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Is Childhood Obesity Increasing the Organ Donation Shortage?
One could argue, “Yes,” quite convincingly because the statistics are staggering.
(The Author, Bob Aronson, received a heart transplant August 21, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida)
According to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” organization that focuses on the issue, “Obesity threatens the healthy future of one third of all American children. Obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years. We spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing.
For the first time in American history, our children’s life expectancy may be shorter than their parents.
So what has this got to do with an organ shortage? Simply put, by allowing our children to get too heavy we are growing people who may someday need an organ transplant. Adding insult to injury is the fact that if they need a transplant they may not be appropriate organ donors themselves. It’s a double edged sword. On one side the demand for organs may be increased and on the other the number of organs available for transplant may decrease. All because of too many unhealthy eating and living choices, too much mac and cheese, too many Snickers bars and Coke, too many video games and not enough exercise.
“So,” you may ask, “What’s childhood obesity got to do with organ damage?” The question is germane because the most effective way to reduce the organ shortage is to reduce the demand. Here are the facts on childhood obesity according to Erica Lesperance, RD, LD a registered dietitian specially trained in pediatric nutrition and the nutritional treatment of inborn errors of metabolism. http://www.thedietchannel.com/Childhood-Obesity-Why-Childhood-Obesity-Is-So-Dangerous.htm
Childhood obesity is on the rise. Worse, it has become the most prevalent pediatric problem in the United States, affecting as many as 15-30% of grade school children and adolescents. Obese children are very likely to become obese adults who will have a significantly higher risk of developing medical problems. Moreover, they are more likely to have their lives cut short by disease.
As the problem reaches epidemic proportions, we can no longer narrowly focus on the medical problems obese children will have as adults. They are suffering from a multitude of obesity-related problems right now. This issue must be addressed. Let’s take a look at how obesity affects the bodies of our young children.
Heart disease is no longer a health problem reserved for older men and women. Children who are overweight with a BMI above the 95th percentile are at-risk for having high “bad” cholesterol, low “good” cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure. These are all risk factors for heart disease.
It is then important to discuss your wishes with your family.