Trigger Warning: Talk about abuse, diets, and the so-called “Fat Epidemic”.
As I was reading my facebook news feed tonight, I clicked on a link from a friend. This shows what harm can come from pushing “obesity is horrible” stories all over the place.
An Outagamie County child protective services intake investigator was contacted Sept. 9 when the girl, who had been born at 8 pounds, 2.8 ounces, on July 9, 2010, had gained less than 3 pounds at age 14 months when she weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces.
On Aug. 24, 2011, he told staff at Children’s Hospital of the Fox Valley, Neenah, that doctors were forcing his daughter to drink more milk and eat more food “just trying to stretch her stomach.” She had gained 10 ounces during a 20-hour stay in the hospital where she was fed about 1,000 calories as recommended by a dietician for her age.
Dr. Mary Bartel told police that she believes the child was not gaining weight because she was not getting enough calories at home. She said both parents kept insisting that the child was going to “get fat” while she was in the hospital and Christopher Sultze was upset over what he considered overfeeding of his daughter.
Bartel described the child as being cachetic, which she said means her muscle mass was being consumed by her body. The doctor added that the child was “essentially starving” and had “no subcutaneous fat on her.”
In over a year, a baby born at a healthy weight gained less than 3 pounds. 3 POUNDS! Not because the baby was naturally small (although, the standards for healthy weight gain for an infant are to triple birth weight in the first year, so I think most parents would be asking the doctors if 3 pounds was “normal”), but because the parents didn’t “want to have obese children.”
They resisted all requests to feed the baby more. They became upset with the doctors when the doctors told them to feed the child more. Because they didn’t want their baby to be fat.
So, instead of fat, the child’s body is eating itself to try and stay alive.
This is what we, as a fat-phobic culture, has done. This is what we agree is the correct thing to do every. damn. time we engage in “diet talk.” This is what we are doing to our children every time we tell them “do you really need to eat that?” Maybe not to this extreme, but we are doing it.
There is a reason there are so many people who have eating disorders, and it’s not because they don’t know how to eat on their own. We live in a world where the “obesity epidemic” is pushed at us every day, on every TV station, in almost every magazine, in newspapers. There’s no getting away from the “concerns” that we (as a country) are “too fat”. We hear often about the “rising cost of obesity.”
Well, here is your “rising cost of obesity.”
Only, in my world, it’s called child abuse.