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Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 7 

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Obese babies are preventable

Brandon H. Franks

Miguel Regino and Adela Martinez are not too happy right now. The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department took their 3-year-old daughter, Anamarie Martinez-Regino, after a doctor stated her condition was life-threatening.

Would you be upset? You will be, at least at the parents. The child weighs 120 pounds and is 3 1/2 feet tall.

Having a 2-year-old myself, I find it astonishing a 3-year-old could weigh that much. My son is well-fed -- he eats throughout the day and is in good shape -- but 120 pounds? What did they feed this kid, Crisco?

I cannot see it being possible for a kid to weigh that much. My child is very active, as are most children at that age. I can only think that the girl just sat around and didn't move except to eat.

Did the parents not notice their daughter was too big? And if they did notice, why didn't they do something about it? Did they think it was just a phase she was going to grow out of? If the parents took her to regular check-ups at the doctor's office, couldn't this have been avoided?

Now, shifting to the department that took the child away, kudos to them. My only concern is what will happen to the child and the parents.

I hope the department will work with the parents and make them go through some training courses to keep this from happening again. I also hope the child will be returned to the parents after certain requirements are met.

As for the child, I hope the department can fix the problem and give Anamarie the best treatment possible. After all, it's not the child's fault.

I've seen talk shows -- Maury in particular -- where kids three and four years of age weighed more than this kid does. The parents said they tried everything but their kid still gained weight.

One 4-year-old was shown throwing a tantrum because he wanted chocolate and the parents wouldn't give it to him. Eventually he got what he wanted.

Two things: First, my son can throw a tantrum, but I do not give in, no matter how long he acts that way. Second, if your child is four and behaving like that, then you have more than weight problems to be concerned about.

It simply boggles the mind that children can get so big at such an early age. I've tried rationalizing it, but I couldn't begin to imagine how much food it would take for my son to get that big.

As history repeats itself, so do habits. In this case, if the child is reunited with her parents, who's to say the weight problem won't return?

If it doesn't, and she remains in good shape once reunited, then I hope another eating problem like anorexia doesn't occur. But that is a whole other topic.

Anamarie needed help, and apparently, the parents couldn't do it, so it's up to the department to take care of it. There is no reason a child should be so overweight.

Franks, a junior communication major whose mind 
is boggled by this, can be reached at bhfranks@hotmail.com.

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