Childhood Obesity: Help Not Always Accessible

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February 2004 Volume 15, Number 1
©2004 Gürze Books

When a child is obese, parents may go through a complex process of monitoring and self-help methods before seeking professional help. Once parents decide to seek medical help, they don’t always find the assistance they need, according to an ongoing study at the University of Bristol, England. Results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children showed that some physicians are sympathetic and may offer parents tests and educational books and tapes; however, sometimes these aids never materialize. Other physicians tell parents to do nothing because their child will “grow out of it;” while still others blame the mother for “making a fuss” over the child’s weight. Other physicians simply aren’t interested and offer no help. Dr. L. D. Edmonds reported these findings at the 13th European Childhood Obesity Workshop in Mesagne, Italy, last fall. Dr. Edmonds also noted that in contrast to the varying help given by physicians, pediatric dietitians were very helpful and supportive to both parents and child, but community dietitians tended to be less constructive—seeming to echo the overall range of positive, negative, or dismissive responses to childhood obesity from the medical community.

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