Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Not even babies get to be fat anymore
“The obesity epidemic has spared no age group, even our youngest children,” said Dr. Matthew Gillman, senior author of the study published Thursday in the journal Obesity and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
. . .
Infants from birth to 6 months of age had the greatest jump in the risk of becoming overweight of any age group, with the number of overweight infants increasing by 74 percent.
. . .
“These results show that efforts to prevent obesity must start at the earliest stages of human development, even before birth,” Gillman said.
“These efforts include avoiding smoking and excessive weight gain during pregnancy, preventing gestational diabetes, and promoting breast-feeding, all of which researchers have shown to be associated with reductions in the incidence of children being overweight,” he added.
Wait. I'm sorry. Not even fetuses get to be fat anymore. My bad.
I'm almost speechless, but...come on. Seriously? We're having fatter babies? You think maybe that could have something to do with improved pre-natal care? With pregnant women getting good nutrition? Maybe a natural evolution toward bigger people in general?
And, while I'm all for people not smoking in general, aren't pregnant women generally told not to smoke because it contributes to lower birth weights? So, if that makes babies smaller, how does it also make them fatter? Which is it?
And frankly, if babies and children are getting fatter, so what? Being fat, even as a child, does not mean you're sick. It just means you're fat. If the concern is children are developing illnesses at an increased rate, okay. Deal with that. But don't focus on the fat. Maybe kids are getting sicker because of polutants? Because of the chemicals we pump into food and water and air? Perhaps they're getting sicker because of our hyper-vigilant anti-bacterial everything? I mean, face it, you develop immunity to a lot of diseases by being exposed to them. If we're killing bacteria everywhere we can, we drop exposure. On some level, yay! But on others....you can't build a functioning immune system if your environment is unnaturally sterile.
Maybe kids are getting sicker because they spend so much of their lives inside. Again, limiting exposure to things that can promote a robust immune system. Maybe they spend so much time inside because they don't have safe neighborhoods to play in. Maybe they don't have the right supervision because their parents have to work 60+hours a week to make ends meet. Maybe sickness is caused by a lot of things that vary from person to person. Maybe we should spend time looking at the big picture instead of focusing on the fatness.
Because, frankly, when we're at the point where babies can't be fat, we've gone waaaaaay off the deep end.