childhood obesity

This is going to be a rant…. So, I want to apologize right now.  

I’m not really sure exactly where this is going to go because I have so much to say and it’s a subject that I am incredibly passionate about.


I’m trying to find my focus and stick to the facts so that I can be heard.  And, hopefully, make a difference to at least one family.

Here’s what happened. 

I was at a local diner with my family when a grandmother, father, and young daughter were seated across from us – well within vision and hearing distance.  The entire family was severely, morbidly obese. This is not judgement in ANY way, this is purely a factual observation that I’m sure I will get heat on, but I digress. 

The father was well over 300 lbs and the daughter, who was about 7 years old, was probably close to 125 lbs at maybe 4′ ft tall.  
(An average 7 y/o girl should weigh about 50 lbs.)  She had difficulty walking and breathing. 

It was heartbreaking.

Within minutes of sitting down, the little girl started begging her father for a soda.  

It was clear that the dad wanted his daughter to skip the sugary drink but she was relentless and the grandmother took the child’s side.  

After all, it was just ONE soda.  She could drink water when she got home. The grandmother chastised the father for being “mean”. 


When the soda got to the table, the child was ecstatic and the grandmother looked at her son and said. “Look how happy you just made your daughter.”  

Emotional blackmail. Fantastic.

It was now clear that the dad was TRYING to find ways to cut back on the sugar his child was consuming but he was up against the child AND the grandmother, so he was in a no-win situation.  If that was the only issue, I could understand.

The dad WAS trying to do the right thing. But, here’s where I got upset…

After the child got the soda, she proceeded to eat the following:  A large Portuguese roll with butter, a salad with Italian dressing, a Texas toast grilled cheese, and a large order of fries with ketchup.  Mercy!

The carbohydrate load on just the MAIN food totals around 205 grams. (Before “sneaky” carbs!) And the calorie intake for just dinner hits 1800 calories.  Pardon my French, but HOLY SH*T!!

Here’s some science for you:

When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into simple sugars, which are absorbed into the bloodstream. As the sugar level rises in your body, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin is needed to move sugar from the blood into the cells, where the sugar can be used as an energy source. If the glucose is not immediately needed for energy, the body can store up to 2,000 calories of it in the liver and skeletal muscles in the form of glycogen, according to Iowa State University. Once glycogen stores are full, carbs are stored as fat. 

Macros.JPG

NOTE: The table is adapted from the DRI reports, see www.nap.edu. It represents Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) in bold type, Adequate
Intakes (AIs) in ordinary type followed by an asterisk (*). RDAs and AIs may both be used as goals for individual intake.
**Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) is the range of intake for a particular energy source that is associated with reduced risk of chronic
disease while providing intakes of essential nutrients. 
If an individual consumes in excess of the AMDR, there is a potential of increasing the risk of chronic
diseases and/or insufficient intakes of essential nutrients.

Now, let me hit you with some facts:

* A sedentary 7-year-old child should only be consuming about 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day along with a MAXIMUM of 130 net carbohydrates.   Adding an extra 250 to 500 calories per day, depending on age and activity, will result in weight gain of about 1 pound, per week. That’s the potential of 52 additional pounds by their next birthday! Excess carbohydrate load can triple that number. 

* For 1 pound of extra body weight, it is an extra 3 pounds of pressure and stress on your joints.  Not to mention the strain on your organs and potential hormonal imbalance and other obesity related diseases.

* Since 1976-1980 NHANES Survey has shown that the obesity rate for 6-11 year olds has gone from 6.5% to a staggering 18.4%!!

* The instance of Type 2 diabetes in children has skyrocketed over the last 20 years and is STILL CLIMBING.

 
And unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 can be completely controlled with a balanced diet and exercise!!


But that requires EDUCATION and, in my humble opinion, that’s a huge piece that most Doctors and Nutritionists get wrong.  

So, subsequently, the parents and patients aren’t properly educated to appropriately manage their condition. 

Did you know that your doctor is only required to have 20 hours of clinical nutrition studies during their entire education? 

I’m at 2000 clinical hours, and counting!  

I’m mad at the Doctors.  Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes care are a multi-million-dollar industry in the United States. (More on THAT rant later!)  Why would they educate their clients on proper nutrition and lose all that potential income?

I’m mad at the grandmother and father for accepting their eating habits and weight as part of their “genetics” and not recognizing what they are doing to themselves and this child.  And I quote… “Why are you so strict with her, we are a big family.”  

WHAT??

This was a HUGE factor and a turning point for me with my own son’s obesity and health. 

There are SO many fantastic resources available to us at the click of a mouse! 

Do some research.  It’s out there!

But mostly, I’m mad at myself. 

I wanted to walk over and ask the dad to step into the hall for a moment so that I could give him my card.  

But I was afraid.  

Afraid he would yell at me and tell me to mind my own business – which is completely within his rights!! 

Afraid I might upset his mom and his daughter.  

Afraid I would come off as judgmental.  

Afraid that in the society we live in I would be seen as rude and uncouth.  #mindyourbusinesskaren 

Maybe if I had tried, I could’ve planted a seed that helped him get the education he needed to give his daughter a healthier life?  

(Even if he got mad at first!)

Maybe I could’ve found a way to advocate for this child in a way that would’ve been accepted and not seen as an accusation?

Maybe I could’ve provided a solution instead of turning a blind eye?
Maybe I could have told them about my experiences and my son’s experiences with weight loss and diabetes management as a point of reference?

But I did nothing… so I’m just as much to blame. 

How do you weigh in on this issue? 

Author: Tricia Lynn
Certified Health & Wellness Coach -The Weigh It Is
www.theweighitisonline.com