Growing cohort of overweight children: ‘largely genetic, predisposition and environment’

Growing cohort of overweight children: ‘largely genetic, predisposition and environment’

“We’re seeing those figures rise significantly,” Smits admits. In America they have been struggling with a growing group of overweight children for some time. But, “Europe is also starting to participate,” says the plastic surgeon, “and it’s no longer a bit overwhelming, it’s really making them sick.”

The Burger Company

According to Smits, the ‘hamburger society’ that Rudd describes as the cause of overweight is not correct. “You have to take certain things to gain weight. It has to do with the lifestyle in a family,” he explains. But bad, fat and too much food is not the only factor. “The biggest part is genetics, predisposition and environment. So you can’t always do something about it, which is definitely very annoying.”

According to the doctor, some babies are born with very heavy weight. “In America you see them being treated with lifestyle advice from age 2. Some kids are very old and everything they take in is converted to fat.”

Surgery as a last resort

Obese children can now be operated on in the Netherlands. “These are young children between the ages of 12 and 17,” Smits says of the study, which is conducted on minors. “They want to treat them the same way they treat adults now. It’s up against the wall.”

But not all children qualify. “When it comes to movement, you have to be very selective,” Smits emphasizes. “It’s for people who have really tried everything and been treated there with a whole team. So there shouldn’t be any psychological problems.”

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