Send Away the Fat Kids

Shudder-worthy article today: Task force: Screen kids, obesity treatment works

An influential advisory panel says school-aged youngsters and teens should be screened for obesity and sent to intensive behavior treatment if they need to lose weight — a move that could transform how doctors deal with overweight children.

Needless to say, sanity watchers points required when reading the entire article.

Ugh, this kind of thing makes me sick…such blatant ‘othering,’ such a huge expense, for: “…intensive treatment can help children lose several pounds — enough for obese kids to drop into the “overweight” category, making them less prone to diabetes and other health problems.”

Several pounds? Twice a week appointments, group ‘therapy’ meant to brainwash children that feeding themselves and/or not having a cookie-cutter body type is a sign of being broken and bad?

Ugh, ugh, ugh. What are your thoughts?


Jay Severin Rails Against MA Anti-Obesity Laws

Jay Severin of 96.9 FM WTKK has been outspoken against the state of Massachusetts and its new anti-obesity campaign put forth by Governor Deval Patrick (D).

Though Jay’s personal views on obesity aren’t fat-friendly by any means, Jay illustrates that one does not have to think well of obesity to fight for the right of individuals not to have their civil rights eroded or taken away entirely because of how much they weigh.

The best political friends of fat people are libertarians, and others who believe in a hard and low limit to government size and power.

You don’t have to be in Massachusetts to listen to Jay. He’s on 3pm – 7pm EST every weekday. Listen online at

Michael Graham of WTKK has also spoken out for body autonomy and against these intrusive new regulations. Here’s a great quote from his recent blog post (though I don’t agree that “kids eat too much and exercise too little, the point is sound), “Massachusetts: The Fat is in Our Heads“:

Does anyone think the overweight children of the Commonwealth will drop so much as a Whoopee Pie–much less a pound–from Patrick’s efforts? Of course not. Patrick will talk, legislators will vote, taxpayers will foot the bill…and our kids will still eat too much and exercise too little.

Meanwhile, as I write in the Boston Herald today, there’s a very simple action Beacon Hill could take today that would have an immediate, positive impact on our kids. Allow more charter schools.  But Gov. Patrick won’t. Even though a new study proves charter schools outperform everything else, our politicians oppose their expansion to serve more kids.

Fat people, libertarians are the only party out there that doesn’t think we should “do something” about obesity. It’s time to get back to our roots, and embrace libertarianism with gusto, as a vehicle to protect our civil rights.

EDIT: Just to reiterate, I do *not* agree with Jay Severin’s personal attitude regarding fat, especially fat women. In fact, just about five minutes ago he said that shockingly thin models were good role models for women and that our society was very sadly becoming more accepting of fat “bottoms” on women. He also said that he spoke for all men. lol!

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

spacedcowedgirl had a great comment on Rachel’s post on the Wii Fit:

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard that sure, eating disorders are a problem, but fat kids are KILLING THEMSELVES (or their parents are killing them) so desperate times call for desperate measures. I would be willing to bet that a majority of Americans would see basically no problem with shaming a fat child, destroying his or her mental health, and possibly triggering an eating disorder, as long as these steps put the kid into the normal BMI range.

What do you think of this? I, for one, agree with her. The culture is getting so toxic with respect to the Obesity EpiPanic Daily Media Scares (some of which include re-releasing panic-mongering press releases from last year) that people are getting hysteric. They would do anything to get their kids into the Arbitrary McMagic! SuperFittingIn “NORMAL” BMI, including putting kids on diets, sending them to boot-camp style fat camps to punish them for being fat and starve and overexercise them into conformity, even though it’s been shown to cause lower weights as well as stunted heights, and mental deficiencies (note: “malnutrition” doesn’t mean they had too little “good” nutrition defined as lean protein, wheat-based everything, fruits & veggies. They’re also talking about a fundamental lack of (gasp!) calories and (double gasp!) fats and (oh, the gasping horrors!) sugars).

Quick hit: Giving short kids growth hormones to make them taller

I consider this article very important because it discusses another aspect of “body engineering” children in order to fit into societally acceptable norms—making short children, who are often teased for their shortness–rather than addressing the root problem of societal body discrimination.

The last quote is the all-important caveat.

Until research findings such as these were available, it was easy to assume that anything that could make the shorter person taller would be desirable, because of commonly accepted negative stereotypes associated with short stature and predictable experiences of teasing and juvenilization at younger ages,. In fact, in 2003, the FDA approved growth hormone (GH) to promote accelerated growth and adult height in the shortest 1.2% of children and adolescents who do not have any detectable medical problems. GH had previously been approved for treating youths with GH deficiency; in this case, medication was substituting for a hormone that these children’s bodies were not producing on their own. GH was then given to children with other medical conditions; for example, Prader-Willi in which metabolic benefits from treatment have been reported.

And at the end of the article:

My concern over the FDA approval of GH for healthy, short children is that medical treatment may send the wrong message. You possibly communicate to the child that something is wrong—so wrong that it justifies daily injections for years. Currently, little to no consideration is given to the potential psychological harm that treatment could inflict on the child we seek to help. And by “treating” short stature in healthy children, medicine is reinforcing the social forces that maintain negative stereotypes about short people. (5) There will always be individuals below any cutoff adopted to set the limit between “normal” from “abnormal” height. Therefore, even if the individual with short stature were to receive psychosocial benefit from GH (a benefit that has not been demonstrated), it is only because others remain shorter.

Over time, more and more treatments will blur the line between what we consider medically necessary versus enhancement. In deciding how to use these treatments, we need to focus on evidence, like patient-reported quality of life—especially when treating young people who rely on their parents and healthcare professionals to make proper decisions on their behalf.

~ David E. Sandberg, Ph.D.
April 2007

Which is the same thing as putting fat kids on diets, or on over-vigorous forced exercise regimes, or shaming them for their BMIs, etc. By “treating” fatness in healthy fat children, medicine is reinforcing the negative stereotypes about fat people.