Published on April 8, 2018
(Art: Giselle Potter)
The health ramifications for overweight kids are significant: The number of over-fat children who take meds for chronic diseases has jumped dramatically. Doctors see greater increases in prescriptions for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and hypertension. Children and teens with fatty liver disease are on the rise. And, remember when Type 2 diabetes was known as “adult-onset?” Well that’s changed too. Kids as young as 5 years old are being treated with prescription diabetes drugs. If all that isn’t enough, most of the increases in drugs for diabetes has been seen in overweight and obese girls—a contributing factor to more over-fat girls having erratic menstrual cycles, leading to hormonal disturbances, more diagnoses of PCOS, which itself leads to a whole slew of medical issues, including infertility problems. Additionally, let’s not forget the mental ramifications of being overweight. There is also an increase in prescription drugs for depression among overweight and obese girls.
And yet . . . too many parents just refuse to acknowledge that their kid is overweight. Why? Because as long as they don’t see it, they don’t have to work to change it. They also don’t acknowledge how their child’s physical appearance affects them emotionally and psychologically. Rejection because of body size is real . . . it hurts . . . and it lasts a lifetime. The stigma of rejection that your child feels never goes away. But, there’s another victim of your overweight or obese child—you!
No matter how cruel, unfair or misplaced the blame may be, parents of overweight children are judged harshly (albeit in quiet whispers) by their friends, neighbors and relatives. People see your child’s weight problem as evidence of your inattention to your child’s dietary needs and health. Like it or not, true or not, others blame you for feeding your child too much, for condoning an inactive life style, for letting your child sit in front of the TV for too long, for having never-ending bags of chips in the house, etc.
If you are a parent of an overweight or obese kid, you must face and deal with that reality. If you are also overweight or obese, you must find the strength within yourself to deal with that reality and to face the challenge of a healthy lifestyle change for yourself and, more importantly, for your children. It is YOUR responsibility to give them the best opportunity to grow to be mentally and physically healthy, socially acceptable, happy, secure and confident adults.