La Vida Locavore talks about a case in the USA where a fully-breastfed four month old infant has been denied insurance for being “obese”. The baby is on the 99th percentile for height and weight. They don’t say on which charts: most American physicians are still using old charts based on formula fed babies, not the WHO charts which are based on physiologically normal growth in optimally fed infants. Breastfed babies on average grow faster in the first six months, and slower in the second sixth months, than formula fed babies.
LVL notes that there is no evidence, none whatsoever, to support limited breastfeeding for babies who are growing faster than average. From the original article at the Denver Post:
By the numbers, Alex is in the 99th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. Insurers don’t take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are otherwise. [...]
“I’m not going to withhold food to get him down below that number of 95,” Kelli Lange said. “I’m not going to have him screaming because he’s hungry.”
Speedie said not many people seeking individual health insurance are turned down because of weight. But it does happen. Some babies less hefty than Alex have had to get health endorsements from their pediatricians. Adults who have a body-mass index of 30 and above are turned down because they are considered obese.
The Langes, both slender, don’t know where Alex’s propensity for pounds came from. Their other child is thin. No one in their families has a weight problem.
The Langes are counting on the fact that Alex will start shedding pounds when he starts crawling. He is already a kinetic bundle of arm- and leg-waving energy in a baby suit sized for a 9-month-old.
They joked that when he is ready for solid food, they will start him on Slim-Fast.
AMERICA. This is broken. Fix this now.
While we’re on the subject of health insurance exclusions, please read this fantastic post by amandaw at our shiny new group blog, FWD (feminists with disabilities) for a way forward. Excerpt:
[...] Because, you see, it is being reported, not as:
Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions Are Morally Wrong, but as
How Dare They Treat DV Victims and Mothers the Same Way They Treat Women with Depression, Diabetes and Cancer!
It is being reported as different from “normal” pre-existing condition exclusions. It is being reported as being especially wrong. As being worse. A true moral violation, taking things to a new level.
But why? [...]
So why are these things different? Especially outrageous?
I can’t identify any reason except one.
Because they apply to healthy women.
It’s understandable why health insurance companies would refuse care to women with arthritis. It makes sense that they would deny care to women with psychiatric disorders.