Nigerians and Big Bodies

At the mall the other day, after what seemed like an eternity of walking around doing some actual and virtual shopping, i just sat there to rest my tired little feet. And did some more virtual shopping from that spot. So there i was thinking how on earth i’d make it to the exit without collapsing when these two ladies approached and sat opposite me. One with a cute, chubby baby girl on her laps. i did my usual Mr Bean facials to get a giggle from her, the baby i mean, and yes, it worked. But she quickly got bored and then i too gave up and turned away. i started taking in the beauty of the mall until i found myself eavesdropping. Lady A was telling lady B how cute and healthy her baby had turned out since they last saw each other. Lady B replied with the all to frequent “na God o”. Then Lady A popped the question. No, she didn’t ask her for her hand in marriage. She simply asked with exaggerated casualty, “what are you giving her?”. The response was something i didn’t get but was obviously the name of a foreign baby food product. If i wasn’t sure about the name, at least i was sure it was foreign cos she pronounced it with such shakara, like how bush-girls with fake accents pronounce ‘God’.

Then this chic with a very nice … handbag passed by and divided my attention.

*Clears throat*

I managed to get something about her not breast feeding her child as they began to speak in low tones. “..but i want her to be big”, was the last thing i heard.

What’s with us nigerians and big bodies?
I’ve heard of babies being given large doses of Cod liver Oil. I’ve seen babies being fed processed, high calorie foods. i know of mums who mix raw eggs with the baby’s already prepared food and some who force-feed. All just to have a big-sized baby, not minding the complications that may likely arise.
There’s Diabetes and High Blood Pressure in children these days you know.

People, especially in my country, attribute being big, or chubby or fat with being healthy.
Apparently, this has been transferred to babies too. If your child is smallish or just not big enough you’ll often here questions like ‘why’s your baby small like this? You should go and see the Doctor o’. Just the same way, a thin or slim adult is assumed to be sick or malnourished.

A plus-sized adult is often said to be healthy looking or as they say, ‘enjoying’. If you’re driving a car and you’re small-bodied do not be surprised if people think the car isn’t yours. Sorry but you’re expected to be big because you have money.

Although, a lot of people are beginning to reason differently, this belief is so widespread and accepted that people ingest just about anything to make them fat. Malt and Milk is a popular combination for broke people who want to put on weight and “look good”. People stock kitchen cabinets with high calorie foods, with foods that contain the wrong type of Fat. Foods with high Sodium levels. Even pills for fattening livestock!
So why do we blame relatives in the village when somebody suddenly slumps and dies?

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