Childhood obesity has become a nationwide crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control studies indicate that 1 in 5 children of school age is overweight or obese.
If your child is overweight, your pediatrician is an important advocate who will provide practical solutions in a positive manner that will encourage, not embarrass, your child.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers, discover what causes childhood obesity and explain how your pediatrician can help.
Childhood Obesity Statistics
The numbers are alarming
According to the Centers for Disease Control:
For those ages 2 to 19, 18.5 percent—roughly 13.7 million—are obese.
If you break down those statistics, you’ll discover that almost 14 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds and 18.4 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds are obese.
As these young Americans enter adolescence, we discover an obesity rate of a little over 20 percent for 12- to 19-year-olds.
If your child falls into one of those categories, don’t worry. There is hope that will greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing serious health disorders, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Losing weight can also have positive psychological outcomes: it can improve your child’s self-esteem and even help combat depression.
Not sure if your child falls into these categories? A simple way is to evaluate their body mass index (BMI). You will find this simple, online BMI calculator useful.
What Causes Childhood Obesity?
There is no one single cause. Like many health conditions, there are several factors that contribute to the overall picture. We’ve outlined a few:
It goes without saying that eating high-calorie foods that are rich in sugar and added fats can be major contributors. It’s important for you to model good eating habits for your child because often they will do as you do.
Believe it or not, poor sleeping patterns can be a contributing factor. Often when we don’t get enough sleep, we reach for sugary energy drinks or “comfort food” to help us get through the day.
Too much time spent in front of the TV, computer or playing video games can be damaging. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with these activities in moderation. Just be sure to place limits on “screen time.”
Solutions? Encourage your son or daughter to get involved in sports or even take them to the park for a family fun day.
We realize it may be difficult to encourage an active lifestyle when your children are missing out on some of the benefits of in-person, school-sponsored PE classes. Virtual schooling has been challenging for students, parents and teachers.
Check in on your child periodically throughout their virtual school day and encourage them to stand up and take a quick activity break. It doesn’t need to be something lengthy—a simple walk around the house will not only help them physically, but will also help their concentration.
Where you live can have an impact as well. Is your school or community promoting healthier food choices? Do they dedicate enough time to physical activities? Are fresh fruits and vegetables available near where you live?
How Your Pediatrician Can Help Your Child Overcome Obesity
First, it’s important to see your pediatrician as your child’s partner in getting the healthiest start possible. Even after they’ve lost weight, their doctor will still want to monitor them to be sure they aren’t developing issues such as Type 2 diabetes.
Of course, the pediatrician is your best source for care if your child is sick or hurt.
Pediatricians can help your child lose weight in many ways. These include:
Encouraging Them to Be Healthier
Compassionate health care isn’t about “body shaming.” It’s about inspiring someone to make positive changes. This means encouraging the child as much as the parents.
Creating an Exercise Routine
Not sure where to start? Your doctor can outline a simple, yet effective, exercise routine to get your child moving.
Pediatricians work closely with parents to help them develop a healthier diet and encourage healthier behavior in their child. This sometimes takes the form of “motivational interviewing” that will encourage the whole family to take an active role in health.
Examine Weight Trajectories
Pediatricians have extensive knowledge about how much your child should weigh at what point in their life. Following these trajectories will help you see and monitor progress.
We Offer Experienced Pediatric Care Near You
Don’t have a pediatrician? We have the care you need from experienced, compassionate experts through CMC Pediatrics.
We’ll help your child and work with you to create a team approach to establishing a lifetime of healthy habits for your son or daughter.
We offer convenient locations, so there’s no need to wonder “is there a pediatrician near me?” We have pediatricians located in Conway, Carolina Forest, Towne Center and Myrtle Beach.
Scheduling an appointment is easy. Simply contact us at 843-347-8000.