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Childhood obesity epidemic . . . part 2

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | May 23, 2008

More from Levine and Stein of the Washington Post.   Read it and tell me if I’m crazy for saying in my last post that raising an obese child (by apathetically feeding him nonstop junk food) doesn’t qualify as abuse.   I realize that my words are strong, but I stand by them.

At least one study suggests obese children might tend toward lower IQs and be more likely to have brain lesions similar to Alzheimer’s patients.   Fat deposits in the chest wall push against the lungs and diaphragm, making it harder for the lungs to expand and bring in oxygen.   An obese child can feel out of breath while standing still, and obese children are twice as likely to develop asthma.

Excessive weight on children’s bone growth plates cause syndromes like Blount’s Disease and slipped capital femoral epiphysis, because bone and cartilage are not designed to support abnormal weight.   Legs bow and weak bones fracture and disintegrate.

Obese girls menstruate early, causing growth to stop early.   Obese teen girls have two to three times the risk of dying by middle age compared to normal-weight teens.   Liver disease now occurs in a third of obese children, causing abdominal pain, infection, and fatigue.   These kids are at high risk for cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Obese people’s gallbladders don’t function normally, and hospitalizations for gallbladder disease have tripled in children 6 to 17, in just 20 years.   The pancreas doesn’t work normally in obese children, either, and the massive insulin swings eventually cause diabetes.   Pediatric endocrinologist says, “Once you get Type 2 diabetes, figure you have 20 more years of life and then you are dead.   So if you get it at 15, you’ll be dead at 35.”

One pound of fat is about the size of a coffee mug.   Imagine that an obese child who is 50 lbs. overweight has 50 coffee mugs of greasy fat he has to carry around every day.   Go pick up a 50 lb. bag of rice or wheat and carry it around a while.   That’s what an obese child deals with 24/7.   The number of fat cells you have is determined by late adolescence, and although the child can shrink fat cells, they never go away.

Obese children are 37 times as likely to have high blood pressure, and more and more of them are being prescribed drugs to prevent heart attack and stroke.   Many will be on the drugs FOR LIFE.

Posted in: Food Industry, Nutrition, Parenting, Standard American Diet, Weight Management

6 thoughts on “Childhood obesity epidemic . . . part 2”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I do think parents must take some of the blame for tossing their common sense out the window, but I think a larger part of the blame must be placed on the frankenfarmers, their lobbyists who buy our representitives, and Big Pharma who then treat the children (and adults alike…many of them these kids’ parents) for saying that sugar really doesn’t pose any threat, that genetically modified foods are the same as other foods, and that fruits and vegetables have their place as just part of their pyramid (scheme), and who put every health conscious advocate on some quack list.

    A lot of these parents still Just. Do. Not. Get. It. They think we’re nuts and that what we practice is actually dangerous. They truly believe the government, and they are sad because they don’t understand why they (or their kids) are sick and feel bad.

    Living in the south where the diet is based even more on white flour and white sugar than the rest of the population, and where I see so many people receiving government aid, they just do not believe me. If they can’t believe it for themselves, ther’s no way they can believe it for their kids.

    While my husband was in the process of healing himself from a life threatening kidney disease (MGM, after not being able to get up off of the couch for several months and being told he could look forward to a life on disability, never work again, and enjoy lots of pain from the neuropathy he had been diagnosed with, and be poor forever because the disability would never pay for his $2,000-$4,000 a month pharmaceutical bill let alone feed his family), with the help of a health teacher and raw foods…during this process, but far enough into it where my husband was walking again and on his way back towards health and work, and completely off of the meds, my mother in law wanted to know the name of the man who was helping dh. We asked her why, hoping she was going to get the same help for her many illnesses. But no- she wanted to know his name so she could know who to sue when all this hokus pokus killed her son. She really believed all these fruits and vegetables and juices were going to kill him. The lifestyle change in our home was so huge, and she had never seen anything remotely like it that it scared her.

    I can understand this at first, because the change was truly awesome. But now we come to the part where commonsense is thrown out the window. Ten years later, we are happy and healthy; successful in body and spirit, and yet she still tries to feed the kids junk, and mock our ways. At the heart of it is because none of the famous TV doctors (such as seen on Oprah) live as we do. There still is not enough of a fruit and vegetable advocate in the mainstream. Until there is, alot of folks just won’t believe that we’re all not quacks. It’s a sad truth.


  2. http:// says:

    Yes, I agree that it’s a terrible thing to feed your children nonstop junk food and watch them suffer the consequences of obesity. However, for anyone overweight out there, or anyone reading this with overweight children, don’t get discouraged… I don’t necessarily think it makes you an abusive parent if you’ve got an obese child… although you DO have a responsibility to help them and a responsibility to help yourself and take care of the body that God has given to you! And hopefully green smoothies are helping you do that!

    But, I will also say this… People that have never been obese or overweight have no idea what it feels like and what it takes to overcome it. I feel justified in saying this having lost 50 pounds myself (and kept it off for over 4 years now).

    I don’t think my parents abused me… I think this problem is deeply rooted in ignorance more than anything else. My parents loved me. They watched me struggle with my weight my entire life (self-esteem problems, never getting asked out on dates, being made fun of at school, etc…). They couldn’t figure out how to help me 1) because I ate the exact same way my brothers and sisters did who weren’t overweight and 2) because no one EVER educated them about nutrition. They also struggled with whether or not to help me because they didn’t want me to feel like they thought I was fat or ugly or put too much emphasis on my appearance, when really their concern was with my health.

    When I decided to enough was enough and I was going to be healthy and take control of my weight I was 16. That’s when I started to learn about food–and I learned a lot! And as I learned, there I was at 16 teaching my 30 something parents about CALORIES, FAT, NUTRITION etc… No one had taught my parents about this stuff growing up… not their parents, doctors, or teachers… and since they weren’t overweight, they figured that they were healthy and were doing something right.

    So, I guess the point I’m trying to make here is YES, it’s a terrible thing to be unhealthy and pass unhealthy habits on to your children. However, most people just don’t know enough about nutrition to realize they are doing something wrong and make changes! The fact that we’re all on this site shows that we had the courage to seek out information and to make permanent lifestyle changes. Many of our family and friends are uninformed about this stuff. Others are overwhelmed by all of this information and scared! It’s not our job to accuse others of bad parenting… but because of the knowledge we have, it’s our job to help them! We can use our new knowledge and power and use it to help others! Like Robyn said in her last post, we can all do so much within our sphere’s of influence.

    Finally… I just want to say to anyone on a weight loss journey… good luck and you can do it! It’s hard but it’s so worth it!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The other night we got taken out to eat- I ate vegetables- these teenage girls sat next to us- It shocks me- I’m 33, have 5 children- why on earth are these young teenage girls as big as me or bigger? It’s sad… that just isn’t a good start on life you know.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree that a lot of parents don’t know any better- my husband comes from major obesity, here he is at 37 trying to fight all the bad years of not realizing what he was doing to his body- Anyway… people have made comments that we are poor because I make my own food, etc. I don’t buy junk… On another note, I believe that most parents are uneducated. Someone in the grocery store said wheat flour was bad for you because they put stuff in it to make it that color. Another lady said the chips and soda at subway are good for you. I eat a raw diet and I had a friend say that humans have evolved and when am I going to get over it. Being overweight is hard, and I have realized in the last few months, that I Have been lied to for 33 years about food. It’s hard, it’s a hard reality. But, parents should know that feeding their kid fast food, junk food, every day, isn’t good. Especially if their child is really overweight.

  5. http://? says:

    The saddest part of the ‘obesity epidemic’ for me is that it is one of the many ‘epidemics’ facing our children today-and all for (hope no one takes offense) laziness-I will freely admit that it takes a LOT of time and energy to find the right information on nutrition-mainstream dieticians and skinny people who invent diets are investing in a multi-BILLION dollar industry because people want a quick fix-i.e. they’re lazy.

    I will also admit I’ve been lazy and am working as hard as possible at this point in my life to fix it and prevent those problems for my kids…I feel pretty strongly that laziness is just as much abuse to kids as hitting them. I also realize how socially difficlut it can be today to be into ‘alternative food sources’-I actually had my doctor basically making fun of me because of my GS!! I couldn’t believe he wasn’t congratulating me or even pretending interest, but that’s ‘mainstream’ again! 🙂

  6. http:// says:

    Good comments.

    We want to beat up the establishment, the media, the fast food restaurants, the addictive chemicals in food, the doctors . . . anything but the parents (taboo!). I confess I beat the parents up for a minute. That was me being 99% gentle on those who do that hard job (my usual M.O.) . . . and 1% TOUGH LOVE!

    Virtually all social ills are rooted in ignorance, don’t you think. I think, though, that most people are aware, at a minimum, that fast food is bad for you. And yet every year that industry grows and flourishes.

    I just spent some time in a rather undeveloped area of China where they eat plant food and some sea food where the AVERAGE AGE is 79! Many, many people live to be over 100. I didn’t see one single overweight person. It has become known as the “land of longevity.” They live in unpolluted air near the ocean; I’m sure that helps. I asked what they eat, and I was told it is fruits, vegetables, and some seafood. (p.s. The women support the families financially in this part of China while the men sit at home drinking tea and gambling. Seems a bit unfair since I’m pretty sure the men don’t birth and nurture the babies!)


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