“What ExactlyIs Morbid Obesity?” is the question asked by a Childhood Obesity News post, and the answer is, “Nothing you’d want to have.” Unfortunately, millions of children are afflicted with morbid obesity before they even get a chance to have any say in the matter, and it leads to nothing good.
For an adult, it makes sense to say that anyone 100 pounds or more over their ideal weight is morbidly obese, but kids are smaller, so “severe obesity” is an interchangeable term. Every professional in the field is aware of the importance of early intervention. It is empirically demonstrable that the longer a child remains overweight, the more difficult weight loss becomes.
According to one theory, after a certain amount of time in the obese zone, the body’s “set point,” the weight it believes it must maintain in order to survive, is recalibrated with such finality that it can never be adjusted downward.
Dr. Pretlow has learned that kids are honest enough to admit a basic fact: Overeating stretches their stomachs and opens up the potential for those poor abused organs to be stuffed with even more food. A huge European-based research project has shown that the dopamine system of a morbidly obese individual goes all out of whack — like that of an alcoholic or drug addict.
Psychotherapy is expensive and not widely available, especially for children, but it can help a morbidly obese person with an eating addiction to figure out what’s going on underneath the cupcake fetish.
All the mental/emotional angles are tricky and vitally important. What circumstances conspire to make a patient “treatment resistant“? Is this person reaping some kind of special attention that builds self-esteem more than being obese tears it down? Is he or she unconsciously trying to prevent the reoccurrence of inappropriate attention, or even assault? What does the fortress of denial protect?
Statisticians find that extreme obesity in children has been increasing at a more voracious rate that plain old everyday childhood obesity. As a result, millions of kids are going to lose 10 or even 20 years from what would have been their expected lifespans, if they weren’t morbidly obese. This is partly due to the frequent presence of comorbidities, or concurrent disease processes that tend to gang up and cause early death.
Even worse, every possible co-morbidity that goes along with obesity now manifests in children of younger and younger ages. The problem is not just that their lives will be shorter, but that the years of life they do have will be impeded by health problems that devastate its quality. This topic is explored further in “Childhood Obesity Comorbidities” and its companion piece that also brings in surgery.
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Photo via Visualhunt (modified)