Overweight children - is it parental neglect? - Page 7 - Mothering Forums
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#181 of 196 Old 09-23-2013, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well maybe "abuse" is a strong term, but a kind of abuse in some cases, yes. I have known people who never feed their kids fruits and vegetables, always feed them garbage, and who are educated and know better and have the money to do better - even who work in health fields so are very well educated. That seems like a choice to me, and a choice where you don't do what you need to do to keep your kids healthy is a kind of abuse or neglect.

I don't think "abuse" when I see an overweight child. I have particular people in mind when I think of this, and there aren't many, but I do think it's the case some of the time. We are the people who choose what our kids eat. If we feed them cookies when they should have something healthier because we don't want to bother discussing it or whatever, then that's on us. It's our responsibility.

I agree that people who aren't aware of nutrition and feed their children bad food but without the awareness of what they're doing might very well mean well and be doing the best they can. But there are people who do know better and just choose not to bother. The kids like cookies so they buy a lot of cookies because they like seeing the kids enjoy eating cookies. Being a parent means watching out for your kids' health to the level you're able to, and if you know having a large number of cookies is bad for them, and you aren't feeding them good food or bringing good food into the house and you are instead giving them tons of cookies, then you are making a bad choice that directly impacts their health.
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#182 of 196 Old 09-23-2013, 10:28 AM
 
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I have known people who never feed their kids fruits and vegetables, always feed them garbage, and who are educated and know better and have the money to do better - even who work in health fields so are very well educated.

Not everyone who works in healthcare is all that well educated about nutrition.

 

I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they really do want their children to be happy and healthy.

 

Also, you'd have to know someone super well -- I mean, hang out at their house all the time -- to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they never prepare fruits and vegetables for their kids. There are times when you could drop over to my house and think, "Wow, look at all that fresh produce! Those kids are so lucky" -- and times when you might think, "Those poor kids never have anything fresh; it's all frozen or out of a box or a can" -- but usually a couple of days after that tough time, my check has come through or we've gotten more food stamps, and we've been able to get more fresh stuff, though you might not drop back over and have a chance to see it.

 

I think the only parenting that any of us is qualified to evaluate is our own. I do agree with you that we have a responsibility to provide our children with the healthiest food and healthiest life that we can. I just don't see any value in speculating about whether other parents are abusive, unless we're talking about the most severe kinds of abuse and neglect.


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#183 of 196 Old 09-23-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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ok. i get ya. 

 

so here's my story. 

 

i used to nanny for a very well to do family when dd was 18 months old. nouveau riche. not used in judgement here. just pointing out. 

 

took care of 3 year old twins. mom worked from home. was too overwhelmed. kids looked healthy. 

 

yet the kids ate HORRIBLE food. stuff u and i would not feed our kids. in fact the mom would ask me why i didnt let dd eat with them but bring food from home. 

 

one time i brought stuff her her kids (later realized big mistake). her dd made me cry when she said she had never eaten avocado before. REALLY?!!! this is fricking california for crying out loud. 

 

anyways... the mom did not serve good food to the kids. she would point out the bread in teh fridge. she said this wonder bread is for the kids. dont give them that ezekiel bread because its too expensive. yet she would have no qualms going to target and spending five hundred bucks on a new wardrobe for the kids. 

 

the kids were well dressed. they had great furniture. great toys. well let me say expensive. regular expensive vacations. the only area they were lacking is food. the parents chose quality. the children got bottom of the line stuff. 

 

i never understood why. the dd would throw tantrums and get her candy.  it was a hard place to work and i finally decided to quit. 

 

but the kids werent fat. i cant imagine how healthy they would be. 


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#184 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 12:13 AM
 
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when i see overweight children i also see overweight parents and i sigh. how do i get the knowledge about better nutrition across to them.

Honestly, as a fat mother who was a fat child and now has a fat child, I might find your comments condescending depending on how they were presented.  If you want to get the knowledge of better nutrition across to them, don't assume they don't know anything about good nutrition, and just strike up a conversation, maybe gives suggestions about how you get your kids to eat healthier.  And realize that even though you feel like you have a vested interest, and you want to fix people, you can't take an overly simple approach because chances are, people already know more than you give them credit for.

 

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 but the kids werent fat. i cant imagine how healthy they would be. 

So what I see you saying here is that you witnessed children being fed junk foods, and they were not fat.  Yet they were unhealthy because they ate unhealthy, processed foods.  This reinforces my belief: we can't know how healthy someone is by looking at their body size.  We don't know the whole story.  If it is unhealthy for a child to eat a certain way, we cannot continue to think that they have dodged a bullet by not becoming fat.  This does a disservice to children who need to be fed healthier foods.

 

Back to Mamazee's question of whether there is abuse or neglect involved, I am sure in some cases there is abuse and neglect involved.  There are many cases of abuse and neglect, and weight gain will not be the only symptom. You simply cannot extrapolate and say that because children are fat, there is usually abuse or neglect.  I understand that many find fat bodies unnatural and repugnant, the product of a destructive lifestyle choice.  We want to find a way to make everyone perfectly the same, to cure people of their affliction,  but it just isn't going to happen.

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#185 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 04:58 AM
 
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I was listening to a scientist being interviewed on the radio recently about the role gut flora plays in weight. She described an experiment where two groups of rats were fed the same diet and had the same levels of activity. One group had optimal rat gut flora. The other group had had their gut flora changed by the scientists and a particular bacteria (or group of bacteria, I can't remember the details now) introduced. The group with the altered gut gained weight and became obese. The optimal flora group maintained a healthy weight.

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#186 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 06:20 AM
 
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I'm one of the people who is just naturally thin. My mom raised me on good foods- then as a teenager, well, I think she gave up on me completely. Thanks to untreated depression and still-undiagnosed stomach disorders, my diet plunged. Soda, junk food, fast food, etc. The scale stayed the same. It wasn't until I got on depo that my weight changed. Even after pregnancy, I lost almost all the weight I'd gained very quickly and without any effort, and the only reason I wasn't in my old clothes was because my hips weren't back to normal. I still want to lose the weight from the depo- but, I admit, I have very little will power in that regard.

 


Fat people get SO MUCH CRAP for being fat. Every doctor's visit is a lecture on how they should be eating healthier and exercising more. I know overweight people who saw a nutritionist who told them that they're UNDERnourished, eating perfectly healthy foods, and still got a lecture on eating healthy. Doctors pull things out of their ass to try and blame overweight people for being fat. Fat people I know are well aware of how to eat right and exercise because they constantly get lectured on it by self-righteous snobs.

 

No one cares about how unhealthy skinny people can be, though. Overweight people who eat healthy, exercise, etc get lectured on their unhealthy lifestyle- me, who's basically sedentary, eats junk food, etc? Well, I'm skinny, so clearly I'm secretlyhealthy! (actually, I'm not, at all)

 

 

If people who condemn all fat people for being "unhealthy" really cared about health- why aren't they getting at me for being far unhealthier than most of the overweight people I know? Answer: Because it's not about making sure people are legitimately healthy. It's about feeling superior to others.

 

About half of overweight people are healthy and fit. The ones who are fat and fit aren't actually that much more prone to weight-related health problems than thin people. And they still get lectures about their health, despite being healthy, while unhealthy thin people are left to continue destroying our bodies. Weight stigma has nothing to do with the realities of health.

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#187 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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Honestly, as a fat mother who was a fat child and now has a fat child, I might find your comments condescending depending on how they were presented.  If you want to get the knowledge of better nutrition across to them, don't assume they don't know anything about good nutrition, and just strike up a conversation, maybe gives suggestions about how you get your kids to eat healthier.  And realize that even though you feel like you have a vested interest, and you want to fix people, you can't take an overly simple approach because chances are, people already know more than you give them credit for.

Sorry Viola you are right. it does sound very condescending the way i presented the facts. i didnt give the whole picture. us too. a fat mom and a fat child. i volunteer with a nutrition program and i didnt give the real picture of why i find that family frustrating. they were downing supersize sodas and french fries and had what looked like two burgers each. so not only were they eating unhealthy but portion size too. however i made the assumption they eat like that regularly when perhaps it could be a lone incident. 

 

i volunteer with an organization that is trying to bring change. they hire high school students to work on their farm. in their kitchen. and slowly these kids are developing a taste for veggies. 

 

i perhaps come with a skewed view coz of the nutrition program i am involved with which focuses on poor nutrition (perhaps soda is the no. 1 worst culprit) and so it really gets me frustrated. i really dont blame the parents either. going through my own challenges i know how HARD it is to say no. to clean up your diet. 

 

diet related obesity is not true for every fat person. eg. dd and me. and my friend who is waaay obese - over 300 pounds and has a lot of health issues. she eats even healthier than me and smaller portions. i know she has a medical reason for being so obese. yet i know another person who blames her for being so obese and views all fat people through the same lens. 

 

yes you are absolutely right. you cannot take such a simple approach. there was a NYT article about the industries reaction to how food is presented to people. and most of teh top big companies didnt care what it did to people. 

 

food today is an addiction. has become a drug. and the industry doesnt care (except for some like honest tea). THAT is what i find frustrating. you dont put candy in front of a child (of course there are exceptions) and dont expect them to go for it. 

 

the main reason why i find this frustrating - food related obesity - coz the world is starting to adopt the american diet and its becoming an endemic problem. obesity is now a worldwide phenomena. 


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#188 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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I was listening to a scientist being interviewed on the radio recently about the role gut flora plays in weight. She described an experiment where two groups of rats were fed the same diet and had the same levels of activity. One group had optimal rat gut flora. The other group had had their gut flora changed by the scientists and a particular bacteria (or group of bacteria, I can't remember the details now) introduced. The group with the altered gut gained weight and became obese. The optimal flora group maintained a healthy weight.

You raise an excellent point, gut flora being passed on  at birth  by birth.  The state of one's gut flora will also impact the kind of food one craves(eg sugar and carbs), and in turn be caused by the food one eats (bad bacterica  thriving on sugar and carbs)

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#189 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 10:37 AM
 
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anyways... the mom did not serve good food to the kids. she would point out the bread in teh fridge. she said this wonder bread is for the kids. dont give them that ezekiel bread because its too expensive. yet she would have no qualms going to target and spending five hundred bucks on a new wardrobe for the kids. 

 

I guess   this was in the days before Trader Joes, where ezekial bread is pretty cheap...

 

the kids were well dressed. they had great furniture. great toys. well let me say expensive. regular expensive vacations. the only area they were lacking is food. the parents chose quality. the children got bottom of the line stuff. 

 

These parents are the opposite to me, i spend almost nothing on clothes (mostly rummage sale-and they can pretty nice  actually),  but a small fortune on food...

 

 
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#190 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 11:17 AM
 
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Trader Joes!! I love that place! Unfortunately they are not in the state of Colorado. greensad.gif As far as groceries we have the options of Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods (very expensive- we call it whole pay check). If everyone had access to Trader Joe's we'd all be healthier! smile.gif


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#191 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 11:48 AM
 
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Trader Joes!! I love that place! Unfortunately they are not in the state of Colorado. greensad.gif As far as groceries we have the options of Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods (very expensive- we call it whole pay check). If everyone had access to Trader Joe's we'd all be healthier! smile.gif

:twins Here too....and the ezekial bread there really is expensive...however, their eggs are affordable, $3.49 for 18eggs from free range hens.

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#192 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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Fat people get SO MUCH CRAP for being fat. Every doctor's visit is a lecture on how they should be eating healthier and exercising more. I know overweight people who saw a nutritionist who told them that they're UNDERnourished, eating perfectly healthy foods, and still got a lecture on eating healthy. Doctors pull things out of their ass to try and blame overweight people for being fat. Fat people I know are well aware of how to eat right and exercise because they constantly get lectured on it by self-righteous snobs.

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About half of overweight people are healthy and fit. The ones who are fat and fit aren't actually that much more prone to weight-related health problems than thin people. And they still get lectures about their health, despite being healthy, while unhealthy thin people are left to continue destroying our bodies. Weight stigma has nothing to do with the realities of health.

 

Thank you for pointing out that "fat" and "unhealthy" are not the same thing.  I am fat, I readily admit it.  But all of the markers people use to judge health (blood pressure, cholesterol etc) are pretty good.  Every time I see my doctor (regularly due to asthma) I get a lecture.  And every time I point out that yes, I should loose weight.  But seeing as it isn't impacting my health over much (at the moment -- I know this will probably change eventually), it really isn't all that high on my priority list.  I do, however, make sure that me and my family eat mostly very health stuff.  Too many meals out probably, but again that's a bow to our life's realities, not ignorance.  One of my kids is overweight, the other underweight.  And, as I detailed a few pages back, there are lots of factors contributing to that.

 

I worry that if people start seeing weight (either over or under) as an assumed case of neglect or abuse then LOTS of people will be pre-judged.  And taking it to an extreme, what happens if this becomes "policy"?  How many families get targeted that shouldn't be?  To me, abuse/neglect is the sort of thing that one should consider calling child protective services about.  I can't imagine how it would feel to be caught in that nightmare.  Actually, unfortunately I CAN imagine it, which is why I shudder just to think of it.  I guess I can see how people can judge that food choices make others "not the best parents".  But "unfit parents"?  Because to me, neglect or abuse means that the parents are unfit to continue being parents.  But surely food is one of those areas where "freedom to parent as one sees fit" is important.  After all, at the point where we start expanding what we call neglect/abuse to include things like food, what else do people get to call neglect/abuse?  I can think of many things that are near and dear to many in the Mothering community that others would also term neglect/abuse.  Seems like a very slippery slope to me and one that I think should be avoided.  Much easier, IMHO, to just assume that the other parents are doing the best they can, there might be any number of reasons why they are overweight, and go on with my life.

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#193 of 196 Old 09-24-2013, 12:33 PM
 
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As a peds nurse I have seen that in these situations there is usually a combination of parental neglect and an underlying medical condition in the child. In many cultures food equals love, and food is associated with happiness. You get great pleasure seeing your kids eat something they enjoy- we can all associate with this.

 

I have had patients who were very very overweight who come in with an underlying condition. Sometimes it's as simple as asthma- the child doesn't feel well and doesn't exercise as much and sits around more. Is provided with video games and snacks. The larger weight makes the asthma problem worse-- less room to breathe, more effort needed to move around. I have seen hormonal problems cause obesity. I have seen Jr. High age kids who need cholesterol lowering drugs and have developed Type II Diabetes. And, I have seen kids who are so large they become a medical liability-- they are too large to safely operate on. No surgeon wants to touch them.

 

I have seen the families and friends of patients provide huge amounts of junk food to the hospital-- Gatorade is popular, chips and crackers, and loads of candy. The hospital orders a low fat or low carb diet and the families bring in junk food, bags of KFC and McD's. I don't know why. And at that point it does become neglect.


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#194 of 196 Old 09-25-2013, 09:44 PM
 
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For myself, weight is a matter of much more than just diet or exercise. I guess it is age-related hormonal changes. On my 50th birthday, I gained 50 lbs, stopped menstruating, and my metabolism suddenly changed. My diet and activity level have remained constant- I have never eaten much processed or fast foods, I live a moderately sedentary lifestyle. I spent the majority of my life thinking that I was especially noble; somehow my choices were better than others. That was why I was so thin and healthy. Now I have a huge belly - I can wear maternity pants! So I have had to rethink these judgmental attitudes, and learn a little humility. Who is to say that the fat lady in the supermarket knows less about nutrition than I? Maybe she is buying all those chips and soda pop for a one time special occasion.


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#195 of 196 Old 09-28-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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http://www.shape.com/blogs/shape-your-life/toddler-weight-loss-surgery-not-likely-us. I deliberately chose a link that didn't show pictures of the actual child.
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#196 of 196 Old 09-28-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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Honestly, as a fat mother who was a fat child and now has a fat child, I might find your comments condescending depending on how they were presented.  If you want to get the knowledge of better nutrition across to them, don't assume they don't know anything about good nutrition, and just strike up a conversation, maybe gives suggestions about how you get your kids to eat healthier.  And realize that even though you feel like you have a vested interest, and you want to fix people, you can't take an overly simple approach because chances are, people already know more than you give them credit for.

Sorry Viola you are right. it does sound very condescending the way i presented the facts. i didnt give the whole picture. us too. a fat mom and a fat child. i volunteer with a nutrition program and i didnt give the real picture of why i find that family frustrating. they were downing supersize sodas and french fries and had what looked like two burgers each. so not only were they eating unhealthy but portion size too. however i made the assumption they eat like that regularly when perhaps it could be a lone incident. 

 

i volunteer with an organization that is trying to bring change. they hire high school students to work on their farm. in their kitchen. and slowly these kids are developing a taste for veggies. 

Thanks for the explanation.  There is a lot of poor nutrition out there, so I'm glad you are helping.

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