Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Muscles vs. Mass

The twins had their 11 yr old check-up yesterday afternoon. (Yes, I know, they turned eleven 5 months ago...they're healthy and I'm busy.) The thrill of getting out of school an hour early vanished immediately upon the doctor ordering hemoglobin tests, hearing checks, peeing in cups and three shots a piece. Almost nothing is worse for a boy than three shots...but the indignity of having to pee in a small plastic cup and bring it to the nurse IN FRONT OF PEOPLE comes fairly close. And then there's this:
See the kid? The healthy one? No, not the one with the glasses and goatee. The dripping wet kid on the left. The fat one.

Yeah. That's what I said. The overweight boy. It seems that after having been weighed and measured (incorrectly, I might add) by the nurse, and having his points plotted on a growth chart, it was determined that Pip Squeak has high Body Mass Index. Hmm. Well, OK. Let's see about that shall we? Here are the facts:
The nurse measured Pip at 4 feet 3 1/2 inches. He had his knees bent a little, since this is how he stands most of the time. I told him to stand up straight and the nurse told me over her shoulder, "He's fine." Maybe, but 4' 3 1/2 makes him and inch and a half SHORTER than last year's check-up. He was measured at the orthopedist recently and was 4'5" with straight legs. When you plot his weight of 74 pounds with his height at 4'3 1/2 it gives a BMI of 85th percentile. Looks like he's headed for obesity, right? Take into consideration that the child has actual muscles and abs like his 19 yr old brother. Muscle weighs more than fat, right? It's sort of obvious that he's physically fit.
So the pediatrician, who we love dearly by the way, looks at his chart and tells me to be really careful of what he eats and how much exercise he is getting. I wonder, didn't she just LOOK at my son up and down, backwards, forwards and sideways? Does he LOOK overweight in the least to you? She didn't even catch the fact that he supposedly SHRUNK!
Not a word about the twin made of skin stretched over bones. No mention of the BMI under normal. The poor kid looks like a skinned cat with his shirt off and he doesn't have any muscle tone to speak of. He's almost 5 feet tall and only weighs 2 pounds more than his midget brother. We can wrap the Tae Kwon Do belt around him fourteen times! You can see his PELVIS in the back! And he couldn't do a whole pull-up if you paid him. Oh, he eats like a starving grizzly bear, but he just keeps getting taller and his feet keep getting bigger!
I'm not ranting. I know doctors see a million kids a day, and I know she does her best. She really cares for my kids and remembers their interests and illnesses and such. But I think we won't be putting Pip on the Atkins Diet just yet.


a Tonggu Momma said...

Ack! That would frustrate me to no end. Kind of reminds me of the time we fought a "failure to thrive" diagnosis for the Tongginator. She just needed some time. They thought I wasn't feeding her enough... or maybe not enough of the right foods. We had a registered dietitian helps us for awhile. I charted her foods - what, how much. They were stunned by the number of calories she ate -- all healthy.

Paul and Chelsea Gour said...

They talk BMI with kids now? Tell Pip his muscles weigh so much the doctor didn't know what to do! THREE shots. Which ones 'cause my boys had none last year, and I'm about to make their 12 yr old appointments now....I'm thinking that might mean shots for them this year.

mendyc said...

Well your fat kid and my fat kid can diet and exercise together. After all mine was around 95%. Funny how he is 5 and wears a 5T that I have to pull the tabs in all the way to get them to stay up on him. He's such a porker!

Tammy said...

Oh my goodness.....this is too much! LOL!

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

You know, I think that's just it...they see a million kids and don't put enough time into individuals...they look at the charts, and the stats and all that crap, and then base their comments on that, rather than on the actual child in question. At least this has been my experience in the past. I remember when my daughter stopped gaining weight...she was growing taller and taller, but not putting on an ounce. They got all freaked out about it, and told me to bulk up her food, feed her fatty stuff, etc., and I thought to myself, "hey, I'm considered underweight for my height, my husband is underweight for his height, what do you think she's going to look like??!" I blew it off. I know they look for trends and all that, but seriously, they need to use common sense sometimes, too!