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by Abigail Van Buren

Child's Taste for Toothpaste Turns Her Smile Into a Frown Dear Abby: Recently Our 3-Year-Old Daughter Ate Almost a Whole Tube of a Popular Children's Toothpaste. It Is Attractively Packaged, in a Fun Shape, and Tastes Almost Like Candy or Gum. I Was More

DEAR ABBY: I am 5 foot 2 inches and weigh 90 pounds. I try very hard to gain weight, but my doctor tells me that I have an overactive metabolism, and that it will work itself out someday. I try to accept that and do whatever I can to stay healthy and gain weight.

What really bothers me is being called "skinny." People say mean things like, "Every time I see you, you look skinnier and skinnier," or they'll grab my arm, measure it with their fingers, and say, "Gee, your arms are skinny -- you must eat like a bird." I could never imagine someone saying to an overweight person, "Every time I see you, you look fatter and fatter!"

Abby, the reason I am writing is to make people aware that it hurts a thin person to be called "skinny" as much as it hurts an overweight person to be called "fat." Also, it's just as hard for a thin person to gain weight as it is for an overweight person to lose weight. I wish people could start using words like "thin, slim, slender or petite," instead of "skinny, bony or scrawny." -- SICK OF BEING CALLED SKINNY

DEAR SICK: Although most offenders are probably more thoughtless than intentionally mean-spirited, your message deserves to be heard.