The continued increase and trending of childhood obesity for the current generation around the globe is simply not something one can choose to be ignorant and be in denial about, like climate change.
As a physician, researcher, and scientist, and even if you are not, so many today are blatantly choosing to ignore the science supporting the reality of climate change. Unlike climate change, physicians and providers like myself, who care for children every day, in clinic and in surgery, can attest to the continued increase of the childhood obesity epidemic, as this report warns.
When we see a child, examine an innocent young preschooler or toddler, or of any age, measure and record their weight and body mass index, the obesity is not for debate. When I am preparing to perform tonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnea in the operating room for a 5 year old who weighs 90 pounds, who has difficulty sitting up and having his torso bend in half, and my colleagues and I are on alert status during anesthesia and after wake up from surgery, this is not up for anyone’s opinion to debate.
Isn’t this child abuse? How can we allow innocent children whose palates and brains are susceptible to sugar addiction, fast food addiction, and processed tastes that achieve the “bliss point”, which industry knows so well and can market to achieve gains at the cost of human health and lives? At what point is the “margin” tolerable or even ethical, at the cost of the future of our human race, our dignity, and freedom from disease?
How do we as parents and caregivers truly speak up? Exert our collective powers? It’s difficult but possible. I for one believe that by not purchasing these products, not visiting these fast food restaurant, sharing awareness and resolve to save our children, we can send a loud message to all who are making “margins” at the expense of our health and lives. Without demand, production will have to decrease. Without purchase, there will be less margin.
My heart aches daily, as my colleagues and I work hard to explain to families WHY their child’s obesity should be of concern, and what their primary care doctors may or may not have told them. Perhaps their primary physicians have given up. How can doctors who have trained for years, in a volume based care model, fight against the giants of industry who spend millions on advertising, marketing to imply health, and perform research that helps them create the addictive behaviors in consumption? None of us were taught how to fight against that as we work tirelessly to help our patients.
Don’t sit and watch this happen, make your vote count, make your purchasing power count, make your voice heard and most of all, let’s stand up and say “Enough!” We will fight for the health and well-being of our children.
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