Childhood obesity affects approximately 30% of children in the U.S., and numbers continue to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity is one's body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts. During the pandemic, childhood obesity rates rocketed, and if these tendencies remain, 57% of children ages two to 19 could struggle with adult obesity in 2050.
Our pediatrician works to fight this condition by encouraging regular wellness exams to prevent heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and other complications. If your child experiences shortness of breath, constant fatigue, joint pain, signs of sleep apnea, or excessive body weight, call our office to discuss how to help your child live their best and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Childhood Obesity: Causes, Risks, and Strategies for Prevention
Environmental, genetic, socioeconomic, and physiologic factors contribute to childhood obesity. With food costs inflating, it's hard for low to medium-income families to purchase foods that aren't heavily processed and filled with sugars, additives, and other unhealthy ingredients. Similarly, some families don't have proper resources or finances to sign their children up for sports, nor do they have safe places to play outside and exercise. Eating less and moving more doesn't solve the problem like experts once believed, and the issue is more complex than ever.
Strategies for prevention include working with our pediatrician to create a plan for better health and longevity. They might recommend regular BMI screening to ensure it's below the 95th percentile. They may also consider the child's home situation, evaluating where the child lives, ethnic background, medical history, and more. Our pediatrician will also educate your child on the benefits of developing healthier eating patterns, finding fun ways to get active (dance, games, active chores), and the advantages great quality sleep has on their body.
Visit Our Pediatrician to Combat Childhood Obesity
Your child should visit pediatricians to discuss preventive strategies, which may include drinking fewer sugary beverages, nutritious recipe recommendations, encouraging 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily, and limiting screen time to reduce the urge to be sedentary. Children and teens with severe obesity (a BMI of 120 or more) may be candidates for bariatric surgery, but it's vital to know that surgery is never our pediatrician's first recommendation.
Please explore our website to learn about the conditions we treat and the services provided. Consider a consultation for childhood obesity if symptoms seem concerning, and avoid putting your child at risk for inadequate health. You can book an appointment with one of our physicians online or call our office.