Understanding Obesity in Kids:
September 22, 2020
“She is just fat. Unfortunately she inherited the fat genes from the family. It’s a shame…”
These are actual words spoken by a mom of one of my teen patients. Her 13 year old daughter was here for her yearly physical and had gained 20 pounds over the course of a year. This is, unfortunately, an all-too-common scenario we are seeing in the office since when the pandemic began.
When you see the mom’s words written down on paper, you feel angry and upset at this mom. Your instinct is to say, “Wow! How can this mom be so insensitive!? How can she say this to her daughter?” Instead, we need to start learning about how to approach this growing trend in a positive and productive way. We need to give parents the tools to choose the right words to help their child. Educating parents on why obesity is bad and telling them to just eat well and exercise, isn’t working. We need a better approach.
Let’s face it, we all know that obesity is a problem in the United States. It’s not a secret. We also know that there are many secondary effects of obesity.
Obesity can lead to:
- Diabetes, Insulin Resistance
- Joint disease
- Heart disease, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol
- Fatty Liver, Gastro-esophageal Reflux, gallstones
- Mental health issues (anxiety and depression)
- Low self-esteem and lower self reported quality of life
In the United States close to 20% of children ages 2-19 years of age are obese and every year this number is increasing. That’s 1 in 5 children!
This year because of the pandemic, I am seeing an even greater incidence of obesity in children. Children are gaining as much as twenty pounds in six months!
I want to help you:
- Understand how to prevent Obesity
- Learn what are safe (and not so safe) ways for kids to lose weight
- Understand how many calories kids need based on their age and development
- Learn what foods and drinks to stay away from and what to give more of
- Learn the right words to use with your child/teen to encourage them to lose weight if they are overweight or obese
- Understand mindful eating and how to teach this to your child.
We need to proactively help our kids!
Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.
**Please remember this is solely for information purposes. It is not a substitute for your child’s pediatrician. If after learning more about obesity you are concerned about your child, please make an appointment with your doctor to discuss.