One Colombian family has the dubious honor of having the most obese baby in the entire country. At just 8 months old, little Santiago Mendoza weighs 44 pounds. To put that in perspective for you, that is about the typical size of a 5-year-old. He should actually weigh closer to 17 pounds. But this isn't just the case of an extraordinarily plump child. That weight has caused Santiago dangerous health problems, and now a charity has swooped in to save his very young life.
His unhealthy condition isn't the result of parental neglect. Quite the contrary, his mom was so concerned about keeping him calm, she shoved a bottle or food in his mouth every time he cried. She willingly admits it was her own "ignorance" over feeding that left her baby this way.
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Now the charity Chubby Hearts Foundation (Corditos de Corazon) has stepped in. They plan to take the boy and his mother to the country's capital, Bogota, for treatment. They will try to bring his weight down while treating the undisclosed complications due to his girth. But this isn't just about a number on the scale. They will have to teach the entire family about healthy eating and the importance of physical activity. And given where this poor child is starting out, it could be a lifelong battle.
Such a shame. But before we lob this mom with verbal attacks, it should be acknowledged that she's not the only parent making this mistake. Childhood obesity is a huge problem in this country. You see countless overweight children every day. Parents, like Santiago's, use food to calm a baby, and others constantly ply their older ones with fast food and sugary treats.
Being a parent to a newborn is overwhelming. Being a parent in general is overwhelming. But perhaps along with those classes on how to diaper and swaddle, moms and dads need a few lessons on nutrition and what constitutes a healthy weight for a baby. Bottom line, food is not a soother.
Are you dealing with childhood obesity? If so, how are you helping your kids?
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