Before we get started, let’s mention the December 2011 issue of the BC Medical Journal, where a review can be found of Dr. Pretlow’s book, Overweight: What Kids Say. The reviewer is Arlene Cristall, MSc, RD, who holds the post of Program Coordinator at the Centre for Healthy Weights in British Columbia, Canada. Cristall says:
This book offers an unprecedented opportunity for health professionals to obtain insight and compassion for these children and their day-to-day reality… The anonymity of the website allows for a raw, unfiltered view of their angst, attempts, failures, and successes with food and weight issues.
And a whole lot more besides. But please do take the opportunity to visit the BCMJ to enjoy the whole article.
A report from Rob Goszkowski, assistant editor at DrBicuspid.com, comes under the heading of “You couldn’t make this stuff up.” There is a relationship between childhood obesity and the eruption of teeth from their little gums. Overweight kids get their permanent teeth sooner. Why does matter? As the report authors explained in the journal Obesity:
These findings may have clinical importance in the area of dental and orthodontic medicine both in terms of risk for dental caries due to extended length of time exposed in the oral cavity and sequencing, which may increase the likelihood of malocclusions.
All of which sounds very uncomfortable and expensive. It appears that fat not only promotes growth in size, but encourages maturation. It’s just another thing that pediatric dentists have to be aware of and watch out for. Last time, we talked about the various ways in which childhood obesity can affect growing bones. One of them is further described here by a Philadelphia pediatrician, Daniel Taylor:
A few weeks ago, I saw a 40-pound 3-year-old with legs so bowed that he looked like a Dickensian child with Vitamin D deficiency rickets. His diagnosis: Blount’s disease, a condition caused by excess weight crushing the growth plate of his shin bone just below his knee.
Dr. Taylor has plenty of horror stories, including that of a 10-year-old who will probably need to have his leg bones chiseled and screwed together in a new configuration.
Overweight children sprout their teeth earlier — that sounds like science fiction. Maybe next year, they will turn green and glow in the dark. We are getting into B-movie territory here, which explains why this illustration was chosen. Get a mental picture of all the morbidly obese children in the world. Now, imagine them all looking like the ones in the movie poster. If, instead of being fat, that many kids started turning up with those weird eyes, attention would be paid and changes would be made.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Book review: Overweight: What Kids Say,” BCMJ.org, December 2011
Source: “Study: Teeth erupt earlier in obese children,” DrBicuspid.com, 03/16/12
Source: “A Phila. pediatrician writes of the sickening effects of childhood obesity,” Philly.com, 08/29/11
Image of Children of the Damned poster used under Fair Use: Reporting.