My Healthy Child “Too Unhealthy” for Health Care?

Robin Marty

We pay deserved attention to the childhood obesity epidemic and the eventual health problems caused by it. My active child loves fruits, vegetables, and water. This thin but otherwise healthy child may now be considered "medically uninsurable."

Last Friday, when watching the video of the toddler who was denied health care for being "too skinny," I realized that in a set of similar circumstances, my child would end up with the same diagnosis.  Her pre-existing condition? 

A tireless energy and a love of fruit.

Even before she was born Violet was a ceaseless ball of energy.  Born full term at 8lbs 6 oz, that was the highest she ever made it on the percentages curve for weight, at 85% for a baby girl.  Once she was released from the confines of my belly, she began moving constantly, rolling over by four weeks, scooting by 3 months, crawling at 5 months, and cruising at 7.   She was walking by her first birthday, and two weeks later she figured out how to run.

One thing she was less enthused about was new food.  Like many children, she had a delicate gag reflex that made transitioning to solids a little slower.   As her activity level rose, and the rate of acceptance of new varieties of food slowed, her height continued to ride the curve, but her weight began to falter.  By the time we really hit finger foods, she was 14 months old and barely 18 lbs.

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The doctors got worried and suggested testing.  It could be gastrointestinal, it could be a hernia, from about 9 months on I got a new theory at every weigh in.   But Violet always ate when she was hungry, only gagging when I’d try to give her extra food once she was full.   And as she was introduced to more food, she developed her own favorites.  She would eat bowls of fruit, munching down strawberries, pineapple, melon and cut grapes. She had a love of spinach I had never heard of in a toddler, in some cases eating it raw.   Some kids ask for cookies for snacks, when Violet saw a banana, she would cry until she could have it.  And although many children would ask their parents for juice, Violet was always a big fan of water, like Mama and Daddy drink, often drinking straight out of our cups.

By the time we brought her in for her 18 month checkup, she was nearly 3 feet tall, and 21lbs.  The doctor once more suggested we do testing.  Instead, we asked Violet to show him how she can hop (with both feet, of course).  Then she told him the alphabet, counted to 10, and named most of her body parts.  (Violet’s ABCs).

The doctor admitted that a child that was failing to thrive would not be able to do those things, and declared her totally fit.

As parents, we spend a lot of time worrying about our children and whether they will grow up to be healthy.  More and more attention is on the childhood obesity epidemic and the eventual health problems caused by it.   My healthy, active, and highly precious child loves fruits, vegetables, and water.  These are things we are supposed to encourage in our children, and instead, we are learning that thin, but otherwise healthy children are considered to be medically uninsurable.  My child is developing rapidly, strongly, and with good healthy lifestyle skills.  Thank god I already have insurance for her, because apparently now that is considered a pre-existing condition.

Does this make sense?

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