Lourdes Gore is 15 years old. She has always been overweight and depressed. "I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to go to school. I just wanted to stay home, I felt sick all the time. And then I got sick, and it just dragged out a lot.", said Lourdes.
New research from Yale University confirms earlier studies showing that an overweight child may feel as much emotional pain as a child with cancer.
Dr. Ranveig Elvebakk is a Bariatric Physician. She said, "And as it turned out, a child who is obese has the same quality of life and suffers the same kind of depression that the terminally ill child suffers. Which is pretty serious."
Dr. Elvebakk also says the problem is overweight kids are looked at as different, "The minute you're different, and you are a teenager or a child, and the minute you are different, there is a very cruel world out there. And it doesn't make any difference what your difference is. You're different, you become ostracized."
Still, she says there is one big difference - - cancer victims have no control over their disease. But, with help, overweight kids may be able to lose a few pounds. "And the minute they feel in control, they start lightening up, and we have seen kids come off of Prozac, we have seen kids turn their lives around for less than 20 pounds of weight. It isn't the weight itself it's the feeling of being out of control."
At 5 feet 3 inches tall and 200 pounds, Lourdes still has a long way to go. But, for the first time in her life she weighs less today than six months ago. And that's enough to make her smile. "It makes you feel better."