8-year old Connor McCreaddie is pushing 200 pounds
Have you heard the story about the 196-pound third-grader in the UK? Yep, you heard me right! This kid is almost TWO-HUNDRED POUNDS right now! Jeepers creepers!
His name is Connor McCreaddie and this 8-year old little boy ain't so little anymore--he already weighs as much as many full-grown adult men do. And now child protective services has issued a warning to his mother for Connor to lose weight or else they will take him away from her on grounds of neglect.
Nicola McKeown, Connor's mother who lives in Wallsend, North Tyneside in Great Britain, says she realizes Connor is four times the weight he should be for his age. To her credit, she has tried to help him lose weight through an unknown diet program since December when he weighed in at a whopping 218 pounds (that's almost what I weigh!).
Despite losing 21 pounds over the past couple of months, though, McKeown recently got an official letter representing child protective services, Connor's school principal, and the local health agency requesting her to appear before them to determine whether she is really doing enough to help Connor lose weight or not. If not, then they have already threatened to remove Connor from her care to give him the help he needs.
Let me just interject my comments about this here for a moment. While I agree Connor didn't balloon up to 200+ pounds instantly and overnight, I definitely wouldn't describe what McKeown has done as neglect. Maybe you can call it bad parenting or if you wanted to get extreme with it--child abuse--but definitely NOT neglect. If anything, it sounds like Connor has been getting TOO MUCH attention.
Actually, it sounds like he runs the household.
Although his mother has to help him get dressed and take him to the doctor a lot because of obesity-related health complications (has her pediatrician NEVER said a word to her about Connor's weight?!), she says Connor refuses to eat any fruits or vegetables and will only eat processed junk foods. Plus, she said Connor cries for food virtually every hour on the hour until he gets what he wants.
See, that right there is the crux of the problem. In her attempt to show love to her son, McKeown has actually been an enabler in Connor's weight problem by refusing to be the parent. A mother most of the time has to go against the will of her child to do what is best for him whether he understands that it's for his own good or not.
If Connor refuses to eat fruits and vegetables, then McKeown should refuse to serve anything but those foods. No, that's not being cruel to him, but rather it is showing him there is a right and wrong way to eat. Clearly, the junk food is not helping him at all, so removing those foods from his diet altogether will begin to m make a big difference. At some point he'll get hungry enough to even eat these foods McKeown thinks he'll never eat.
Unfortunately, I'm afraid that's not what McKeown will do for her son. Instead, she'd rather let him sit for hours upon hours in front of a computer screen playing games (why isn't he outside running around like most other 8-year olds?!) with an endless supply of all the garbage food his mother provides him, including curries, sausage sandwiches, biscuits, burgers, potato chips, and French fries. EWWWW! Wanna guess what most of those foods have in common? Can you say carbs, carbs, and more carbs?! UGH!
When a child like Connor is coddled too the extent that he is, then it can lead him to believe that he really is in charge and calls all the shots. From a nutritional standpoint, that is devastating because most kids don't have a clue what is good for them. All they want is food that tastes good no matter what it's made of because there are no consequences for doing so.
Usually the food most kids prefer is highly processed, carb-loaded, sugary junk foods--something his mother apparently is providing in great abundance. Caring parents who want their child to develop into strong, healthy, and fit adults will do whatever they can to provide the best nutritional options by setting the right example for them early enough in life so that child will make good choices for themselves in the future.
Wanna know what McKeown's excuse is for letting Connor's weight to get as high as it has? She believes she has not received enough help to know how to raise her kid properly. Ya know, that sorta begs the question--why did you have a child back in 1999 if you couldn't take care of him in the first place? Gasp! Nobody is supposed to ask that question, but I just did!
Needless to say, we can't turn back the clock now, but Connor does need some serious help. He is at risk at this moment for major health problems beginning at a much younger age than he should, not the least of which is the onset of diabetes, heart disease, and morbid obesity by the time he reaches his 20's which could end his life before he turns 30. That's some heavy stuff to think about, but it is Connor's reality right now.
Nobody is gonna argue that Connor should be left to continue down this path that his mother has chosen for him which for all intents and purposes is destroying his life if left unchanged. But what concerns me about this story is the not-so-veiled threat she has been given to make Connor lose weight or else they'll take himaway from her. What's up with that kind of intimidation and on what authority can they issue such a warning to McKeown?
The government, school, and anyone outside of McKeown's family doesn't have any business telling her what she needs to do about Connor's weight. This is a personal issue that needs to be hashed out by the family. From all accounts, Connor is not being physically (other than allowing his weight to explode) or emotionally (except by the teasing of his classmates in school) abused, so such a drastic measure as removing him from her care is irrational. What are they gonna do with him once he does lose the weight in the custody of the government, hmmm? Foster care? Adoption?
This is one of those unintended consequences of promoting the same old low-fat, low-calorie, portion control dietary recommendations that we've been forced to endure for generations by our government and health leaders. How many parents have tried to put their overweight or obese child on one of these diets only to have their child reject it because it wasn't the right diet for them? Too many to count, I'm sure!
You know, Connor would do very well if he started livin' la vida low-carb and I would venture to say he would not balk at the delicious choice of foods he could eat while bringing his weight back down into a healthier range. Scrumptuous and yummy cuts of meat, cheeses, low-glycemic fruits, non-starchy vegetables, eggs...the list goes on and on. McKeown could start feeding him that way immediately and see real results.
Unfortunately, she will likely never hear a word about the amazing low-carb way of eating from these people threatening to take Connor away from her. But it sounds like exactly what he needs to do to lose weight as soon as possible. I don't know what McKeown is doing to help Connor shed the pounds since before Christmas, but she should consider putting him on a program like Atkins, South Beach, or Protein Power.
What do you think about Connor's conundrum? Do you think the UK authorities have the right to threaten McKeown and take Connor away to a "fat farm" somewhere to get him back into shape again? Or do you agree with me that this is a personal matter that needs to be handled within Connor's family and it's nobody else's business to tell McKeown how to raise her child?
There should be lots of varying opinions about this, so don't be bashful! Let me know what you think!
3-1-07 UPDATE: Now here is a unique take on why Connor may be as obese as he is:
My daughter is a caretaker of several retarded adults and she works for an adult day service that provides daycare for adults in need. When I first read about little Connior McCreaddie, I immediately thought of the adults in her care who suffer from a syndrome called Prader-Willi. Patients with PWS cannot stop eating, her clients eat vast amounts of vegetables to satisfy this insatiable need and this is the only way to somewhat control their weight. Their entire focus daily is obtaining food and these patients need to be closely monitored.
Here is a press release about Connor that I found on the Prader-Willi web site. It seems others have had the same thought that I have! I do so hope they complete the hormone studies before they disrupt this family! Nonetheless, I KNOW that low-carb is the ONLY way to save this little boy in the meantime as these studies are being made.
By the way, I really enjoy your "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog!
THANKS for sharing about Prader-Willi. I hadn't heard of it before, but it could be what Connor is dealing with.