There is an old saying that "We are what we eat". In this day of fast foods, many hard working, extremely busy parents, it is often difficult to provide healthy food. Also, the cost of good food seems to get higher and higher. The emphasis now on obesity in children is good, but trying to get the kids to eat foods without lots of fat in it, is often difficult. I was visitng a school the other day and saw a small, somewhat overweight child eating carrots, but putting thick salad dressing on each small carrot. I have never seen a child do that and wondered where he learned this or where he got the packet of dressing?
I often tell medical students about the child who was referred to me from an excellent pediatrician. The child was showing signs of muscle weakness and was always tired. He was also quite irritable. I coukldn't find anything, when I examined the child, that made me think of a muscle disorder. In talking to the mother and finding out about the family's life, I discovered she was an extreemly hard working single parent. I asked her to send me a three-day list of everything the boy ate and she did this right away. The list was primarily composed of fast foods with little fruits, vegetables, or salads. I talked to the mother at length and gave her some ideas about how she could shop on weekends and draw up a menu plan for the week, as I did when my chidlren were at home and not in college. After about two weeks, I had a call from the mother saying the life of the whole family had changed and the little boy was full of energy, had no more signs of muscle weakness, and was no longer irritable. I wished I could cure other muscle diseases so easily.