Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

BMI, BMWhy?


While yesterday's visit to the pediatrician may have been good for my self esteem, I'm not sure it did much for Mariana's. I understand the need for charts, averages and BMI calculations. And I recognize that there is a childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. However, I really wish doctors would actually look at, ask questions, and assess a child, BEFORE talking about height and weight discrepancies.

Mariana's body type is more like her father; she will never be stick-thin. I've worked hard to help her embrace this while maintaining healthy lifestyles. God could have made her tall and thin but He has a plan for Mariana just as Mariana is. We've talked about the fun roles she'll get to have on stage while her pencil thin counterparts are always playing the boring female lead. I know peer pressure can be tough but I think Mariana has a healthy view of the body God gave her.

And then we go to the doctor for her yearly check-up. The doctor comes in, commenting on how Mariana must be very healthy because in the past 4 -5 years, she's only been to the doctor for her once-a-year check-ups. Then the doctor sits across from me and in a conspiratorial tone, which I guess she assumes Mariana cannot hear, starts to point out the discrepancy between her height percentile and her weight percentile. Then she flips the page of her chart and points out the BMI, telling me that it's "here" but should really be "here" (could she not see the fire pouring from my ears at the point?). I get all that but not once did she look at Mariana to actually assess her health before jumping to statistical conclusions based on two numbers. We got the no soda speech (we don't have it in the house unless there's a party going on), as well as the no junk food speech (none of that around here, either). We were also told to cut back on fast food (do we look like we have the money to eat out on a regular basis?). But all before she took the time to actually look at Mariana. Had she done so, she would have seen that Mariana is very healthy. She not only lives in a house where healthy food choices are encouraged but she is learning to make those choices on her own. She is active and dances several days a week. She is healthy in every other way.

I know I'm not in the medical profession (considered it once upon a time but I just don't do puke, blood is okay, but if you puke you're on your own), but it just seems to me that the doctor's suggestions would go a lot farther if she just took a moment to look at the patient first. I know that time is of the essence, but so is the self-worth of the children.

Mariana read this to approve my posting it. Her comment? "Mom, I hope you're not too upset about this because I'm okay with it." Wow! I'm so thankful for Mariana's attitude and her ability to see herself as God's creation. But I do still wonder about how this kind of doctoring affects the minds of young people who already see themselves only through the eyes of their peers, the media - and their pediatrician.

3 comments:

  1. You are so right Cindy. I give 6 AMENs to you AND Mariana. And I will do my best not to say anything bad about the doctor ... at least not online. I'm sure she was doing what she thought best, but ... anyway. I'll shut up now.

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  2. Thanks, Cynthia. I do want to make it clear that I am not wanting to bash this doctor. Having talked to other mothers, I think that this is quite common practice, as is sending home BMI reports from school. I just think a little forethought on the part of the doctor, always putting the person before the numbers, could go a long way. As someone else reminded me, even though numbers are helpful in assessment, there is no "one size fits all".

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  3. As a family practice provider, this speaks volumes..thanks :) these are the things they don't teach you in school ;)

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