Can Your Pediatrician Help With Your Child’s Weight Control?

Last updated on September 19th, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Boy on scaleOne of the most frequent problems I run into as a practicing Pediatrician is overweight issues in children.  It is a very prevalent problem now in Pediatrics as the population as a whole is overweight and this issue tends to begin in childhood and tracks through to adulthood.  It is probably true that overweight parents tend to have overweight children; not out of any malicious cause but for a number of reasons including poor education and parental observation and habits.

When I tell an overweight parent that his/her child is overweight (using height and weight charts and BMI as back up data) or even obese I receive one of two responses.  Either they have been aware of this but totally unsuccessful at any attempts to alter that situation, or they seem to be totally surprised at the assessment.  The first response is a good one although not optimal; the second response is very difficult to work through.  Everyone seems to be aware that obesity can and does lead to such adult life shortening diagnoses such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac events and strokes among the top of the list – there are others.

It is my responsibility as a Pediatrician to alter the course of these diagnoses by working on the problem during childhood, and helping to educate a family to all that I mentioned above.  I have failed when an overweight child becomes an overweight adult – and I don’t like failure.

I believe that most Pediatricians feel the same and take this responsibility very seriously.  Your Pediatrician is, along with you as parents, your child’s advocate and this is clearly stated in the mission of the Academy of Pediatrics.  You have a passionate ally in your effort to keep your child healthy but you must listen to the education and suggestions of that person and try to incorporate that into a new family philosophy.  Weight loss is much easier when begun early in life and becomes as difficult as in adults after the age of about 11-13yrs old, but not impossible.  It will take commitment and energy to keep your child on the course of a healthy life style so that overweight issues are brought under control – and the natural course is interrupted.

My ultimate goal initially, is not necessarily weight loss but involves attempting to slowly change life styles so that weight loss becomes the eventual outcome.  This will take a long time to accomplish but if one can only keep his/her eye on the goal – we can make it happen.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics.Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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