Obesity develops from genetic and other factors that prime the child’s body to gain weight easier and faster than other children. The child’s high weight IS NOT their parent’s fault.
These genetic factors include excessive hunger, inadequate fullness, hungry fat cells and other metabolic dysfunctions. Once a body has achieved a higher level of stored fat cells, the brain becomes resistant to feeling full. (Never satisfied at the end of a meal).
Watching your child’s growth chart at the pediatrician’s office is very important. Any child whose weight is in the top 15% or higher for their age should have their weight monitored closely and their BMI plotted on a specialized graph that is age and gender specific.
What’s the treatment for childhood obesity?
Childhood obesity treatment is based on the age of the child and then a complex decision pathway based on age, weight, height and other factors.
An infant in the top weight percentile whose weight gain continues to exceed normal rates could need referral to endocrinology to look for genetic disorders.
Children with excess weight are often started on the simple 5-2-1-0 Lifestyle Plan.
Five servings of fruits or vegetables a day
Two hours of screen time a day OR LESS if possible
One hour a day of play (exercise)
Zero sugar sweetened beverages
Just because the plan is simple to remember, does not make it easy to achieve. The important points include:
Eating fruits and vegetables is good. Avoid intake of sodas, sugar sweetened teas/coffees and fruit juices. Play outside or at a recreation facility as much as possible. Minimize time spent watching/interacting with a tablet, phone or computer.
GMOS clinic will do a free weight/height measurement and body composition study for any child age 6-18. Call 352.672.9000 for an appointment.