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Posts Tagged ‘Obesity’

You know that part in the Officer Krupke song of West Side Story, when the character says, “Hey, I gotta social disease!”?

O God, why do I think of life as one long musical comedy? Well I guess it’s better than a Shakespearian tragedy. I was listening to all the talk yesterday about how the AMA has now classified obesity as a disease. Here is what they said at their annual meeting:

“RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association recognize obesity as a disease state with multiple pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.”  http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/06/19/193440570/ama-says-its-time-to-call-obesity-a-disease

So, supposedly, if insurance company clerks agree with this assessment, they will pay more doctors for actually taking time to sit with patients and counsel them about the dangers of obesity, and how to fix and/or prevent it from happening. Sounds lovely in writing doesn’t it? So of course I had to ask my doctors what they thought…granted, this will apply to mostly family practice docs, but still.

“Probably just they’ll start covering more gastric bypass surgery,” the Bride said. She takes that global, public policy point of view, citing economic and social issues with our American widening of the collective belt.

“It’s good for the health of the country,” Bob says. More people will be able to access treatment and more insurance companies will have to pay for that treatment. One caveat he mentioned was similar to the Bride’s concern for an increase in gastric bypass surgery and lap bands – citing the fact that no surgery can be done without risk. He also wondered aloud if more drug companies will now push their efforts into finding the wonder drug for weight loss; you know, instead of curing cancer or AIDS.

Semantics – it’s all in a word and how we phrase something. Addiction was always thought of as a social disease. Alcoholics and drug addicts just needed to stop, just put the glass or the needle down for good, cold turkey. In this interview with Russell Brand, we get the sense of its (drugs and alcohol) complete and total mind/body control. http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8857821/fixing-a-hole/

“I cannot accurately convey the efficiency of heroin in neutralising pain. It transforms a tight white fist into a gentle brown wave, and from my first inhalation 15 years ago it fumigated my private hell. A bathroom floor in Hackney embraced me like a womb, and now whenever I am dislodged from comfort my focus falls there.”

The problem with food is that we need it, we can’t just put it down and stop eating. We can join a 12 step group and leave our bar-hopping days behind, but we still need to sit down at a dinner table. In Mika Brzezinski’s new book, she talks about her struggle with anorexia and her friend’s struggle with obesity as if they are 2 sides of the same coin. https://mountainmornings.net/2013/05/07/and-all-that/ So then it makes sense, if anorexia is considered a disease worth treating, why not treat obesity?

On a lighter note, the Love Bug is absolutely perfect! At her latest pediatric appointment (9 and 1/2 months), her  height/weight charting shows her to be at the 68th percentile for weight, and 84th for height. “Yeah, I’m tall, you got a problem with that?”IMG952245

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I’m starting to collect a children’s book library for the grandbaby girl’s arrival. Reading to your child is a sacred duty, akin to nursing in my world, you can both relax in each other’s arms. I had already purchased “Me . . . Jane,” by Patrick McDonnell about Jane Goodall at the Parnassus Bookstore. It’s a gorgeously illustrated, dream-like story of a little girl’s love of animals, especially her stuffed toy chimp Jubilee. “A moving photograph shows the adult Goodall reaching out to a baby chimpanzee, which is reaching back to her. The book closes with a page about the naturalist’s life…” It’s very tear-worthy. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/books/review/childrens-books-about-jane-goodall.html

And next I’m planning to find “Martha Ann’s Quilt for Queen Victoria” by Kyra Hicks; a 19th Century story about a little girl from east TN who’s family purchases their freedom and moves to Liberia. She watches the British Navy patrol the coast in order to intercept slave traders intent on capturing her family and friends, returning them to a life of slavery. Should I tell you that this true story ends after many years of sewing and saving to fulfill her dream, to deliver her gift to the Queen herself? http://kidslitinformation.blogspot.com/2007/04/review-martha-annes-quilt-for-queen.html

Two brave, strong women. One white, one black, each with a dream fulfilled. And now to tackle another dream, and another quilt. I just read an interview with Ina May Gaskin on Democracy Now’s website, she is the guru of natural childbirth and creator of The Farm, in TN. Gaskin “… describes the women who died of pregnancy-related causes and are commemorated in squares of the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project; (she) argues midwifery is about helping the woman and her child, but is also key to shaping how society as a whole views the birthing process.” In the article, http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/3/19/ina_may_gaskin_and_the_safe_motherhood_quilt_project_focus_on_high_us_maternal_mortality_rates she appears to be quite radical. tracing the history of birth from a more primitive society to its current hospital-based, C-section loving institution. She believes the slight statistical upswing of maternal deaths in our country is directly correlated to the increased rate of C-sections.

Quite naturally, the medical professionals in the family had a bit to say about that. The Bride mentioned the older ages of first-time moms. Then she followed that up with the kicker – that Gaskin doesn’t take into account the increase in obesity and its twin cousins diabetes and heart disease. We all heard the alarming figures this week of nearly half the population becoming overweight by 2030. This is how the CDC breaks it down: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html And here’s the quote that says it all, “Higher income women are less likely to be obese than low-income women.”

Which is Bob’s point, what we have here is a selection bias. Anyone who’s ever taken a Stats 101 course knows what this means. Midwives are seeing relatively healthy women, more middle and upper class women, whereas the high risk pregnancies and poor women are (wait for it) going to be delivered in a hospital. If you want to deliver your baby on all fours, in a kiddie pool, an hour away from the nearest hospital, that’s your choice. But I believe you can control the birth experience while still being in a safe environment for the mother and the baby. Fair warning, do not read this birth story if you are pregnant. http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/04/claras-birth-story/

The socioeconomics of birth was not my first choice for this post, nor was promoting fear and loathing of hospitals or midwives. It was supposed to be about children’s books. But in my mind, when they told me that the Bride was breech, and that there was an increased risk of brain damage with a natural delivery, my answer was simple. Make the cut.

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