My Big Fat Baby, Overweight Children: Tina

My Big Fat Baby, Overweight Children: Tina
Dr. Phil talks to the mother of a 4-year-old who weighs 150 pounds.

Cindy wrote a letter to Dr. Phil because she is concerned about what her niece, Tina, is feeding her child. Tina's son, Joshua, is only 4, but already weighs 150 pounds.

"When he was an infant, Tina gave him Kool-Aid and soda in a bottle," says Cindy. "His teeth had to be surgically removed because they decayed from this. She feeds him cookies, candy, sherbet and mayonnaise, yet she keeps saying he only eats nutritious foods. His mother refuses to believe she is responsible for her child's condition.If Joshua wants something, she gives it to him. How can I convince my niece that saying no to Joshua does not make her a bad mom? That refusing to give him cookies, candy and chips could actually save his life?"


"To what do you attribute the fact that your son is so overweight?" asks Dr. Phil.

Tina explains that she believes there is an underlying medical reason for her son's weight, even though doctors have been unable to find one. She insists that she isn't over-feeding him, and says that a nutritionist told her that Joshua actually doesn't eat enough.

"But we've talked to your doctors and they say there is no medical reason whatsoever for this child to be this overweight," says Dr. Phil. "My concern isn't about whether you're right or wrong. I'm concerned about the health and very life of your son."


"You admitted to our producers that you cannot say no to your son," says Dr. Phil.

"I can't say no him," agrees Tina.

"And that you reward him with food?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Yes, if he's good and asks me for a sherbet cone, I will give it to him," says Tina.

"Have you ever disciplined him in a consistent way?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No," laughs Tina.


"I think there are a number of things contributing to that boy's weight, and I truly believe you control most, if not all of them," says Dr. Phil.

Tina becomes defensive and says that there are mental issues in addition to medical issues with her child because he saw his grandfather die of an aneurysm. Tina also believes Cindy has no right to come on the show and criticize her for her child's weight.

"I understand he has had trauma in his life," says Dr. Phil. "Do you think you prepare him for life by allowing him to be in this condition on top of everything else that has happened? It's all the more reason he needs the ego strength and self-image to be proud of who he is."


"If there is help that you can get on a regular basis, are you willing to accept it?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Yes," says Tina.

"We have a gift for you and Joshua," says Dr. Phil. "We contacted our friends at Shapedown, a national program for overweight children and their families. They are offering to provide you with 16 weeks of weekly restructuring with a licensed therapist in your hometown free of charge."

Tina accepts the offer.


Joshua's grandmother, who lives with her daughter and grandchild, and who cooks Joshua's meals, says, "I'm offended by the fact that everybody seems to think that all we do is stick food in that child's mouth."

"You don't know what they think or don't think," says Dr. Phil. "I'm speaking on Joshua's behalf because he can't. At this point he does not have the vocabulary or life sense to appreciate that what is happening is jeopardizing his happiness and longevity. I'm trying to give you a wake-up call."


"We care about Joshua and everyone here seems to think all he does is eat," says Joshua's grandmother. "That's not true. He has a balanced diet because I make sure of it. I'm not a bad grandmother or caregiver and I will not be treated as if I am."

"I'm not saying you're a bad grandmother," says Dr. Phil. "I'm saying the boy is 4 and weighs 150 pounds, and somebody needs to change that."