IS CHILDHOOD OBESITY CHILD ABUSE?

Obesity rates are rising. In 1985, the highest obesity rate in any given state was <14%, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1). These days there isn't a State in the Union with less than 20% obesity; and throughout the southern "stroke belt", obesity rates are an upward of 30%. The trend isn't much different with our children.

Some hospitals and pediatric clinics are reporting 30% obesity rates with children. Type II Diabetes in children is a recent and "normal" 21st century phenomenon. Deplorable. This all comes down to regulating blood sugar levels, which is preferably done through diet and exercise, not medication.

Is Childhood Obesity Child Abuse?

When a child doesn't receive proper nutrition, our American society gets involved. The nurse will notify a social worker who will follow up with the family and so on. If proper nutrition is not achieved, it is considered neglect and the child will be removed from the home in order to receive proper care. The damage occurs more slowly with obesity and diabetes, however the results are analogous. Diabetes is a slow killer. 

In teaching my Health Professions Intro to Health and Fitness course to college freshman, I have observed these young adults are coming from various backgrounds. As they are learning health and fitness basics, I can tell a few of them are experiencing that awful feeling that the carpet is being pulled out from under them: They are 18 years old and obese and they are mad at their parents for leading them to that state. I hope they choose to take personal responsibility and change instead of staying mad.

Our Christian communities aren't much better and have yet to develop the maturity of accepting that maintaining health and weight comes through proper diet and exercise, not yo-yo dieting and pills with a token walk around the block for exercise every now and then. We have Christian brothers and sisters who are feeding themselves and their children to death. Sad. 

Diabetes and obesity will change the course of one's life forever, if not treated or managed. Treatment alone can be expensive and a multitude of other health problems can also arise, not to speak of the social insecurities associated with being overweight that affect relationships and career. During the slow kill, the quality of life decreases. Realizing the harm that obesity causes children should create a righteous indignation..it needs to be seen as child abuse.

(1) Obesity Trends Among U.S. Adults Between 1985 and 2011. Atlanta: Center for disease Control and Prevention 2013).

Tara Galles

Tara is the founder of YOGATHEA® inspiring others to "Breathe the Peace Which Transcends All Understanding - Mind + Body + Spirit” through Christian Yoga + Meditation DVDs, CDsInstructor Training Program, and Women's RetreatsTara currently resides in Kokomo, Indiana with her husband and 4 children where she practices Occupational Therapy and has made peace with the snow.