Thursday, December 27, 2007

Unspeakable

is what this is. Truly. I cannot speak of it. Children being harmed, mutilated, possibly killed, all because they're considered overweight. As one of the so-called surgeons involved says, “I am very pleased that youngsters will soon be offered gastric banding. Of course this will only be in extreme cases when everything has been tried and the child just cannot lose weight...."

And why exactly does a child need to lose weight so badly that s/he must be mutilated? Where does the urgency come from, the pressing need? And just how in the world can a child give informed consent for such an operation?

I don't know which is more sickening, the fat hatred that inspires such vile acts or the profit motive that no doubt encourages these surgeries. Or the thought that someday parents who refuse such surgeries on behalf of their children may be censured or have their children removed from their care.

Where are the yellow stars?

I'm going to throw up now.


Thanks to Sandy Szwarc for posting on this. I think. I'll be having nightmares. . . .

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for understanding just how I felt. I wish more healthcare professionals got it and could see the science and reality of what they're doing. I shudder every time I see the promo segments for bariatric surgeries on young teens on television here. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the insanity of all of this.
:( Sandy

Debbie said...

You know, the medical professionals seem to have a lot of "cures" for fatness that they foist out onto the market. And later, doesn't it turn out a lot of times, that the cure is making people sicker? I'm thinking fen/phen here. I'm no professional. I think there are possibly a few instances where this option is responsible. But this mainstreaming? For ALL the overweight kids? Who are still developing? And the conspiracy theorist in me says that perhaps it is not just altruistic. I'm wondering if this is not somehow a step in making bariatic surgery something that becomes easily payable by insurance or medicare. Lots of money involved for making this seem like the only right option for people with "incurable" fatness. Just sayin'...

Debbie said...

Just wanted to say that I know this is in the UK, but the US and the UK share the same medical journals and often follow the same medical paths. They use our intelligence and we use theirs, so to speak.

tori_927 said...

Never mind the psychological impact, my first thought is the physical implications as the children grow. Have they studied this long-term to see how it affects the children's bodies years down the road?

Harriet said...

Fen/phen. Amphetamines. Diet pills.

Diets are the number two risk factor for developing an eating disorder. Children should never ever be put on or allowed to diet.

I predict the next big debate will be over the meaning of the word "diet." When is it a diet and when is it a--what does Weight Watchers call it?--a lifestyle change? What the hell is the difference?

There isn't a single argument for bariatric surgeries on children or teens. These people should have their licenses revoked.

Dreaming again said...

how sad, how very very sad.

Joy said...

Harriet, what is the number one risk factor for developing an eating disorder?

Harriet said...

Genetics. Dr. Walter Kaye at UC-San Diego and Pittsburgh believes that 50 to 80 percent of eating disorders are genetic in origin.

Diets are actually the number one trigger for an eating disorder--that is, nearly all e.d.s start with a diet. Those without the genetic susceptibility can diet, forget about it, and not get trapped in the hell of an e.d. For those who are vulnerable, a diet is the beginning of a terrible cycle they cannot break.

That's why I think kids and teens should NEVER diet.

A :) said...

Just wondering though. . .

What can be done for morbidly obese children where their health is actually compromised -- not just moderatly overweight or obese but children who actually LIVE with health problems as a result of their weight -- I am speaking of children with extremely high BMI's -- like over 50, 60 , 70, as opposed to just "obese."

I know studies have shown that being overweight or obese poses few health problems until the case becomes extreme.

So althought it is all fine and well to say children should not diet, etc. -- what do we do for extreme cases.

A MM saying is often that you wouldn't deny chemo to a child sick of cancer, or proper nutrition to a child with BN/AN -- so is it any more "fair" to deny an extreme case WITH HEALTH PROBLEMS possible help?

I agree though, that this would have to on a case by case basis and done only in extreme situations.

Sorry to play to devil's advocate. I am not for child dieting, but I am for healthy children.

A :)

Harriet said...

A,

Do you know any children with a BMI of 50 or 60? Because I don't. I'm sure there are a few, somewhere, but the point is that this is rare and does not represent the vast majority of children. What to do for kids with that kind of problem--I highly recommend following Ellyn Satter's techniques of feeding children, whatever they weigh. She's written a couple of books on the subject and knows far more than I do.

I would certainly not recommend surgery for these kids or any kids. Or dieting.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that this kind of surgery seems and is very extreme, but we are living in desperate times and something needs to be done to deal with our obesity epidemic. Anorexia is a devastating, horrible condition, but the fact is that obesity kills far more people than anoreixa does. i don't think that bariatric surgery is an ideal solution but i certainly don't think that it should be dismissed as something that parents are doing to their children out of vanity. no qualified surgeon would do this anyway, it would only be done in life or death situations. Obesity is a huge, deadly problem that needs to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: False. Obesity is not a huge, deadly problem that needs to be addressed, nor is any bariatric procedure done in life-or-death situations. Please research beyond the media.

Mutilating a health GI system to induce starvation and malabsorption has no business in healthcare, not even for those "extreme cases." All children deserve health care with efficacy, and treatments that are based on sound understandings of etiology, not media hysteria.

Harriet said...

To first anonymous,
No fat-hating comments are allowed here. Ignorance is highly discouraged. If you want to begin to understand the true complexity of the issue, I suggest you read up. Start with Gina Kolata's recent book "Rethinking Thin." Visit junkfoodscience.blogspot.com. Don't just take the word of the diet industry and media. It is untrue that obesity is responsible for more deaths than anorexia. Being slightly overweight to moderately "obese" is correlated with lower mortality rates than being normal weight, thinner than normal, or extremely obese. Any health risks from excess weight are long-term and not immediate, certainly not for children, whereas the health risks from bariatric surgery are immediate and include death. Inflicting that kind of procedure on a child, no matter how fat s/he is, is a grotesque travesty. Read Ellyn Satter's work to learn more about helping children develop positive relationships with food and their own bodies.

Obesity is not a huge, deadly problem, but it is a "problem" that can turn into profit for the multi-billion-dollardiet industry and for bariatric surgeons. It doesn't take much common sense to see a connection there.

RaisinCookies said...

My mother had a gastric band on her stomach. It slipped up towards her esophagus, and she was in constant pain because of it. Ironically, the only foods she could comfortably eat were high in fat and sugar. She gained weight while she had it on, and it messed her body up for a long time, not to mention the surgeries.

I am horrified at the thought of children getting this procedure.

Harriet said...

My god, raisincookies, that's terrible. That is the kind of story that literally makes me feel sick.

I'm sorry for what she had to go through.