Health and weight

Carrie - Interview 20

Female

Brief outline: Carrie, 17 is a full-time student and lives with her mother and brother. Her family moved to the UK from Africa three years ago. In the UK she started to put on weight due to changes in diet and less opportunity to do exercise on a regular basis but also because of the experience of starting life in a new country. Ethnic background: White British.

Background: See 'brief outline'.

Audio & video

Carrie, 17 is a full-time student and lives with her mother and brother. Her family moved to the UK from Africa three years ago. In the UK she started to put on weight due to changes in diet and less opportunity to do exercise on a regular basis but also because of the experience of starting life in a new country.
 
Carrie explained that in Africa she was happy with the weight she was and used to do a lot of sport; swimming, netball, hockey, horse riding and cycled everywhere. But on arrival in the UK she was initially housebound because she didn’t know anyone and remembers that everything was ‘new and overwhelmingly scary’.
 
Initially her diet in the UK was very different to what it was back in Africa. Back there she was used to home made cooking and plenty of vegetables and fruit everyday. In the UK the family began to eat more frozen food and ready-made meals and lot less vegetables and fruit and consequently the family intake of carbohydrates and sugar increased.
 
Another reason why her weight went up after arriving in the UK is that there was less time and possibilities to do outdoors activities after school. Before she used to cycle to school while here she has to take a bus. Also back there her school day finished at 1pm and Carrie spent most afternoon doing outdoors activities. At first she found it strange the idea that people go swimming or do other sports in the evenings.
 
When Carrie first arrived here she was seven stone and within three months she had put on a stone and then it increased to about ten stone. Now her weight fluctuates between eight and nine stone. One of the main things she was not happy about when she got heavier was the fact that clothes didn’t fit and each time she had to go and buy the next size up. She also began to be concerned with the fact that she no longer was one of the thin girls in the class and therefore was becoming different from everyone else she knew. She found that in the UK people’s attitude towards weight and size is different from that in Africa. Back there boys and girls are unlikely to be bullied or called names because of their size whereas in the UK to be skinny is the ideal image and boys prefer them.
 
Carrie discussed with her mum the reasons why she might be putting on weight and both decided that she needed to do more exercise and as a family they decided to start eating more healthily again and take out the fizzy drinks and junk food. Carrie also realised that she needed to cut down her plate portions to smaller ones. She does a lot of trampolining and enjoys it. Carrie says that she is no longer worried about her weight especially now that she is losing inches on her hips.

Feedback

Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to healthtalk.org





Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email