Health and weight

Charles - Interview 38

Male
Age at interview: 44

Brief outline: Charles is the father of 14 year old Daniel. Daniel was diagnosed with kidney problems before he was born, and has been gaining weight since he was 3 years old, even though he plays lots of sports. Daniel was recently referred to an obesity clinic.

Background: Charles is the father of 14 year old Daniel. Daniel was diagnosed with kidney problems before he was born, and has been gaining weight since he was 3 years old.

Audio & video

According to his dad, Daniel’s weight affects his life in several ways' he is reluctant to let people see his body, for example, when he’s on holiday or swimming, and he can’t take part in some sports. Daniel does a lot of physical activities though' he swims once or twice a week, goes to the gym two or three times a week with a friend and plays on a rugby team. Daniel is good at and enjoys these activities, but as he gets bigger, it’s getting more difficult for him to enjoy them because of the increased effort they take. Charles says there’s no activities that Daniel can take part in with other kids in the same situation – and that if there were, that would be helpful because then he’d know he wasn’t on his own. Instead, they have to do some activities at particular times (e.g. adult swimming sessions) to avoid other kids Daniel’s age in case they tease him. Despite all these activities and a controlled diet, Daniel is still gaining weight. Charles says he can’t understand how this could be possible.
 
Charles says that Daniel is reluctant to talk about his weight issues, and thinks he might have been in denial about it. He thinks Daniel must find it depressing to not be able to eat what his friends do, and to have such difficulty losing the weight. As a parent, Charles has felt upset and guilty at times, especially knowing that Daniel doesn’t want to talk about his feelings and might be feeling lonely.
 
Charles says that they tried to get help for Daniel for many years, but didn’t receive any until recently when Daniel was referred to the obesity clinic by the consultant at his kidney clinic. The obesity clinic prescribed medication for Daniel to help control his weight and provided a lot of helpful information. Most importantly, Charles says, they were not judgemental, unlike other health professionals they had seen. Charles says that the emphasis has always been on them as parents, and they had sometimes been made to feel as though they weren’t doing enough to help Daniel. He thinks there should be more help for children and parents in this situation. Charles recommends that other parents keep on asking questions until they get answers or help from health professionals.

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