Thank you for your thought-provoking article on the health problems facing overweight kids in our poorer neighborhoods (“Hiding in Plain Sight,” 6/16). Dr. WilderBrathwaite seems to be fighting for them against a complex set of obstacles, without easy solutions in sight.
Four years ago, at age 37, I too faced a health crisis due to my weight. I had reached 345 pounds, and my body was letting me know it—high blood pressure, out-of-control diabetes, thyroid problems, and so on. I chose the option of having a gastric bypass operation and lost 100 pounds, regaining my health. I simply cannot overeat any longer. Because I also have a disability, my insurance is a Medicare HMO, and it paid for the surgery in full. I met many other women like myself in the after-care group who had similar stories of recovery. I realize the kids in your article might have a hard time getting the insurance approval for such a procedure, but it would be worth the fight to try—it can be a life-saving measure.
My other suggestion is a very effective medication that is a strong appetite suppressant—it’s actually a psychiatric medication, used like the medication Depakote. The name of the medicine is Topamax, and I am currently using it as a tool to help me further reduce my weight. I know others who have had good success with it. I am not a big advocate of taking pills, but when the health situation is this serious, medication can provide a valuable support to the diet effort.
Thank you again for bringing the issue to our awareness as a community.