PSYCHOLOGY

Overweight Girl Gets Dirty Looks And Cruel Comments From Strangers Who Have No Idea What's Behind Her Weight Gain

Date September 20, 2018

When you see an overweight child, it’s easy to blame the parents and assume that the child eats too much and doesn’t get enough exercise. Sadly, many people don’t know there is a number of genetic disorders that can cause significant weight gain even with a normal, balanced diet.

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One of such disorders is septo-optic dysplasia. It can cause eye problems, intellectual disability, and underdevelopment of the pituitary gland. However, not every person affected by the disorder has all three of these key features.

The disorder is quite rare; it’s estimated to affect 1 in 10,000 children. One of these children is Emily Heap, a preschooler from Northampton.

Emily’s intelligence is unaffected – she’s just as smart as any girl her age. But she has vision problems and gains weight uncontrollably despite her strict diet. Her pituitary gland, one of the glands that regulate hormones responsible for fat storage, isn’t just underdeveloped – it’s missing. The girl was born without it.

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Emily’s parents, Emma and Robert, have been getting dirty looks because of their daughter’s weight.

Speaking to PA Real Life, Emma said:

Until recently, [Emily] had struggled to walk, partly because of her size, but also because she has low muscle tone.

We had to take her around in a pram and people were always judging her as just being too fat to walk. None of this is Emily’s fault – there’s nothing we can do to stop her body piling on weight.

The mom also said she’s worried about her daughter’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.

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Another Emma’s fear about her daughter’s future is her having to face bullying. She said:

I do worry about when she is a little bit older, in case other kids start being horrible to her. She’ll be judged by the outside world, because of her size. I know it will happen and there’s nothing I can do about it, other than give her as much strength as I can.

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Emma and Robert are doing everything they can to give their daughter the best life she can have.

They’re involved with the Pituitary Foundation. Earlier this year, Emma ran a half marathon to raise money for the nonprofit.

We hope people in Emily’s future won’t judge her by her appearance. She deserves better!

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