The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of a gastric band on overweight children, according to an Associated Press (AP) article, published Monday, Feb. 5.
What exactly is a gastric band you ask? It’s really just a warm, fuzzy way of saying that our children are essentially getting their stomachs stapled—with a little more breathing room thanks to the adjustability of the band. Has our society reached a rock-bottom low? We are allowing our children to become so overweight that the last resort is stomach manipulation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported a surge in children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which may develop from obesidity and unhealthy eating habits. According to the report, “Physicians fear that as the childhood population becomes increasingly overweight and less active, more type 2 diabetes may occur in younger pre-pubescent children.”
In other words, the problem with childhood obesity is more than skin deep—it goes as deep as creating a drastic increase of diabetic children.
Of course, according to the AP, children are only considered candidates for surgery after they have spent six months trying to lose weight through conventional methods under hospital supervision. Unfortunately, “not a single one has slimmed down enough to take surgery off the table,” said Dr. Zitsman of the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.
So what’s the solution to trimming down the fat?
First of all, parents need to take responsibility for their children. If a parent cannot be responsible enough to prevent their child from being so overweight as to develop heart complications and childhood diabetes—this is called child abuse. Once a child is abused, the government must step in.
Stomach surgery is a good first step to solving the problem of childhood diabetes and obesity—but it’s a quick fix. We need more responsible, health-aware parents, more heath and nutrition education in our schools, and a society that doesn’t send mixed messages of “indulgence: good” and “overweight: ugly.”
Over the past decade there has been an increase of children facing eating disorders—on both ends of the spectrum. To eat or not to eat is not the question, the question is: how do we eat responsibly?