Coronavirus Chronicles — More About the Other Perfect Storm

When two sets of circumstances come together in a way that is synergistic, and add up to more than the sum of their parts, we have a problem. Another thing to bear in mind is that, in many contexts, there is not much point in distinguishing between obesity age groups. Overweight and obese adults are former overweight and obese children. Likewise, overweight and obese children will quite probably become overweight and obese adults. There are more similarities than differences.

It has become apparent that the virus does not discriminate in the matter of age. It will take anybody. But here, a contradiction arises. In another way, the virus does very much discriminate. It shows a preference for victims belonging to certain races and ethnicities.

The previous post mentioned the COVID Collaborative’s report on children who have lost their adult caregivers to the virus. In this country, it’s around 170,000 children so far. The report drops this shocker about our nation’s capital:

The District of Columbia had the widest disparities in caregiver loss, where Black and Hispanic children’s rates of caregiver loss were 11 and 18 times the rates of loss for White children, respectively.

No one who pays attention was surprised to learn that, throughout the U.S., Black and Hispanic children are affected by caregiver loss about two and a half times as much as white kids. Asian children are also worse off. The most severely affected children are American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander.

Orphaned and semi-orphaned

The point is almost impossible to overstate: Obesity and COVID-19 have a relationship that goes far beyond compatibility, into totally overboard Public Displays of Affection. They are beyond shame, a match made in Hades. The virus frequently — and we have no idea yet exactly how often — sets up obese kids for a future of distress in which eating disorders will be the least of their problems. The group says,

Children and adolescents depend on their caregivers for financial, emotional, and developmental support, and the death of a parent or caregiver can hinder a child’s development and success for the rest of their lives. The impacts of losing one or both parents can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, suicide, poor academic outcomes, increased rates of high school dropout, economic turmoil, and general instability.

What a perfect recipe for an ever-increasingly obese population! This is why COVID Collaborative envisions a number of clinical, economic, and social interventions that could help. They include the creation of a COVID-19 Bereaved Children’s Fund, and the expansion of services for children who have lost their significant adults to the pandemic, including mentoring, peer support groups, and other “evidence-based policies, programs, and practices to address grief and trauma.” They also call for additions to current social service and mental health care systems, and “executive action from the federal government to support these children now.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State/Territory,” COVID.CDC.gov, undated
Source: “Hidden Pain,” CovidCollaborative.us, undated
Image by Heath Cajandig/CC BY 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

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:

Presentations

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.

Food & Health Resources