Toxic Parents and Quality of Life

little emperorFrom the moment any child is born, the main factor determining that child’s quality of life is the chief caregiver, often the mother. When this works out well, everybody wins. But the planet is full of less-than-perfect parents. Sometimes governments attempt to step in and fix parental problems, with mixed results.

When ideologically-motivated social engineering clashes with reality, reality always wins. Childhood Obesity News has previously covered governmental response to obesity in China, where the one-child policy has created a generation of so-called “little emperors” who are often doted on.

Many Strands

Despite governmental “fat camps” and other efforts, childhood obesity is on the rise in China, particularly among more affluent families.

Here are some grim statistics:

…more than 12% of China’s minors are overweight and one-third of children under 17 suffer from at least one cardiovascular risk factor, including 1.9% of China’s 12-18 year olds suffering from diabetes, four times the number of their peers of the same age group in America.

Meanwhile 14.9 percent of Chinese children and adolescents show early symptoms of diabetes such as elevated blood sugar, while 12.1% of Chinese teenagers have a high incidence of arterial inflammation which is the main cause of cardiovascular disease.

There are several things going on here. First, parents with disposable income have only one child to spend it on, and much of it goes toward food treats and Western-style fast food. Second, the cultural norms are different: “fat” is traditionally associated with “wealth” in a country where food scarcity is a recent memory. Education about childhood obesity is almost entirely absent in the country, as well.

The Mask of Love

Governmental interference probably isn’t the answer here. Currently, in America, a court can order parents to attend anger management classes or take other remedial measures to show they are worthy to raise their kids. But no one has figured out how to force people to be such good parents that their children will never experience psychological trauma or emotional emptiness.

Emotional problems lead to compulsive overeating, and the worst thing about that is, the problematic parental behavior is often disguised as love. To complicate the situation even further, the disguise of love is so effective that even the people who do the damage are unaware of it. The world is full of regrettably bad parents who honestly believe they are doing the best for their kids.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Childhood Obesity In China, A Rich Kid’s Problem,”, 10/30/14

Image by James Creegan

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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