Childhood Obesity Treatment

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childhood obesity treatment

Prevention is paramount, but children who have reached the overweight and or obese range need a very special kind of treatment plan and much understanding from those who will guide them back to health. Treatment plans should always be created in unison with a trusted family physician, taking into account any complications or special dietary needs that might need to be considered. When creating a plan that works there are several considerations that should be taken into account.

Childhood Obesity does not Begin or End with the Child

A child is often a reflection, mirroring the input received from his/her surroundings. Children will most often develop habits and routines guided by well meaning loved ones and community members. Caregivers may want to look at all aspects of the environment surrounding a child in question, pondering the projections provided. Aspects considered should not only be nutritional, but also emotional and physical. A study published in BMC Pediatrics focused on social risks presented to children including poverty, single parent families, lack of parental education and others. The study indicated that as social risks for children increased so did the odds of poor health for the child.(1) This tell us that the issue may be presented in a child, but in reality it is usually the entire family and surrounding environment that needs to consider changes.

A Gentle Approach is Best

Parents and caregivers would do best to help an overweight child achieve goals through an extremely gentle approach that will enable the young one to keep his/her self esteem intact. A study published in July, 2009 used a questionnaire for more than 22,000 Hong Kong students aged 11-18 and revealed that one in three of the children had received comments on their weight, of which the mother was the most common source. The study further found that fewer than half of the comments received were correct and that the incorrect comments were associated with weight misperception amongst the children.(2) Given this insight, an overweight child has most likely received comments regarding his weight at some point, affecting the perception of his/her body, not necessarily in a positive way. Children should not be made to feel that something is “wrong” with them, but simply that old habits need to give way to new ones in order to create a healthier lifestyle.

Family and Community Involvement

Considering the immense impact that childhood obesity is having on our nation, it is important for everyone to get involved. After all, children whose family and community are involved in their efforts will be more likely to succeed. Also it is important to remember that children pattern their lives after those around them. If a child sees those close to him eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he/she will see the value in those actions and want to repeat them. Schools can help by providing children only healthy options for mealtimes and banning junk food and soda dispensers from their premises. People might look at an overweight child and wonder how the parents could have let it happen, when what they should be thinking is how have we, as a community and nation, let it happen.

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