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Doctor: Parents should lose custody of obese kids

Photo credit: AP | Stormy Bradley, left, and her daughter Maya, 14, are seen, in Atlanta. Maya, who is 5'4" tall and weighs about 200 lbs., is part of an anti-obesity ad campaign in Georgia. (July 11, 2011)

CHICAGO (AP) — Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.

It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.

Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.

State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” said Ludwig, who wrote the article with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.

But University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan said he worries that the debate risks putting too much blame on parents. Obese children are victims of advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying — things a parent can’t control, he said.

“If you’re going to change a child’s weight, you’re going to have to change all of them,” Caplan said.
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30. It is these kids for whom state intervention, including education, parent training, and temporary protective custody in the most extreme cases, should be considered, Ludwig said.

While some doctors promote weight-loss surgery for severely obese teens, Ludwig said it hasn’t been used for very long in adolescents and can have serious, sometimes life-threatening complications.

Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Kids?

“We don’t know the long-term safety and effectiveness of these procedures done at an early age,” he said.
Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

“Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity,” he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.

In a commentary in the medical journal BMJ last year, London pediatrician Dr. Russell Viner and colleagues said obesity was a factor in several child protection cases in Britain. They argued that child protection services should be considered if parents are neglectful or actively reject efforts to control an extremely obese child’s weight.

A 2009 opinion article in Pediatrics made similar arguments. Its authors said temporary removal from the home would be warranted “when all reasonable alternative options have been exhausted.”

That piece discussed a 440-pound 16-year-old girl who developed breathing problems from excess weight and nearly died at a University of Wisconsin hospital. Doctors discussed whether to report her family for neglect. But they didn’t need to, because her medical crisis “was a wake-up call” for her family, and the girl ended up losing about 100 pounds, said co-author Dr. Norman Fost, a medical ethicist at the university’s Madison campus.

State intervention in obesity “doesn’t necessarily involve new legal requirements,” Ludwig said. Health care providers are required to report children who are at immediate risk, and that can be for a variety of reasons, including neglect, abuse and what doctors call “failure to thrive.” That’s when children are severely underweight.

Jerri Gray, a Greenville, S.C., single mother who lost custody of her 555-pound 14-year-old son two years ago, said authorities don’t understand the challenges families may face in trying to control their kids’ weight.

“I was always working two jobs so we wouldn’t end up living in ghettos,” Gray said. She said she often didn’t have time to cook, so she would buy her son fast food. She said she asked doctors for help for her son’s big appetite but was accused of neglect.

Her sister has custody of the boy, now 16. The sister has the money to help him with a special diet and exercise, and the boy has lost more than 200 pounds, Gray said.

“Even though good has come out of this as far as him losing weight, he told me just last week, ‘Mommy, I want to be back with you so bad.’ They’ve done damage by pulling us apart,” Gray said.

Stormy Bradley, an Atlanta mother whose overweight 14-year-old daughter is participating in a Georgia advocacy group’s “Stop Childhood Obesity” campaign, said she sympathizes with families facing legal action because of their kids’ weight.

Healthier food often costs more, and trying to monitor kids’ weight can be difficult, especially when they reach their teens and shun parental control, Bradley said. But taking youngsters away from their parents “definitely seems too extreme,” she said.

Dr. Lainie Ross, a medical ethicist at the University of Chicago, said: “There’s a stigma with state intervention. We just have to do it with caution and humility and make sure we really can say that our interventions are going to do more good than harm.”

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10-year-old Fitness Guru Known as The “Workout Kid” Turns Heads

Yesterday I did an article about an elder taking the fitness world by storm. Now it’s time to show you the youngest. Meet C J Senter

C.J. Senter may or may not be the next Tony Horton or the next Barry Sanders, but he is definitely the next 10-year-old to watch.

Granted, when most people hear “child prodigy,” they rightfully raise an eyebrow and wonder who is pulling the strings. Add a workout DVD by a fourth-grader with sculpted muscles to the mix and “cute” can turn to “concerning.” But it turns out the story behind “C.J. The Workout Kid” is a lot more inspiring than insidious.

C.J. started working out five years ago when his football coach told him and his teammates to go home over a weekend and get some exercise. He did some push-ups and sit-ups and loved it. Not too long after, he saw a P90X infomercial and loved that too. He’s been working out ever since. C.J. does his own routines three times a week, after school and homework, and he’s given new names to some old and boring moves, like the burpee, which involves a squat, push-up, and jump. C.J. calls that one the “shredder.” He even teaches a class of (mostly older) kids at the gym near where he lives in Locust Grove, Ga.

“It feels great,” C.J. says by phone from his Georgia home. “I love staying fit and healthy.”

But wait a minute. Research shows kids shouldn’t be touching weights until at least age 15.

“I don’t use weights,” C.J. says.

Not even bench press?

“I don’t bench press,” he says. “It’s not good for kids.”

Surely he’s on some insane diet, right? His dad feeds him wheat grass and cow brain, perhaps?

“I’m not on a diet,” C.J. says. “I eat everything.”

Disbelieving? So is Carlos Senter — C.J.’s dad. Carlos has spent most of his son’s life in shock, ever since C.J. somehow climbed out of his crib — at seven months old.

“It was two, three o’clock in the morning,” Carlos says, “and boom! My wife would go look in his room and here he comes, crawling out. He would go into the refrigerator, too.”

Carlos can’t quite figure out how his son got to be so fit. He says his relatives put on muscle easily, but not this easily. C.J. has an older brother and a younger sister who don’t really love sports as much. And Dad isn’t exactly chiseled like Terrell Owens. In fact, he admits C.J.’s work ethic has shamed him and his wife into getting into better shape.

“He doesn’t really eat candy,” Carlos says. “I have no idea why.”

And for that matter, Carlos has no idea why his son doesn’t have an attitude. “This kid will score a touchdown, take the football to the ref and act like nothing ever happened,” Carlos says. “If it was me, well, I probably would be a little different.”

But as much as the “Workout Kid” routine is working — C.J.’s DVDs are in so much demand that his dad hired a PR rep — Carlos says he gives most of the DVDs away for free and the primary objective is to help kids get off the couch.

C.J.’s primary objective has always been the same thing: make it to the NFL. He’s a running back and safety, modeling his game after another C.J. — Titans speed demon Chris Johnson.

C.J.’s already been named MVP for the state of Georgia as an 8-and-under, and last year he played in the 10-and-under group as a 9-year-old. Carlos says that the team run by former NFL running back Jamal Lewis expressed interest in having C.J. commute to Atlanta to join up, but the drive was simply too far.

High school coaches are already aware of C.J., but Carlos, who runs a local barber shop, insists on not looking too far ahead.

“As long as he’s happy,” Carlos says, “I’m happy.”

C.J. does seem happy, even though he’s a little bit tired of when kids come up to him at school and ask, “Are those your real muscles?”

The next generation of Atlanta prep football players is about to find out.

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www.HealingPowerHour.com 

How Parents Are Influencing Their Children’s Bad Eating Habits

Parents Teach Kids Bad Eating Habits

If children watch their parents eat huge quantities of chocolate, chips, cookies, and ice cream, there is a good chance they will start eating similar kinds of food, as this will be the kind of food that is available in the house. If junk food is within easy reach of children, then of course they are going to help themselves to it, and even if it not they will probably find a way of getting to it, as it is the ‘forbidden fruit’. Adults are getting fatter because they are struggling to control their eating habits, and it seems that parents are passing on their own bad eating habits to their children.

At meal times parents usually serve up the same food they are eating to their children and often in similar quantities. Consequently, if parents are choosing to eat fried, fatty foods every night their children will too and if their parents Kids learn how to eat badly from their parentsdon’t eat enough fruit and vegetables nor will they. Many people do not know what reasonable portion sizes are, and thus end up eating more food than they need, and so parents are not only eating too much; their children are, also. Although children are growing, when they are young they don’t require the same number of calories as teenagers or adults, and so the fact they are being given more than they need is leading an increasing number of children to develop a weight problem.

Obesity in children is something that could mostly be avoided if parents decided to feed their children less and concentrate on getting them to eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet. Unfortunately, parents will often find themselves giving into their children’s demands for a McDonald’s meal or an extra slice of cake, and thus any attempt to control their children’s eating habits goes out of the window. Besides, many parents can’t face the prospect of hypocritically demanding their children eat up their vegetables when they never do.

It is clearly not only at meal times that children are eating too much, since many children have picked up the habit of snacking on junk food between meals from their parents. If their parents give them some sweet treats to try they will probably find they like them, and once they have a taste for them it can be hard for children to restrict the amount they eat, particularly if their parents do not enforce any boundaries. Even if parents do try to stop their children eating so much junk food they may find that their children try to sneak food out of the kitchen, making it difficult for them to deal with their children’s eating habits.

Children tend to learn from their parents, copying their behaviour and finding their actions either rewarded or punished, and so it is clear that if parents have developed bad eating habits, their children are likely to, as well.

Article by Michelle Wilkinson

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www.HealingPowerHour.com

The Young and the Unhealthy

American Diet is making our kids fat

Parents will always do their best to keep their children safe, but there are some who unwittingly sacrifice their children’s health by allowing them to eat potentially harmful junk food without thinking about the consequences. Dr. Joseph Mercola warns that children’s preferences for salt, sugar and fat in foods are a result of what they’re fed.

USA Today says, “Parents need to carefully consider the types of foods they give to young children at home and in restaurants … Repeated exposure builds taste preferences.”

The Alarming Truth about American Children’s Diets

According to British chef and food advocate Jamie Oliver, our food culture has changed so drastically over the last 30 years. He says that the majority of children today don’t know what fresh, whole foods are. He illustrates how the three aspects of the “food landscape”—home, school, and main street—have all abandoned real food in favor of quick, cheap, processed foods.

A recent study revealed that junk food constitutes almost half of the calories ingested by average two to 18-year-old Americans. The sources of empty calories included:

  • Soda
  • Fruit drinks
  • Pizza
  • Dairy desserts like ice cream
  • Grain desserts (cake, cookies, and doughnuts)
  • Whole milk

Dr. Mercola says that this type of diet is the reason why many children in the U.S. and other parts of the world are undernourished.

Sodas are quickly turning our children into diabeticsSoda and Junk Food Affects Children’s Food Choices

One factor that affects children’s food preference is brand awareness. Researchers observed the link between the taste preferences of more than 100 preschool children and their emerging awareness of fast food and sugary drink brands. All of the children were able to pair at least some products with the companies that produced them.

“Children who were exposed to junk food, soda, and fast food — via advertising and also because their parents fed them these foods — learned to recognize and prefer these foods over healthier choices,” says Dr. Mercola.

Junk Food Also Affects Children’s IQ levels

A separate study discovered that children who consume large amounts of processed foods, fat, and sugar at the age of three have a lower IQ when they turn 8 ½ years old. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/07/diet-children-iq)

“Every one-point increase in the study’s dietary pattern score – a record of processed fat intake – was associated with a 1.67-point fall in IQ,” The Guardian reports.

On the other hand, children with healthier diets have higher IQ levels. For every measured increase in dietary score—meaning the child eats more fruits and vegetables—a 1.2-point increase in IQ was seen.

Parents are Responsible for Their Children’s Healthy Diet

Children will not know which foods are healthy unless you, as a parent, educate them. Learn more about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods, so you can change the food culture of your entire family. Lead by example, so your child will have the best start in life and develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

America is the leading country in children obesityDr. Mercola recommends reading his nutrition plan, which will be the foundation of healthy food choices for your family. He advises cooking meals at home instead of buying processed, ready-to-eat food from restaurants and fast food chains.

Use whole foods when preparing meals. These are foods that have not been altered or processed from their original state. Whole foods have been grown or raised as nature intended, without chemical additives, pesticides, and fertilizers.

Dr. Mercola also advises taking probiotics. Processed foods and junk foods increase bad bacteria, leading to poor gut health. Probiotics replenishes the good bacteria in your digestive system and maintains the ideal ratio between good and bad bacteria.* For children who dislike taking pills, taking a probiotic supplement in powder form is the best option.

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ADD and ADHD- The Natural Cure

How to naturally, safely and “easily” Help Kids with ADD and ADHD

The first thing that needs to be understood is that the label of ADD and ADHD comes from a list of symptoms. And there are different causes for each symptom for each person. Said another way, every kid with the label of ADD or ADHD has different reasons why they got they label. So trying to treat “the ADD or ADHD” with one cure, whether natural or with drugs is never going to work.

The only thing you can do is add to the kid’s health and remove some of the common major contributing factors.

Some of the common major contributing factors to ADD and ADHD

  1. Sugar
  2. Allergies
  3. Food and Toxin Sensitivities
  4. Dehydration
  5. Home Environment
  6. (one that many parents hate to hear and often deny) Parenting

The average American “eats” over 300 lbs of refined carbohydrates – my definition of sugar. And since I don’t eat any, some people must eat 600 lbs.

Have you ever seen a kid on a “sugar high”? what happens? They act just about like every kid with the label of ADD and ADHD.

What many parents do not realize is all the disguises that sugar comes hidden in:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Ketchup
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pizza
  • Frozen food
  • Canned and Frozen vegetables
  • Canned and Frozen fruit
  • Almost anything in a jar
  • Almost anything in a can

Along with the obvious ones:

  • Ice cream
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Cookies
  • Chocolate
  • Most treat

And just about everything you buy in the grocery store. If you read the labels, the actual written out ingredients, not the white and black lined label that really tells you nothing, but the fine print label you have to look for. If you read that label on everything you buy you will see how refined carbohydrates are added to almost literally EVERYTHING you buy.

Why — because anything that rhymes with “gross” is a form of sugar. Glucose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, and a couple others like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc.

Allergies and food and toxin sensitivities are pretty much one in the same when it comes to kids with ADD and ADHD

The artificial colors, flavors and preservatives that are in most grocery store foods are the biggest culprit in this category.

In some kids these “toxins” are literally causing an “allergic reaction” of the behaviors often diagnosed as ADD and ADHD.

When you switch the child to a completely natural diet (organic) and free of man made junk, it is a huge step forward in having a “normally” behaving child again.

Dehydration is another huge contributing factor. The reason why this is so true is because the only thing that counts as water is water. Soda, kool-aide, pop, juice, sports drinks and everything that has anything added to it the body does not process and use the same as good old fashioned water.

So if your child (or you for that matter) is not drinking water as your main source of liquids, you are dehydrated.

Why does dehydration contribute to ADD or ADHD?

Let me ask you a question. What would happen if you through a toaster plugged into the wall into the bath with you? You would get a “nice” shock because electricity travels through water.

What does your brain and nerves control in your body?

EVERYTHING!!!!

And your brain and nerves are 80% water which is literally what the electrical impulses of the brain travel down.

So if there is a shortage of water, the “proper” messages are going to be jittered, scrambled and jumpy, just like the behavior of kids often diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.

Home environment and parenting.

There is this culture in Central America that has very little to no contact with the outside world. And one of the most interesting things about them, I find, is how they raise their kids. They never yell, they never have to punish them, and the kids always do what they are told/asked.

Upon questioning this group they ask them, how is that possible? And the answer they give is simple. We don’t’ ask them not to be a child. Have you ever seen a kid not be a kid? Have you ever seen a bird, not be a bird? If you just allow a kid to be a kid, they will always be perfect as a kid.

Said another way, it is our social conditioning that kids rebel against. It is in their nature to be kids. It has been for millions of years. When you/we ask them to not be a kid it is like asking a rabbit not to jump.

You wouldn’t think of asking a bird not to fly or a cat not to meow. That is what they do. That is who they are. And if you do ask that, well, good luck and have fun.

The same goes or kids. Kids have more energy because they still have more health in their bucket. They have more freedom and less fears and inhibitions stopping them. They are not concerned with how the other people in the grocery store will judge them. They don’t care about what their friends think. (until they get older and model the behavior of needing to “look good”) They are kids. Accept that they are kids and allow them to be kids and a lot of the ADD and ADHD behavior goes away.

Coupled with increasing their health and eliminating some of the other major contributing factors I talked about above, Ritalin can become a thing of the past.

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