Monday 3 October 2011

A form of chilld abuse

It's odd, isn't it, how it's somehow ok to be rude about fat people. Thin people are "slim", but fat people are, well, fat. And on the whole, not well tolerated.

I have nursed some enormously fat people in my time. I know what they look like under all those clothes, and believe me, it's not a pretty sight. Having said that, I think that obese adults have made a choice, and while it's fine - good, in fact - for health professionals to advise them, you can't MAKE people change their eating habits (I've tried!). As for the medical costs they may incur for the cash-strapped NHS, they will probably die at a younger age and save on care at the end of their lives, so in the end it will more or less equal out.

What I do have a problem with is obese children. I have just seen - in a supermarket - two obese women shopping with an obese child. The girl was about 12. They were carrying - among other things - boxes of chocolate cakes and crumpets, and I had to restrain myself from going over and telling them to put them all back; that they were abusing that child. Because they are. It's like making babies smoke. Adults can smoke if they choose, but you wouldn't do it to a child, and the same applies to food. I know - for a fact - that this girl will go on to be an obese adult, with all the attendant problems. She's probably already being teased at school, and I ache for her.

I don't have the answers. I certainly don't think that obese children should be taken into care (as has recently happened). But I do feel sad that this is going on, and that there seems to be so little anyone can do to stop it.


  1. It is sad, I agree. Sometimes I see toddlers who're so overweight they can't walk or play properly.

    Like you I can't think of an answer.

  2. It's very sad to see kids sitting around because they're too fat to run about. But have you compared the truly ASTONISHING quantities of sweets and chocs and snacks available in UK supermarkets in comparison with, say, Italian ones? It's unbelievable. The answer has to lie with the law, to some extent, to make it less profitable to push this stuff at families all the time.

  3. Although I don't know what I think about this Danish tax on fat. I'll be interested to see how it works out.

  4. Sometimes, the problem is glandular. Beyond that, the problem is parental. You're right, it is child abuse. Would those parents feed their children steroids?
    In 1992 my doctors put me on prednisone for ulcerative colitis. I swelled up like a balloon, and still can't lose the steroid weight. The doctors' answers? "That's right, some people just can't lose steroid fat. Now, what can I do for you today?" as they pull out their prescription pads.
    I want to scream.
    Doctors and pharmacists now have to warn patients about side-effects. I guess it wasn't a law in '92.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. Patsy - yes. Fat toddlers are particularly distressing.

    Jenny - that's a very good point! As for the fat tax, that smacks too much of nannying for me.

    Kay, of course you're right about steroids. They are a life-saver that can also be a curse. But I don't much like the sound of your doctor!

  6. I had a tough time when I was young. I was very thin as a child and didn't eat a lot, but I was always on the go, got up early and out walking, climbing trees and stuff like that. My grandmother, aunt, and sister have always had a weight problem... The problem being too much eating not enough exercise.

    so I was always being told off for being a picky eater, not eating enough, wasting food, being ill, too skinny for my own good etc. All of my life I had a hate/love relastionship with food.
    At the time and up until I was 36 I had been a healthy size 12 now at 52 I'm size 14. I have all work on the line you eat what you need no more no less. If you are doing heavy work you need lots of energy food, if you are sitting at keyboard all day then you need mind foods

    It like filling a car, it only need enough to get from A to B the tank can't take any more until it has used some up. The trouble with Humans they think they need to keep filling up everyday when they haven't used up any of yesterday fuel.

    I have tried to teach my son healthy eating all of his life, but my ex's family always gave in a spoiled him. I tried to teach him one sweet a day, but they would give him a whole bag because that's what they gave their children. I would give him fruit and healthy food, but I was in wrong to do that children were missing out if they didn't eat lots of sweets.

  7. This is a really difficult one. I concur with your views. It is compounded by the often quite prenicious influence of political correctness and striving not to appear to be discriminatory.
    More than once when working as a GP I would point out as tactfully as I could to the (usually obese) parents of an obese child that the real problem was not the self limiting viral throat infection, but the very real threat of diabetes and heart disease that would almost certainly affect the child in adulthood. Without exception the response was a "yes, but" one and not infrequently an angry rebuttal.
    It also makes me angry to see yuong parents smoking in fron of their babes and children. There is good evidence to correlate cot deaths with smoking parents but this was a taboo topic in the consulting room. That these children have a much greater risk of developing respiratory disease is also proven. Yet the parents just don't want to know.
    It is customary, of course, to condemn middle class do-gooders such as murses and doctors who strive to get people to change these unhealthy habits. We are told that it is common in socially deprived communities and we have no business to be lectruing them.

  8. Kay Davies - I take exception rather to your "pulling out the prescription pad" generalisation. And I never ever said "what can I do for you?". Doctors with any percepption of the real work and their limitations within it just don't say such fatuous things. Mostly because more often than not we cannot help people ins the sense of removing their problems.
    I usually say (said) "So, please tell me what you have come to see me about today."

    And used properly and appropriately, steroids are life savers. You don't need to tell me that ulcerative colitis does sometimes need heavy guns treatment. Without it it can be lethal.

  9. Jarmara, you are so right. I have even told patients that as far as their hearts are concerned, it's like driving a truck with the engine of a mini. Oh well...

    Author Doc, I think all the medical profession can do is advise and hope! I used to ask my larger patients how many times a week they ate chips, and the answer was usually around 5. Where do you start? Computers and video games don't help, of course. All that sitting around. I'm just so glad we didn't have them when my kids were small.