Childhood Obesity, Not Just About the Child

During my residency in South Texas, it was not an uncommon event: Grandmother/mother brings her child in with a chief complaint in the chart of “Concern about weight”. I would calculate the child’s BMI percentile prior to going into the room and confirm that, yes, he or she was overweight. After entering the room, the grandmother confirms that yes, she is very worried. Her child barely eats anything and is underweight. With a preconceived notion that extra weight=healthy, the parent/grandparent would always be surprised that not only was Johnny not underweight, he was in fact overweight or even obese. “He’s just thick” or “Everyone in my family is solid” were common responses from patients if I ever raised concerns about their child’s weight. Baby “fat” eventually burns off as an adult, right?

Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true. Evidence suggests that if you are overweight as a child, nearly 2/3 of these children go on to become obese adults. The more disturbing fact is that if these children remain overweight or obese as adolescents then they are two to three times more likely to die premature of cardiovascular causes, compared to those who had been thin as teens.

Parental obesity is one of the strongest predictors of children’s weight. In one study among obese 3-5 year olds the chance of obesity increased from 24% if neither parent was obese to 62% if at least one parent was obese. (Whitaker et al, 1997) This means that the future of our youth is literally in our hands as parents. Are you overweight or obese with children? Elemental Weight Loss can help you get to a healthier weight and change your child’s future.

  • Posted on: April 20, 2016