“A few weeks ago, I saw a 40-pound 3-year-old with legs so bowed that he looked like a Dickensian child with Vitamin D deficiency rickets. His diagnosis: Blount’s disease, a condition caused by excess weight crushing the growth plate of his shin bone just below his knee.
“Later, a 10-year-old came for a follow-up after major orthopedic surgery. I had seen him weeks before when he came to our outpatient clinic complaining of thigh pain. After a careful physical examination, I knew that his problem was not in his thigh, but in his hip. An X-ray showed that the top of his femur was slipping off the rest of his leg bone, like a scoop of ice cream sliding off the cone on a hot summer day.
“The treatment consists of inserting bone screws and chiseling a section of his femur to try to prevent severe arthritis. His post-surgical weight, 140 pounds, was down from his previous high of 148. But a normal weight for a 10-year-old is 90 pounds.
“Excess weight doesn’t just affect the budding skeletal system, but all of a child’s physical and emotional development. I had to counsel an 8-year-old who was recently suspended from third grade for fighting. He had been trying to ignore the repetitive taunts of his classmates over his excessive weight, which hovered at 90 pounds.”
hurrah for the national business group on health’s declaration that “obesity is everyone’s business.” hurrah for their insistence that employers play a critical role in battling it. and hurrah for their newly revamped toolkit that includes the expected startling statistics and compelling reasons why employers should take up the sword and slay this nationwide killer, but also the necessary information to help them do so.
september is national childhood obesity awareness month. as if we needed a month to make us aware.