Helping a child lose 100 pounds or more is a brutal, uphill battle even with intense diet and behavior treatment, national childhood obesity experts say.
Interest in the treatment of severely obese children is in the spotlight this week after the news that an 8-year-old Cleveland boy who weighed more than 200 pounds was taken from his family and put into foster care. Social workers said it was necessary because the third-grader's mother wasn't doing enough about his weight.
It's hard for a child to lose that much weight, says Melinda Sothern, co-author of Trim Kids and a professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. She has treated more than 3,000 obese and severely obese children over the past 20 years.
Even the most well-meaning parents would have a hard time sticking with a diet program that would "erase 100 pounds off a child," she says.
Still, parents have a responsibility to try to help their overweight children reach a healthy weight, and the kids are more likely to be successful if they are involved in an intense, family-based program that includes guidance from a doctor, registered dietitian, psychologist and exercise physiologist, Sothern says. But it's costly to do this, and it's hard find facilities that offer this type of help for families with severely obese children, she says.
Marilyn Tanner, a registered dietitian at Washington University in St. Louis who has worked with overweight children for 20 years, agrees that it's very difficult to help a child lose 100 pounds. "A lot of time if you can stop children from continuing to gain, you are ahead of the game."
Nutrition experts might try to help a 200-pound child lose 50 pounds and grow into the 150-pound weight, says Tanner, who is a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Although Sothern and Tanner don't know the specific details of the Cleveland boy's case, they say severe obesity in childhood is often a complex medical condition that may be partly the result of a genetic predisposition to be overweight exacerbated by poor eating habits and lack of physical activity.
Some of those children appear to have the deck stacked against them genetically, she says. "They are resistant to treatment. I've seen it. Parents can be doing everything correctly, and the child's weight won't budge. It may be virtually impossible for the kids to resist food. They are constantly putting food in their mouth to feel satiated."
2011-12-03 16:52 编辑：kuaileyingyu