"Fizzy drinks were his downfall": Devastated dad issues stark warning after obese 13-year-old son dies suddenly
A devastated father whose 13-year-old obese son collapsed and died when a blood clot travelled from his leg into his heart is warning parents about the dangers of aerated drinks.
A heartbroken father has warned of the dangerous effects of high-calorie soft drinks after his overweight son died from a blood clot. Lewis Albon died from a heart attack after a clot formed in his leg and traveled up to his chest. Stephen Platt, his father, saw the life fade out of his son's eyes as he lay in his arms.
At 13, Lewis was tall for his age at 5' 9" and had large, size 13 feet. Stephen said he was heavy but also denied reports that he weighed over 16 stone. After conducting postmortem procedures, it was determined that he was obese and that his weight was most likely a "significant associated condition."
However, the father believes it wasn't his weight that led to his death, but his obsession with sugar-packed soft drinks, The Mirror reports. Now, he is advocating for all soft drink companies to print health warnings on the front of their bottles and cans.
The 48-year-old father said: “We have got to take some responsibility. At the end of the day, he is a 13-year-old boy and what he eats and what he drinks is down to us, 95% of the time, apart from when he is out with his mates. He might have been big for his age but it was not through what he was eating. I think it was the fizzy drinks that was his downfall – our downfall.”
Earlier this year, the government introduced a sugar tax levied on soft drinks in order to force manufacturers to cut calories. Also, the British Dietetic Association has backed Stephen's repeated calls to add health warnings on top of labels.
Aisling Pigott, a spokeswoman for the BDA, said, “Soft drinks are not an appropriate choice for children and I would agree this should be labeled on them.” According to Stephen, Lewis was the fourth close family member to suffer a clot but was the only one who was overweight - thus proving anyone can be a victim of this menace. He is separated from Lewis' mother Yvette Jackson, 37.
That said, the postmortem also revealed a possible "familial thrombophilia disorder", which, in layman's terms, is an increased tendency to form clots in the body.
Now, both parents are concerned about the health of their youngest son, 10, who lives with Jackson. The family is wary after he has gained weight as well, prompting them to keep it in check and conduct multiple tests to rule out thrombophilia. The grieving father reminisces his son playing football every day. Lewis loved to play basketball, hit the gym regularly, and carried packed lunches of chicken and salad, Stephen said.
He started noticing an increase in Lewis' weight and also mentioned it to his physician when he took Lewis, who also suffered from asthma to the clinic. Apparently, the doctor told them there was nothing to worry about and that it was simply "puppy fat". Also, no one at his school raised concerns about his growing weight, he said.
Yvette took Lewis to a hospital last Christmas after his lower legs started to swell and heat up. She thought it could indicate a clot owing to the family history. However, they were told it was psoriasis. Then, last March, Stephen took his son to the GP with similar symptoms but were prescribed antibiotics. Three days later, Lewis collapsed and died outside their residence in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, after a clot traveled from his right leg into his heart.
According to Stephen, the coroner "said his weight didn’t help and that might have played a part but he can’t prove it and at the end of the day he has got a big blood clot that has traveled up and that has killed him. We want to get the point across that whatever size you are, whether you are as thin as a rake or fat, you can get a blood clot."