Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2215, October 3rd, 2012

Our "Write On Wednesday" logo. 


Childhood obesity and bullying 

With the recent suicides in the news in various school districts and a focus put on bullying, I came across this article in the Sunday Dispatch written by Dr. Joe Leonardi. It is a fascinating take on how lives are affected by bullying and one’s healthful reaction to it. 
I recently came across an article on Medscape concerning childhood obesity and bullying. The opening line states; “Obese children are more likely to be bullied than their non-obese peers regardless of sex, race, socioeconomic status (SES), social skills, or academic achievement, according to a University of Michigan study published online May 3 in Pediatrics.” My initial reaction was: I wonder if I could get some fool to hand me a bunch of research money to study the possibility of the ground getting wet when it rains? In my mind obesity and bullying is just one of those topics that does not require any research. Ask any adult, me included, who was overweight as a child if they experienced bullying. I was picked on. I was tormented. I was mercilessly attacked, mostly verbally but sometimes physically, for being overweight. I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, but I understand what it is like to have been picked on as an overweight child. Hell, I wasn’t even that overweight. I was always a “big-boned” youth. Growing up I would get a hard time about it from my friends. Mostly it was harmless, but when I entered junior high school things changed. It was in the seventh grade that good-natured ribbing changed over to malevolent, menacing, mean-spirited bullying. Kids from different grade schools came together in one place. I was no longer solely with the children I spent the last seven years getting to know. There were new kids I had never met, kids from the tougher parts of Greater Pittston. I was with twelve year olds that cursed, smoked and would think nothing of punching you in the face for looking at them funny. To quote a movie, “I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.” My torment started walking to school on the first day. In an alley were a gang of kids hanging out smoking before we had to be in the building. It was from them I heard; “Hey Fatso! Are you going to make it up the hill?!” It was a mild taunt. I just kept walking. Each day it got worse. I tried ignoring them, but that only fueled their need to hurl even more insults. I tried walking faster, but I couldn’t escape their shouts. I opted to walk a different way. That worked — until they found my new route. After that the insults became more vicious, punctuated by threatening profanities. Added to the comments about my weight were affronts to my courage, or as they perceived, lack thereof. I once tried to fight, but that was fruitless. I just got my butt kicked and gave the bullies more ammunition. These daily confrontations went on for all of seventh and eighth grade — for two long years I silently endured. In ninth grade things changed. I had been lifting weights with my best friend Francis for two years on and off, but that summer I became serious about it. I started to get more physically active. I even went out for football. The summer program of running and drills combined with weightlifting and better eating presented an unrecognizable person the following year. I weighed more, but that weight was distributed differently. Though I still couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, those that bullied me no longer took me for an easy mark. While I am not sure if they would have understood the meaning of the word respect, they treated me differently and no longer taunted me. One of the conclusions of the article is that parents should not use bullying to coerce a child into losing weight. Even considering my childhood it is a conclusion with which I whole-heartedly agree. Besides, often times parents, guardians and even teachers may not even be aware there is a situation. My parents never knew I was being bullied. I never uttered a word. Even when it became physical I would just shrug it off as a fight. (When I was a kid getting into an occasional scuffle did not raise any alarms.) However, parents need to be aware that if their child is overweight or worse obese, that child is more than likely, to some degree being picked on. It is happening. It may be as mild as being called names or it could be much worse. Though I 100% agree with the conclusion that any degree of bullying should not be used as motivation for the child, it could be used as motivation for the parent. As I have written before — obesity is not a complex problem, however when it comes to children, they must be properly guided. They must be handled with care. Their emotions and body image can be negatively influenced if they perceive that their own parents regard them as different. They need direction. They require affection and love. They must have parental involvement. In my youth my parents helped in both little and big ways. They purchased a weight set as a gift. My mom would prepare foods that would not adversely effect my weight. They allowed me to pursue my new passions. They supported and encouraged me. I wasn’t any good at the sports I participated in, but my parents were in the stands for each and every game. 
They came in the rain.
They came in the cold. 
They came in the heat. 
They sat for hours just to watch me sit on the bench.
It didn’t matter to them whether I played or not. They were proud and they showed it by being there. Most importantly — I knew they were there. It is time for all of us to not only start to do battle with the epidemic of childhood obesity, but to emerge victorious. The victims are too young, they are too precious and they are too important for us not to. 
Dr. Joe Leonardi is a former candidate for Congress in the 11th Congressional district, is an author and has a website on how he continues to help people stay fit in body and mind of all ages. Here’s the link


At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Good morning Students,

First off, I implore you all to break your normal routine of hitting the bar and grill this evening and staying home to watch the Presidential Debate. Tonight we shall be witness to history. I remember quite well where I was when Ronald Reagan glared over with his humorous grin at the hapless Jimmy Carter and replied (to false charges levied by the incumbent pertaining to Medicare), “THERE YOU GO AGAIN…..”.

There was nothing angry about the future President’s retort, nothing sullen nor disdainful. It was a “zinger” delivered in the tone of a kindly and full of wisdom grandfather correcting an ingrate grandson. And it was gold.

Expect something akin to the Gipper’s performance tonight against another hapless incumbent from Pres. Elect Romney. I do not know what the line will be but it is as sure to come as the sunrise tomorrow. Very rarely in life do we have a chance to witness history whilst knowing of it beforehand. Tonight will be that night---and I hope you all can avoid the booze and the drugs for a little while to watch. As for the rest of you, please finish your shopping trip to Dollar Tree before 8 p.m.

Class, I would wish to now comment on the shocking video that has surfaced of then Sen. Barack Hussein Obama addressing a crowd of angry militants. The Senator was discussing the government’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina. He angrily can be seen criticizing then Pres. Bush for his handling of the crisis. Never mind that at the time of the natural disaster many National Guard troops were gallantly serving overseas. Never mind that Louisiana’s DEMOCRAT Governor was a dimwit. Never mind that New Orleans’ Democratic Mayor was out to lunch. Never mind that Pres. Bush was not told by these two that major help was needed. And finally, never mind that the thousands affected ignored a three day warning to evacuate. Also in the video the future President is seen praising Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the radical African American activist. This is the “real” candidate you see and not the one who will be onstage tonight. I implore all of you loafers to view the video as an assignment.

The debate and the video are your homework, youngsters. I realize that your generation’s idea of reading is viewing twitter or Facebook. It is time, however to put you grip on the shovel and get to some real research!!! Regardless of what you think, I do not wish you to fail.

Something to think about this morning…..

Class Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What, is there no one else to post than Leonardi?

Is he paying you?

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Lackawanna County the University of Scranton has just purchased another building in the downtown for $1.95 million. I believe current tuition at the school is at or approaching $40,000
annually, but they dont pay taxes and refuse to even pay a fee for a parking situation leveled by the distraught city's council and are suing the city which will provide another expense we the taxpayers cannot handle! Its time this shit ended! Tax them, as a matter of fact tax the hell out of them, now!
If they cant work with the city and appreciate the desperate situation, screw them! The same for the churches which have all the best property and dont pay taxes. My kids couldnt afford the U years ago so they went to other colleges where they did well. The University is so successful financially because its a business! I wonder about the quality of education for the dollar spent. In a recent survey the University of Scranton showed up as a poor investment. And it can no longer be accurately called a Jesuit Education when there are almost no Jesuits teaching there!Respect the hard times in the city that is your home, do
the "christian" thing and help out
more than an occasional $195,000 handout which gets represented as a gesture of good will. Hell thats tuition for four students. Whats the current enrollment?
Hard Times call for Hard Decisions and Solutions. If we really want to get ride of the freeloaders, START RIGHT HERE!

A Scrantonian who respects and loves the City and is tired of watching it go down the tubes while my taxes go up.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

What, is there no one else to post than Leonardi?
Is he paying you?

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right On! 1:28! Right On!
It is about time a financially successful octopus that is grabbing up land left and right contributed to the tax base!!!

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Joe Leonardi said...

Hi Dave,
Thank you very much for reposting this column and helping me raise awareness. If I were paying people, I would be broke this week. I was on Frankie in the morning, David Maderia and I will be on w/Brian Hughes, Shadoe Steele and David Decosmo. :)

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats Joe, you are a regular local media mogull and in this case on target.
I do think Yonki turns to you a little too often. If we were all that interested to hear what you have to say we could go to your site, but this time, timely and on point!


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