Get Well Wednesday: Dr. Stephanie Kong Fights Childhood Obesity

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    Georgia pediatrician Dr. Stephanie Kong and her practice Zoe Pediatric believe the battle against childhood obesity can be fought…and won. They believe in awareness and prevention and want parents to be partners in helping their children stay healthy and fit.

    Although obesity rates have dropped 43% among preschool children in the last decade, according to study results from the Centers for Disease Control earlier this year, parents must still be vigilant. Fighting childhood obesity is something that First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign has championed and she applauded the positive news.

    “I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement.

    “Healthier habits are beginning to become the new norm.”

    Unfortunately, the news is not nearly as good for older children and adults who still experience high rates of obesity. 

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    My child is off the chart in which the doctor referred, but our doctor says he is okay at 5’7, 132lbs, age 10.  Should my wife and I speak with the doctor again?
    Good question. Your child’s BMI is 20.7 which is a normal BMI but because of his age he will be above the 90th percentile for weight. Here at ZOe Peds we check a Hemoglobin A1-C to look at how the child’s body is handling blood sugar and also check a cholesterol and triglyceride level. You may want to ask your doctor for these tests.

    Doc, what can we do about school lunches? They are horrible, lack nutrition and ketchup is considered a vegetable!
    Great question. Here at ZOe Peds we test our child for food allergies and if they have any we work with the schools to try and provide a more nutritious and balance meal. Please realize the schools get grants from the government to provide school meals. Given the First Lady’s passion for children and nutrition, I would begin to get active with schools to provide a more healthy menu. Also go to Mrs. Obama’s website and ask if this is an issue she can get behind. It only takes one person to change the world.

    Can you send me a flip chart or poster as a teaching aid on childhood obesity ?
    Please visit:  http://www.strong4life.com

    My son is 70 pounds and he’s 12 years old. Feedback?
    His height will make a difference in determining whether he is obese or over weight.

    My daughter-in-law went to the doctor and the told her she was overweight.My family and I have tried to help her and she does not think it is an issue. What can I do?
    Good question. Perhaps her doctor wants to draw a cholesterol profile and a Hemoglobin A1-C to give your daughter-in-law more information to work with.

    How do you eat right when most healthy food in most black communities are so expensive? And most supermarkets don’t carry good quality food in the hood?
    Good question. You can follow Ms. Obama’s example and grow your own vegetables. Make use of an empty lot. Also go to the library and check out cook books written by African-American for African-American to get ideas about cooking without grease and butter. Black fold know about planting and harvesting. We just lost our way a bit. You can cook healthy and on a budget. Remember the Quick Fixes at fast food places are not a good idea and are costly. Also giving children sweet buns and Cokes for breakfast is lethal. We are empowered and if we JUST PUT OUR MIND AND WILL to this problem it can be solved.

    What is the history of the BMI? Who developed the BMI scale and what are the point of references?
    You can go to the National Heart and Lung Institute and read about it. You can also Google BMI.
    I have lots of questions. My daughter will be 5 in March, she is 3’10” and weighs 65lbs. Do you consider her obese? Her BMI is 21.6  or normal, however because of her age she would be in the Red Zone on the CDC’s growth scale. What is an appropriate portion size for her?
    At ZOe Peds we emphasize Balanced Meals and portion sizes. When I am trying to help Mom’s adopt more appropriate portion sizes, I ask them to put away their 12 inch plates and use 7 inch plates. The portions should fit on the plate and not touch each other and be no more than an inch high. Also I ask them to get their children used to drinking a glass of water before eating to fill up the tummy.

    What should I do when she wants seconds, and thirds?
    This is a function of her stomach, perhaps stretching, and the good news is that it will shrink if it is fed less food. Have your child wait 30 min and if still hungry give them raw vegetables or raw fruits. It takes 6 weeks to develop a habit good or bad.

    Also, if you can answer this: she gets very musty in the armpits, what can I use for or do about this?
    Old folk will tell you just to use baking soda.

    My 10-year-old at 9 decided that he will no longer eat any meat with the exception of fish. Now I supplement the meat with legumes, Greek yogurt, eggs etc. I am proud of him and have supported his decision but I am wondering if he is too young to change his diet so dramatically?
    Just think of all the 10-year-olds in countries who diet is mostly vegetarian. They are doing pretty well!!

    What foods/ diet are causing childhood obesity?
    Childhood obesity has many mothers/fathers. Portion sizes–we have been supersized! Our emphasis on meat and potatoes and the lack of exercise we provide our children.

    How do I talk to my 14-year-old about the fact that she is now overweight and has to be more mindful of her portions without making her self-conscious?
    At ZOe peds we believe that the truth will set you free. The first step may be just changing what is offered at meals. Emphasizing more vegetables and lean meats. Also throw away all the 12 in plates and get used to eating on 7 inch plates. Also exercise with your child. Start with walking 30 minutes each day for at least 4 days a week. Check with your doctor about meal plans emphasizing portion control and calories. Also throw all the Spandex out of the window. These clothes have fooled an entire generation of women and men that they don’t have a problem with their body size and in my opinion ha contributed to this epidemic.

    My son is 10 and has ADHD. He eats like a 40-year-old man but never gains a pound. Any suggestions?
    Frequently ADHD medication will cause the child to not to have an appetite. At ZOe pediatrics we recommend a good breakfast before the child is medicated and a good dinner. Frequently it is the noon meal that the appetite is affected the most.

    I am in the Ft. Lauderdale area. I would like to start a program to educate parents AND kids about obesity. Any suggestions?
    There are GREAT suggestions on the http://www.cdc.gov.

    My daughter is just shy of 14 and just got her first period. Now what? That was last month, this month nothing. She is not overweight she is 5 ft and 89 pounds.
    Sounds like you need a good talk with your Pediatrician.
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    For additional information on the topic discussed, check out more information from Black Health Matters:

    Childhood Obesity: What’s Going Right in the Fight

    My Child Is Not Fat!

    Obesity Is Now a Disease: What It Means for Blacks

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