jeudi 12 juillet 2012

CHILDHOOD OBESITY IN AUSTRALIA


It  truly saddened my heart to read this news item from The Age in Melbourne, Australia
VICTORIAN welfare authorities have begun using extreme obesity as a reason to support children being separated from their parents - and experts predict more cases, as the population gets fatter.
The Department of Human Services has cited obesity in at least two child protection court cases this year.
One case involved a pre-teenage boy who weighed 110 kilograms and the other a teenage girl whose waist circumference of 169 centimetres was greater than her height. The department would not reveal the exact number of cases.   Published 11 July 2012.

Obesity is not the sole reason for removal of the children from their homes, but this case has brought forth the salient features of the contributions of the society into the obesity.
You could say, the child was sitting in the room and eating and not exercising that is why he became fat. Quantitatively it might be correct, but do all children from the same suburb sit in the room and eat and not exercise? The courts themselves and even the Physician in charge said: both the mother and child are victims of the environment, it is the society that has created this problem, both of them are under stress from a society which has become individualistic and less caring. So it is not to put the blame on the mother or the child. But the court is providing relief to the mother, by admitting that neither she nor the clinic nor the doctor is capable of providing any sort of attention with regard to his obesity. Can you imagine what is 169 cm waist circumference?  For those thinking in inches, it is 66 inches, she is wider than tall! In the practice of Medicine, we learn about extreme cases to know about the metabolism or dysfunction, and these extreme cases makes us realize that before it is too late we have to turn our attention from the Clinic and Doctors to the Society as a whole as the culprits

Reminds me very much of the famous words uttered by individuals in another context and at another court:

I am not responsible.

If we are not responsible, each and every one of us, who is then responsible? What is being lost is the solidarity one feels to other members of the society. Have you ever wondered why Japan has very low obesity rates?
Why is obesity so high in English Speaking countries?
USA
UK
Australia
Canada
New Zealand

All the above societies have also turned more selfish, from Whitlam and Trudeau to Iron Lady and Reagan.

I have always maintained Obesity is a Social Illness and the answers have to come from the Society rather than Epidemiologists and Doctors and Clinics.

It has made headlines around the world:
Le Monde.fr
Contacté par le quotidien, un porte-parole du département des services humains qui a rendu ces décisions a précisé que l'obésité ne pouvait être l'unique cause entraînant le placement des enfants ajoutant que celle-ci pouvait être le symptôme d'autres problèmes plus graves.