Health Hub: Kids Can Achieve a Healthy Weight
And improve the health of the whole family
Every kid is different – that’s what makes them great! Children grow at different rates, some shooting up early while others hang on to their “baby fat” a little longer. With their bodies changing so quickly, it’s hard to know when to be concerned about a child’s weight, or when to wait it out.
While it’s true that we live in a society whose obsession with being “skinny” or “fat” can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem, current concerns about kids carrying extra weight go more than skin deep. Today, one in five kids ages 2-19 are not just overweight, but obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has tripled since the 1970s.
Change is Possible
It’s easy to see the difficulties obesity can cause a kid in his or her daily life. More troubling is the impact childhood obesity can have long-term a young person’s physical, social and emotional health. Children with obesity are at higher risk for developing chronic health conditions like asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. They are far more likely to be victimized by bullies than their average-weight peers, leading to social isolation and depression. And, sadly, kids who are obese often become obese adults.
For parents who also struggle with their weight, it can be difficult to break out of unhealthy patterns that affect their children, setting up a vicious cycle. While genetics and metabolism can contribute to obesity in people of any age, it is essential to break the cycle and achieve better health, not just for the younger generation, but for the whole family.
Help is Out There
If you feel like your child, or your family, is struggling with poor nutrition and weight gain, speak to your pediatrician about getting help to turn things around. To make lasting change, experts recommend that families: eat breakfast daily, cook as many meals possible at home, sharply limit screen time, engage in moderate exercise together regularly, and stay vigilant about getting enough sleep. The problem? It’s easier said than done. If your family needs a health reset, there’s no need to go it alone. Your pediatrician can recommend a program where you can find the support you need to change unhealthy habits that contribute to your child’s obesity. A pediatric weight management program specializing in family wellness can get everyone on track to a healthier, balanced life with individualized, achievable plans for nutrition, activity and behavior modification.
"How can my child benefit from a pediatric weight management program?"
Talk to your doctor about your child’s:
- Healthier eating habits
- Better performance in school and sports
- Greater Self-Esteem
- Improved BMI (body mass index)
- Healthier lifestyle choices that continue into adulthood
- More restful sleep
Angela Fals, MD is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine specialist specializing in helping kids effectively manage their weight, avoid a lifetime of obesity and make healthy choices that will benefit their self-esteem and overall health through adulthood.
Learn more at FHMedicalGroup.com or call (407) 303-9200.
Florida Hospital Medical Group is the Orlando area’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice with more than 425 board-certified physicians and surgeons in more than 40 medical specialties.