Neither of which are fair, accurate, or healthy.
Now, imagine the most powerful man in this country “joking” about your body size and weight—our leader—who has the ability to better our society… or worsen, who has the capacity to inspire people toward a vision.. in a good way.. or bad, and, finally, who has the privilege to influence our children positively… or negatively. This could be the exact moment that leads these children to having obsessive thoughts about their body, which very well could result in the development of eating disorders.
Trust me. Look at these statistics: An estimated 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a significant eating disorder in their lifetime. Anorexia nervosa has an estimated mortality rate of nearly 10 percent. Comments made on a child’s weight can potentially be deadly—and this matter needs to be taken far more seriously—especially by the President of the United States, in which our society could greatly benefit. Unfortunately, we, as citizens, will have to work that much harder to counter this ‘thin ideal’—and place a much greater value on the person on the inside, rather than the outside.
Halloween should be focused on the fun and joy of children getting dressed up in their favorite costumes, to collecting as much candy as possible while trick-or-treating, and, finally, feeling the gratification in eating their favorite treats. And, if you are questioning the health ramifications—health is not an indicator of one’s size or weight. A healthy lifestyle should be discussed, and modeled, and indulgences are part of it. So Happy Halloween—here’s to hoping these kids have a sweeter, and more impactful experience than they did with President Trump as they so innocently and excitedly take the streets tonight!