The Skinny on Pediatric Obesity
Every visit to the pediatrician results in a check of some critical factors for health – specifically your child’s weight and height. This information is checked to monitor their growth and as a glimpse into their overall health. Pediatric obesity is a significant problem in North Carolina – a problem that we are addressing head-on at Rainbow Pediatrics.
What is obesity?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers obesity a chronic disease because it can impact all areas of one’s health. Obesity can even affect how a person feels hunger and fullness and how their body processes energy. Obesity should be treated as early as possible to help children learn how to support their health by eating nutritious foods and being active.
How is obesity diagnosed?
One of the ways that obesity is diagnosed is by their Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI calculates a person’s height and weight and compares it to where they should be based on their age and sex. BMI is a physical measurement that does not tell whether a child is healthy. It provides a glimpse into what could be happening inside their body. A child can have a BMI outside the normal range but be healthy inside. Your child’s pediatrician needs to monitor BMI because obesity causes inflammation, which can lead to high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, PCOS, and high blood pressure. It can also cause issues with immune function, mental health and lead to diabetes.
Stigmas and Health Regarding Pediatric Obesity
At Rainbow Pediatrics, our focus is on health, not the appearance of one’s body. Our job is to address the root cause of obesity to ensure a life of health and happiness. Some children are predisposed to obesity due to genetics. For others, obesity may be caused by medications, depression, anxiety, stress eating, and even night eating. The stigmas associated with pediatric obesity and body shame can lead to many other issues. As the AAP says on its website, blaming someone for obesity is like blaming someone for asthma. And we agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly.
As a partner in helping your child achieve the highest level of health and wellness, we have to understand why they may be struggling with their weight. Once we know the cause, we can develop a treatment plan. Our Strong Kids Clinic is a nutrition clinic dedicated to helping children grow into healthy and nutritionally balanced adults. Led by pediatrician and Obesity Medicine expert Dr. Sanniya Nanda, MD, the clinic is open to any Rainbow Pediatrics patients of record.
Treating Pediatric Obesity Early is Key
Because obesity is a chronic condition that can cause a snowball of negative health issues down the line, it must be treated early. By getting to the root cause of pediatric obesity early, we can help your child learn to use food as a strength, not a weakness. Our ultimate goal is to help your child learn how to support their health by eating nutritious foods and being physically active daily.
Dr. Nanda would love to meet you if you want to learn more about the Strong Kids Clinic. Appointments are available every Tuesday afternoon in the Hope Mills clinic. You can schedule an appointment by contacting Nutrition Coordinator Rebecca at (910) 426-5430 extension 210.