Childhood Obesity: Understanding Weight in Children (Part 1 of 2) | Healthination

Uploaded by HealthiNation on 28.02.2012

Welcome to HealthiNation, I'm Dr. Preeti Parikh. The words "overweight" or "obese" sound very
negative to many of us - they're not words that we want to associate with ourselves or
our children. But the medical definition is simply that you weigh more than you should
for your height. It's a common problem, and it's made harder by our fast food culture.
Overweight children have much higher risk of heart disease, joint problems, and diabetes,
which can lead to life altering complications like amputations or blindness.
If you're worried about this problem, you're not alone. Between 1971 and 2006, the obesity
rate in kids ages 6 to 11 skyrocketed from 4% to 17%. But there is good news - all of
these dangers are avoidable with lifestyle changes. In this video, we'll show you how
you can tell if your child is overweight. We'll also share some action steps you can
take today to help your child make the right changes toward a happier, healthier lifestyle.
For the most part, being overweight is the result of a caloric imbalance.
Calories come from the food you eat, and simply put, an overweight person eats more calories
than they burn in a day. The unused calories can add up, get stored as fat, and result
in weight gain. This imbalance can also be made worse by genetics and lifestyle choices.
Occasionally, hormonal imbalances can contribute to a weight problem.
So why should you be concerned if your child is overweight? Because they'll have a much
higher chance of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, both of which are
major causes of heart disease.
Childhood obesity is also closely linked to Type 2 diabetes in children, a disease that
until recently was typically only seen in adults and has serious long-term consequences.
Finally, the excess weight can cause major hip and knee problems, which can lead to early
joint replacements.
So, if you don't get your child's weight under control it could hurt them for the rest of
their lives. There are also real emotional consequences. Poor self esteem, social isolation,
and, in some cases, depression are often associated with childhood obesity.
But you can reverse all of this by taking action now. First, you need to work with your
pediatrician to help you evaluate your childÕs weight. The first screening tool they will
use is a BMI.
Your child's BMI or Body Mass Index will also be determined. This is an indicator of whether
your child is overweight. BMI is a number that is calculated using your childÕs weight
and height, and then compared to normal BMIÕs for any given age, taking into account his
or her gender. For example: Katie is 12 years old, 77 pounds, 48 inches tall. We plugged
this information into a BMI calculator, which you can find on our website, and it tells
us that KatieÕs BMI is 23.5. As you can see on this BMI graph, Katie is at risk of becoming
overweight. Once you know your childÕs BMI, you can see whether he or she is overweight.
If your child lands in the green zone, they are at a healthy weight. If they are in the
yellow zone, they, like Suzy, are at risk of becoming overweight and if they land in
the red zone, they are overweight. Keep in mind, body fat is different in boys and girls,
and also changes with age.
Once you know whether your child is overweight or at risk, you can take action.
You and your pediatrician will develop a weight loss plan that takes into account your childÕs
history, including diet, physical activity, family history. The doctor will perform tests
to make sure there are no underlying medical reasons why your child is overweight. He or
she will also. do a physical exam to make sure there are no signs of other medical conditions
resulting from your childÕs condition.