I have to admit, when I first saw some of the click-bait titles surrounding the morbidly obese eight-month-old baby, Santiago Mendoza, at 42 pounds, my first reaction was that it made me sick. At first glance, I thought this was a typical story of negligent or uneducated parents who were feeding their baby pure lard, causing him to fall into the obese category before his first birthday.
I have made clear that I am somewhat of a health nut, but I try not to preach to others. Still, with all that I know of the health world, and especially taking into account where I live in South Texas with sky-high obesity rates, it truly does bother me to see young children fed ridiculous amounts of candy, junk food, and soda before they even hit kindergarten. As we recently learned from the “cookie child abuse” story, it’s still unfair for me to judge as I am not with a parent 24 hours a day. But if a kid is eating junk and is morbidly obese, they are not likely enjoying candy and other crap in moderation.
So, that was where I was coming from. But taking a closer look at these two morbidly obese Colombian babies, who weigh an alarming 91 pounds in combination at 10 months old, I have a hard time faulting the parents on this one.
The mother of 10-month-old Isabella Martinez said:
“In the first few months, Isabela pestered me all the time — she didn’t sleep, she was just eating and eating,” she said. “We started to try to regulate her food intake, but she wasn’t losing any weight.”
As for Santiago, who weighed three times what a normal eight-month-old should weigh, doctors could not find a medical reason for his weight gain:
Doctors have put Santiago on a strict diet, saying he needs to lose nearly 40 pounds to reach a healthy weight of 17 pounds. The child will be taken off formula milk and fed primarily vegetables and juices.
I am certainly not a doctor, but it is hard to believe that a baby could overfeed on pure formula to triple his weight. Santiago’s mother appeared vigilant and not negligent as she contacted a charity for urgent help with his mobility issues caused obesity. Currently, both babies are on a healthy weight loss diet in the hopes of reaching a normal weight within six to eight months.
I was guilty of fat shaming these kids, or at least judging their parents, when I first heard the news story and saw the pictures. But I have a hard time believing that the babies reached such a dramatic weight by being overfed formula alone. It still seems probable that an underlying medical issue could be the cause.
I think it’s important to address parents who may not feed their young children nutritious foods and contribute to obesity and health issues that could easily be prevented. However, it doesn’t appear that the parents of Santiago and Isabella fall into this category. They sought help early and are working with doctors to help their morbidly obese babies reach a healthy weight.