Friday, September 14, 2007

Obese children - what is abuse?

If we would listen to the media, we would put our kids on a diet, at the first sign of any fat we see. Unfortunately, our medical providers might agree with dieting our kids and look smilingly upon the parents for doing this. Weight Watchers has special programs where a kid can attend meetings for free with a member parent and get the same treatment which would include weekly weigh-ins and sometimes includes fat phobic advice.

How sad that today so many parents regard healthy kids with a bit of fat on their bodies (or even a lot of fat on their bodies) as our forefathers regarded lepers or severely disabled.

I am reminded of a comment made by Jerry Lewis in trying to raise more money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the 11th hour of the telethon.

"Would you like to be saddled with a crippled child?" he asked his audience by way of telling them if not, they should give more money. I wonder if today's parents would ask "would you like to be saddled with a fat child?"
And of course, the ultimate we are seeing more and more often is weight loss surgery for kids at a time when they NEED all their vitamins and nutrients. Sometimes kids get a lap band which at least allows normal digestion but also, sometimes kids are given gastric bypass which causes a lifelong illness of their digestive system.

One doctor opined that these surgeries may have an impact on children's health in adulthood. Understatement of the year.

One news interviewer asked a young person who had had a Lap band placed, if she was exercising now and the parents said she was joined up with a gym but when the parents were asked if she had exercised before she got the lap band, they both said "well... no"

Often I have seen that parents and doctors do NOT seem to be emphasizing healthy food choices for kids, only LESS Food and to be slim. I have two teenage grandkids who began smoking to control their weight. Most people DO begin smoking for that reason.

Having sat on the phone with a 48 year old woman who got weight loss surgery in her early 20's, mostly because of parental pressure and having her, now, ill in bed from the repercussions, weep bitterly and tell me how her mother didn't love her because she was fat, I think the physical repercussions of weight loss surgery, liposuction and dieting for any young girl, are nothing compared to the psychological trauma she may face later on.

And as the Swedish Obesity Study has shown us, weight loss surgery patients after 10 years, had only kept off an average of 16 percent of their original body weight.

We should really question this business of dieting our overweight kids - is it a type of abuse where the parents, albeit well meaning, might induce physical and psychological trauma for life? This might well end up in the wasting of a life and all because of a bit of extra bodyfat. A girl who is not using her talents because she is so busy with the hard work of dealing with stomach surgery to maintain a weight that is acceptable to a society which values not much more in a woman than the way she looks.

Read this and weep, for our children are suffering.... Will the insanity ever stop?

NOTE: for an update of Brooke Bates, please read blog of June 16, 2008.


vesta44 said...

But people will commend these parents for helping their daughter get thin and go along with social services who remove fat children from their parents. After all, if you aren't thin, there has got to be something drastically wrong with you or the way your parents are treating you.
This thin-at-any-price mentality is just another way to keep women fixated on their inability to meet an impossible ideal instead of becoming self-confident people capable of changing the world.

violet_yoshi said...

You are SO right! I hope this stops.

Have you seen the movie Gattica? It's a Sci-Fi movie about a future when children are constructed genetically to suit the parent's preference before they are born. The children who are born normally, are called "God-children" children. I am really starting to think the future from Gattica is not that far off.

SueW said...

Comment from Daphne Bradshaw:

Angry and grieving for this young woman doesn't even begin to express how I feel reading about what has been done to her. To deny a child love, acceptance, dignity, respect, and the barest minimum of body integrity is the heinous evil known as child abuse. The wounds from this attack on Miss Bates' very being will run deep and most likely throughout her life. All this sorrow, suffering, and pain for what?

Sue, you wrote this one very well and poignantly. I do hope the word gets out as widely as possible. I have sent the link on to my contacts as well. Thank you.