I get especially sad when I see pediatric patients, less than 10 years old, usually with Doritos bag or a Pepsi in hand, who are already obese. What kind of future looms? Likely Diabetes, because the body can only tolerate so much abuse before disease culminates. These patients are sure to develop depression, not only because the ability to move freely as a child is limited by their mass, but also because kids can be cruel. And relentless teasing will ensue.
Obese children aren’t occasionally allowed to eat poor-quality, high-fat, junk foods that make them obese; it’s the only food being offered! I don’t know any 9 year olds who do the grocery shopping. Out of convenience, ignorance and perceived necessity, parents frequent fast food chains and super-size their kids’ health problems. This, in my opinion, is child abuse.
It’s tough. In parents’ defense, many do not know their child’s diet directly affects his/her health. Most parents don’t believe the sequelae of their grocery selections can be childhood diseases. I see parents negotiate with sweets all the time “If you’re good, we’ll get ice cream”. (How ’bout “if you’re bad, you’ll get no dessert for a week”–negative reinforcement vs bribery) Sweets are no longer treats. Kids get sweets several times a day. This creates little sugar addicts, childhood obesity, diabetes, depression, mood disorders, the list goes on.
So Parents, be strong! If your child whines when he/she doesn’t get the sweet that they want, remember to care enough to say “No”. And mean it.