Today Katie Hopkins and I share the front page of Huffington Post UK. I blogged about the reactions to my engagement as Katie, a contestant from The Apprentice and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here promoted her appearance on This Morning with an article that urges parents to 'save normal' by telling their kids they are fat.
Katie believes the way to stop your child being fat is by telling them - but she's aware that this might cause some tears and tantrums. According to Katie, parents have 'fed their child into obesity' and fat kids live in the shadow of a fat parent.
I don't think the question we should be asking is who are making children fat but why are children fat? Middle class parents like Katie have the privilege of being able to afford ripened avocados and fair trade goji berries from Ocado but here's some really shocking news for you Katie - the working classes don't. The food readily available to single parent families on low incomes is high in sugar and salt, highly processed and quick to prepare. Your financial security allows you the right to tell your children "we don't do fussy".
Katie thinks parents are solely to blame as 'you are accountable, you are culpable, and you have made your child fat' - of course this means we have to disregard the millions of pounds spent of advertising novelty packaging and DayGlo-coloured food to children endorsed as 'healthy snacks', the highly processed and creatively shaped food our schools feed children in addition to the minimal food education they receive... not to mention to numerous studies into hereditary fat genes.
Telling your child they are fat as Katie suggests could be more damaging than educating them about a healthy approach to food. We already live in a world where our bodies are scrutinized from such a young age, this suggested method of parenting only encourages body dysmorphic children to find more faults with themselves in a world where Bratz Dolls thongs, clinically depressed children and junior makeovers are commonplace.
As a society we have become so obsessed with obesity being linked to gluttony, we've lost sight of the many reasons people are overweight. As a gay teenager I took solace in secret eating trying to hide my sexuality in packets of biscuits, when my Mum intervened I found other ways of feeding my addition from stealing money for chips to hiding food wrappers in my room. Being an overweight child wasn't about having reckless parents who didn't tell me I was fat - it was escapism from the pressures of society.
Many broadcasters like Katie rely on this style of rabble rousing journalism to pay the bills - all of her appearances on This Morning have been provocative, factious and nonsensical. From why she doesn't let her children 'associate' with children called Tyler because they are from a lower class and unlikely to have done their homework to why fat people should be treated like luggage and pay more for air travel - its almost farcical and gives me more reason not to really pay attention to her point of view but it also makes me angry that this extremism is given air time.
Whatever way you find is best to educate your child around food is the right way but I wouldn't suggest taking the advice of someone who spent time in a jungle, eating worms as the way forward.