A Message for Health Meddlers: Butt Out

We can’t miss it. Everywhere we turn, certain people are busy clucking about the health choices that other people make. Politicians see an opportunity to stir up their followers with talk about the health of transgender youth. Women’s health, especially regarding pregnancy, is a political hot button. On top of that, meddlers have lately become interested in judging the health choices of youth and families trying to figure out how to cope with obesity affecting their health and well-being. Our advice for these health meddlers is simple: butt out.

Young Persons Facing Obesity

Writing for the Associated Press, JoNel Aleccia describes the experiences of John Simpson III and Edward Kent. These are two young persons for whom obesity is a serious medical concern.

Kent was a high school sophomore with a diagnosis of serious liver disease (MAFLD) arising from obesity. To manage his condition, he started taking semaglutide earlier this year and has already lost 40 pounds. His mother, a physician, says:

“It’s a huge deal and it will affect him for the rest of his life. This is about his health.”

The medicine is working well for him and his liver function has returned to normal. It turned off his ravenous appetite “like a light switch.”

Simpson had severe obesity that responded well to metabolic surgery after he reached the weight of 430 pounds at the age of 14. Obesity was not only threatening his health but also his prospects for a happy life. As early as elementary school, he suffered with joint pain, shortness of breath, and severe sleep apnea. Bullying at school led to severe problems with anxiety and hospitalization for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Living with obesity as a child is not a gentle experience. The choices are seldom easy or formulaic.

Meddlers Gonna Meddle

Health struggles like these are becoming more common for young persons. Severe obesity in youth continues to rise. Everyone has their favorite theory for why this is happening, but the fact remains that the problem is here and it is profound for the youth and families who face it. In the midst of all this we have health meddlers who profess to be “terrified” that these young people would receive medically necessary care.

We have a word for these meddlers. Butt out. Medical autonomy is a fundamental principle of medical ethics. You do not get to vote on necessary medical care for other people and their children.

Click here for the article by Aleccia and here for further perspective.

Gossip, painting by Felix Vallotton / WikiArt

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June 18, 2023