Still not easy being a kid -but especially hard being an over-weight kid-

Sad news story of the day – 8 year old boy in foster care because of “medical neglect“: “A spokeswoman says the county removed the child because caseworkers saw his mother’s inability to reduce his weight as medical neglect.

Now if we put all children over a certain size in foster care, then . . . .  it is impossible my mind can’t even take that sentence anywhere.

Home is a family, even a struggling one.

We can’t put all overweight children – even really overweight children in foster care – we can’t force parents to reduce their child’s weight . . . . because we can’t do that. We could chop off the child’s foot or hand or trim the little chubby body with liposuction . . . but that wouldn’t work either. Liposuction has been found to create little floating clots of death (rare and I need to fact check that but there are some complications with fat globs going places they ought not go.)

So are gastric bypass surgeries that far off if we “have to do something” to help those poor parents reduce their child’s weight? Obviously diet and exercise aren’t working. This summer it was decided that a nutrition appointment would be classified as a C recommendation because studies hadn’t found that much effectiveness for one physician office appointment on nutrition. A series of nutrition appointments with a nutrition professional had been found more effective but the two types of activities were lumped together under the C recommendation – or “we didn’t find this very effective and therefore don’t bother to recommend it” category. Well I don’t recommend a nutrition appointment with a physician either so I guess I do agree with the government health care recommendation after all.

If I had forgotten to mention Iodine lately, I will again – iodine and selenium and magnesium and zinc and too much calcium and vitamin D all add to obesity problems due to the metabolic imbalance and lack of enzymes that are essential to start repairing and rebuilding crucial building blocks.

We can only grow healthy brain and heart cells in petri dishes if the petri dishes are well fed.

The poor child in foster care may very well be better off (but I am highly suspicious)- stories in the news are gossip until pictures and video and eye witness accounts can be shared.

My first question with any overweight child or parent was “What types of beverages are being consumed regularly?” One three month cycle later and the parent often responded to the “how is the picky eating problem? with a slightly confused “No problem any more, thanks for asking.” Juice and milk were frequently either filling the kids up enough that they weren’t eating other stuff well and were too skinny or they were also eating the other stuff and were too “chunky”. I really don’t use the word fat – generally. This current news story about an”obese” 200 pound child is just so sad. That child is not alone, the weight might be excessive but there are many obese children now. Four year old’s that weigh 80 pounds, and two year old’s that weigh 40 pounds are becoming much more common. (I might expect a four year old to weigh 40-50 pounds and a 2 year old to weigh 25ish). [Growth chart post]

If we can’t “make” our adults the “right” weight, then how can we expect parents to be able to force their children into the “right” weight. Circumstances vary and this child may be in a bad situation but then let us label the variety of bad or neglectful factors. If pop and junk food and television shows are the only thing available and the child is overweight, then why is that family much different than any other family with junky diets and television habits.

Do we have any proof that the child was being force fed or fattened up on purpose. What constitutes medical neglect?

  1. Is the child filthy with yeast growing behind his ears and in other flesh folds?
  2. Is there diaper rash (eight year old version).
  3. Is the child somewhat muscular with reasonable respiratory fitness – aka does the child get to play physically and is healthy enough to run and jump (ponderously but,  hey, strength comes from hauling that weight around all day).
  4. Other usual indicators of health and a healthy family home are eyes that are curious and moist – sparkling; skin that is moist and elastic without eczema, easy bruising or frequent skin infections; hair that is strong rather than brittle and not thinning or sparse.

Health can occur at a variety of sizes and healthy family relationships can also occur at a variety of sizes …
I ask again what is “medical neglect” . . . really what is medical neglect . . .  neglect of health perhaps.

200 is just a number. A sad number for an eight year old, but really just a number that tells me very little except that prejudice is alive and well in America.

Got Civil Rights? trade up – ditch the milk – I hear it might reduce magnesium absorption and may lead to obesity and osteoporosis and cancer and exacerbate liver cirrhosis.    I like Civil Rights.

(Take home point – give the child less milk and juice and see if that helps whether in foster care or back home.)

Junk food and beverages that are not water are designed to appeal to the taste receptors. When someone is born with a limited ability to recognize full as well as other people and may also have less impulse control (the Great Dane of an appetite instead of a toy poodle), then weight gain piles up. A home with the quick easy, tasty foods and limited physical play time – is pretty common actually. Children can not be “reasoned” with, their brains aren’t developed fully yet, particularly when under age seven. Young children do not understand abstract / non-real explanations (milk makes strong bones -how- it’s a liquid – seems confusing/ turns out is confusing).

Kids do best with physical hard facts or consistent rules and boundaries. Sometimes because I said so is the best answer and I hadn’t realized that with just my own two – it took my mistakes plus observing others’ successes and mistakes (and reading a lot of Alice Miller and other authors). Joking – because I said so would be handy in a pinch to enforce the family rules that had been more mildly laid out over time. Authoritarian control and spineless wishy-washiness are not the best parenting tactics to promote independent thinkers. Positive loving discipline means reasonable rules about helping each other and keeping one’s stuff out of the shared spaces and expected lines of communication / when to expect someone home.

Little kids and medium and old kids may resist boundaries but some reasonable rules are necessary to promote health. “Medical neglect” seems like an unreasonable term to use about body size. Is the plan to strap the child to a treadmill in the doctor’s office on fortified gruel and just run, run, run until the excess weight is lost? I hope not – not just for the obvious reasons (that would be wrong, um ‘kay), but also because control and deprivation of food for a child can simply compound the weight problem into a hoarding, controlling, binging problem – overweight child stealing and hiding food from foster parents – foster parents with locks on every food supply in the house – PICA cravings leading to eating of non-food items – lead poisoning and more acute toxicity – possibilities of problems just are like a jack pot – cascading glittering jewels of medical blunder or is that wonder (wonder why a child is in foster care when so many children are hurting.)
*** top one is the one with the actual story. –
This does not seem like a neglect case after all, but just a question of whether Foster Care will be considered an effective, albeit, untried weight loss strategy – a diet plan – that Ohio courts want to promote in a precedent setting way.

So a boy on the Honor Roll with a caring mother is now sleeping in a Foster Home and she can only see him for two hours once a week. Let me repeat an eight year old boy, on the honor roll at his school, has been removed from his mother’s custody because he may be at risk for diabetes and hypertension. He doesn’t have either of those conditions and he is being treated for sleep apnea (poor breathing at night which is obesity related and magnesium deficiency related by the by). Being treated – not being neglected.

Some important nutrients and healthy foods: iodine -selenium – B6 – magnesium rich vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, and cocoa – buckwheat and oats – fenugreek – cinnamon – oregano -ginger

Tax dollars are paying for that Foster Care and now for the sleep apnea treatment as well. Foster kids get Medicaid and usually messed up heads for the rest of their lives but that hardly counts, in America – we aren’t crazy – we are well medicated.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./