The obesity epidemic in kids

The other day, I saw a 9-year old, a few months shy of age 10, who was going to have his tonsils out, so he needed a preop exam.

At first glance, any one would be struck by this kid’s appearance – the ultimate Michelin-man fat kid.  5 feet 5 inches, 177 pounds – for an impressive 9-year-old BMI of 40. 

That’s something I can’t let slip by – there’s no way I’m letting that kid go without a little discussion about his weight.  So I addressed it with his grandma(?) who was with him – she insisted that he was “a big build”, “there must be something else in his belly, that can’t all be fat”, “he loves steamed broccoli”. 

Aha! The ignorant guardian syndrome.  “Something else in his belly”!?!?!?  You’ve gotta be kidding me. 

I pointed to the rolls of fat beneath his chin and on his upper arms, explaining to his grandma that he was simply “fat”.  In fact, he couldn’t even put his shoes on; his grandma did. 

I don’t get it….this kid will have diabetes by time he’s a teenager, if he doesn’t already, and his grandma is clueless.  It’s sad to see this kid, knowing that there’s only so much advice I can give and so many ways I can bring them to accept the reality of his condition, but something’s gotta change at home.  This is why obesity is the emerging epidemic that will contribute to all sorts of premature death in the next few decades.

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