More Instant Karma Danger


Yesterday, we looked at examples of the “instant karma” effect, which is what happens when child obesity is accompanied by a co-morbidity that doesn’t even have the decency to lie in wait for a few years, hoping to ambush the unsuspecting victim, but begins to cause problems sooner rather than later. This definition is from Matt Discombe:

A person is considered to be morbidly obese if they have a BMI of 40 or more or 35 or more if they are also experiencing obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Of British children in their sixth year of schooling, only eight have a BMI of over 40. But a rather more alarming group of 560 kids have a BMI of over 35, and also suffer from a related medical problem. These unfortunate young people are, in other words, well on their way to morbid obesity.

Of their number, at least seven live in Gloucestershire, a county in the south-western part of the country. The reporter quotes cabinet member Andrew Gravells:

In Gloucestershire our health and wellbeing board tackles obesity as a local priority. Our public health team is working with health colleagues, district councils and the community and voluntary sector to deliver a countywide programme to prevent obesity, and to help people who are obese to manage their weight… Gloucestershire is one of four areas in the country to be working with Leeds Beckett University on a whole-system approach to tackling obesity.

One possible consequence is cardiovascular pathology. Blood clots can form in the veins, a condition known as venous thromboembolism, and when recognized, it needs to be treated because it can lead to stroke, heart attack, and damage to other organs. Prof. Elizabeth Halvorson of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reminds us that “the incidence of pediatric VTE has increased dramatically over the last 20 years.”

Kids are showing up at Irish hospitals with cardiovascular systems that, if you didn’t know better, you would swear belonged to a middle-aged person. A cheerful headline warns, “Unfit teens show risk of heart disease typically seen in people aged 55-60.” An unacceptable number of teens also have high blood pressure and alarming levels of blood lipids, and are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Only 12% of kids in Ireland observe the weekly exercise guidelines.

Another ominous headline states, “Excess Body Fats of Obese Children Found to Be Deposited in the Muscles and Could Possibly Endanger Their Bones, Study Says.”

University of Georgia researchers have found that body fat and bone growth are directly linked, and not in a good way. Muscles influence the bones to form properly, but if the muscles are infused with fat this could be a problem. It all has to do with bone geometry and density, and bone minerals, and the spatial distribution of various elements. Science does not know everything there is to know about these relationships, but knows enough to know that the matter needs to be looked into.

As always, the moral of this post is that childhood obesity is to be avoided if at all possible, and Dr. Pretlow believes that it is possible.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Seven children at risk of morbid obesity last year in Gloucestershire,”, 11/25/16
Source: “Obesity ups the risk of developing blood clotting disorder in children,”, 01/17/16
Source: “Unfit teens show risk of heart disease typically seen in people aged 55-60,”, 09/22/16
Source: “Excess Body Fats of Obese Children Found to Be Deposited in the Muscles and
Could Possibly Endanger Their Bones, Study Says,”, 03/08/16
Photo credit: CDC Global Health via Visualhunt/CC BY

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

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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