Overweight Children

By: Rodger Elofson, M.D.

In the last 30 years, the number of overweight children has doubled.  Over one third of children are overweight.

Overweight issues during children can lead to poor self-esteem, social isolation, sleep apnea, diabetes and muscle/joint pains.   As adults, being overweight can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Causes of overweight issues are two fold- behavior/environment and genetic.  Less physical activity, more screen time, less frequent healthier home meals (more eating out), more snacks and larger portion sizes at meals lead to heavier children.  Over 40 genome sites on human DNA have been identified that lead to easier weight gain.

At every yearly check up (regular health supervision) visit, your child’s weight and height are plotted on a growth chart and a body mass index (BMI) is calculated.  A BMI above 85% is considered overweight, above 94% is labeled obese.

Dr. Elofson, Fakouri, Perilloux and Cook will GENTLY discuss weight issues during their check up visits.  The answer seems easy- healthier eating and increased activity.  It takes a complete family positive effort.  Blood work may be necessary to check for dyslipidemia (“high cholesterol”), liver problems and insulin resistance.  As pediatric/adolescent doctors, it is imperative to offer help to parents and their children with weight issues.  We understand all children are made in different sizes, shapes and personalities.  Our goal is not to make all children skinny, but to achieve a proper weight through healthier eating and exercise to help with health issues now and later.