September is Childhood Obesity Month, which helps to bring awareness to the increasing number of children who are overweight and obese. Dr. Lisa Ashe works with children who have health problems due to obesity and hopes that more information about the necessity of children’s healthy eating habits will help to stem this dangerous trend. Here’s more information.
IS OBESITY HEREDITARY?
There is likely a genetic component of obesity, however this form of obesity is very rare, less than 1 percent.
WHAT CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS ARE A RESULT OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY?
High blood pressure, fatty liver, knee and back pain and arthritis, sleep apnea and risk for diabetes.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT OR HELP YOUR CHILD FROM CHILDHOOD OBESITY?
Avoid sugary drinks such as soda and juice, limit use of electronics. encourage exercise and outside playing, enroll them in sports or after school activities, limit fast food and encourage portion control.
HOW IS OBESITY MEASURED IN CHILDREN?
It is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is based on weight and height.
HOW DOES SLEEP AFFECT OBESITY?
Lack of sleep is linked to hormone deregulation, increase caloric intake and decreased energy, all of which can cause obesity.
IS IT OKAY TO PUT YOUR CHILD ON A STRICT DIET?
Yes, it is important to make sure your child is not overeating or eating the wrong things.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ACTIVE BUT STILL OVERWEIGHT?
See a nutritionist and evaluate their diet. Also, are they on any medications that may contribute to their being overweight?
IS IT OKAY FOR CHILDREN TO TAKE MEAL SUPPLEMENTS AND DRINK WEIGHT LOSS TUMMY TEA?
Children are growing and need certain amounts of nutrients, calories and protein. These nutrients should be obtained through food and vitamins if recommended by the child’s pediatrician. Additionally, it is important that children learn portion control and how to eat healthy so obesity does not continue into adulthood.
Dr. Lisa Ashe serves as the medical director of Be Well Medical Group – a leading concierge medicine and wellness group currently serving the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia metro areas. She’s a board certified internal medicine physician.
TEXT YOUR QUESTIONS TO 646464 AND DR. ASHE WILL ANSWER THEM ON BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM
TEXT TOM questions are answered on the next page.
Why don’t they use body fat percentage to determine overweight? Body fat preventage may be a better predictor of health.
More studies need to take place in order for it to be globally used.
What should the average healthy weight be for a four-year-old?
Average weight for a four-year-old is about 40 pounds.
Why aren’t there BMI charts specific to African-Americans? Our body composition is different from Caucasians or Asians.
The BMI charts are universal, however the studies that were done to develop the chart used primarily Caucasian participants. This is true for most research studies in the US. The BMI is a good overall predictor of healthy weight for average Americans.
What about children who have asthma and are on Albuterol or steroids. Steroids make children gain weight and asthmatic children can’t always play outside and exercise.
Steroids absolutely cause children and adults to gain weight. It is important for your doctor to have you on the lowest effective dose. Children on steroids may need to be on a more strict diet.
How much should a 16-year-old, 6′, black, semi-athletic female weigh?
Anywhere from 140-180 pounds on average.
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