Coronavirus Chronicles: The Struggle for Recognition

The struggle for recognition was not of the virus itself, of course, but of its insidious and invidious long-term effects. Today’s obese adults are yesterday’s obese children. Today’s obese children are tomorrow’s obese adults. And since a couple of years ago, COVID-19 is all mixed up in it somehow. And… it looks like this factor might become much more significant as time goes on.

By now it is obvious that, in the words of Prof. Resia Pretorius, “even mild and sometimes asymptomatic initial Covid-19 infection may lead to debilitating, long-term disability.” The creator of LongCovidKids.org writes,

One of the biggest failures during the Covid-19 pandemic is our slow response in diagnosing and treating long Covid. As many as 100 million people worldwide already suffer from long Covid.

Since early 2020, we and other researchers have pointed out that acute Covid-19 is not only a lung disease, but actually significantly affects the vascular (blood flow) and coagulation (blood clotting) systems.

Among other ongoing yet often-varying symptoms, long COVID victims experience “recurring fatigue and brain fog, muscle weakness, being out of breath and having low oxygen levels, sleep difficulties and anxiety or depression.” People in this condition are not often found on elliptical machines, or shopping for fresh veggies. Often, they are lucky if they can get out of bed and make it to the bathroom.

People are sick at home for a long time, either alone or with others who possibly are not well-trained caregivers. Even with the best intentions about healthful eating, victims of PASC (post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2) may not be able to shop for themselves. Some Americans are so really, desperately ill, that managing their diets — or those of their dependent children — would be a hopelessly ambitious project. And kids who feel so lousy are probably not going out for football anytime soon.

This plague is still in its infancy, so how can anyone know what the future holds? There is, however, a strong suspicion in some quarters that the obesity statistics will continue to become even more discouraging.

Not hopeless?

Early in the game, the official word was that recovery after the acute illness took about two weeks. Immediately, dissenting voices were heard. These were not just unhappy, underpaid employees looking for a reason to ditch work. Early in 2020, for instance, journalist Eleanor Cummins wrote about a medical expert, a virologist named Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine — in other words, not some lollygagging layabout. He reported that after recovery from acute coronavirus, it was almost two months before he “started feeling like himself again.”

A few months ago, the Americans With Disabilities Act was extended to protect people suffering from long COVID. This directly impacts obesity, because suffering from PASC is probably a good indication that a person is not in peak form, and possibly doesn’t even have the energy or the will to weigh their food portions at mealtime. To make matters worse, recovery is rarely an orderly, linear progression. The person tends to improve for a short time, or in one respect, but then fall prey to an unpredicted relapse. But now, possibly, more parents and children will be able to get better.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Could microclots help explain the mystery of long Covid?,” TheGuardian.com, 01/05/22
Source: “Guidelines Say Covid-19 Symptoms Last Two Weeks. Survivors Know Better.,” Medium.com, 05/20/20
Source: “Biden Extends Americans With Disabilities Act Protections To COVID Long-Haulers,” HASC.org, 07/26/21
Images by Timothy Fenn and Nathan/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