03 March 2007

Obese Toddlers

News that some paediatricians are treating three-year-olds with up to 50% of their body weight consisting of fat not only echoes the questions this blog raised a week ago in connection with the case of the 14-stone 8-year-old but forces the debate onto another level.

Firstly, given that these children are at risk of developing complications such as heart disease and diabetes later in life, at a time when healthcare resources are already being placed under increasing strain, to what extent should their later healthcare be paid for by tax-payers? More broadly, to what extent should access to healthcare be limited for people who are responsible for causing their own health problems?

Secondly, it also demands an explanation as to why this problem has apparently only begun in the last five years.


James said...

I see the cost to the NHS (i.e the tax-payer) of overweight pregnant women has been researched for the first time (see today's BBC report). It says they need closer monitoring, more tests, more special equipment, have a higher risk of complications such as pregnancy-related diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia, are more likely to require an emergency Caesarean, and are at greater risk from infection and blood clots after the surgery. If that wasn't bad enough, monitoring the developing baby is also more difficult, which can result in the otherwise preventable premature death of the baby.