Childhood Obesity Addressed in Seven Steps

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childhood obesity

Obesity in America is a growing epidemic and cause of grave concern to everyone, including the medical profession, the health care industry and government officials drafting a new health care plan. Childhood obesity can be the start of the lifetime of weight problems and the health problems that accompany too much weight.

Childhood Obesity is Serious

Childhood obesity is of particular concern, because children who are overweight often struggle with their weigh for a lifetime. Obesity is related to serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Obesity may be caused by hormonal and genetic factors, but is most often caused by the combination of eating too much and not enough activity. A doctor can conduct a health assessment to make sure that the obesity is not due to an underlying medical condition. If medical intervention is needed to help the child to lose weight, the doctor can provide guidance.

Seven Steps to Success

The panel of experts, including physicians and psychologists, has outlined lifestyle changes in an article titled "Seven Steps to Success: A Handout for Parents of Overweight Children and Adolescents." The article defines seven steps that increase in intensity, including medical management, education, environmental changes, support groups, cognitive-behavior therapy and bariatric surgery.

It is important for parents and other family members to support the child's efforts to lose weight. Parents should take the lead in introducing healthy diet and encourage physical activity and exercise. If parents find that they cannot help their children lose weight with a nutritious eating plan and physical activity, it may be time to consult a doctor. Medical intervention is the first step of this seven step plan.

A medical professional can conduct a physical examination to make sure that there is no underlying medical condition that is causing obesity. In the education phase, the doctor can offer guidance about diet and exercise. A nutritionist may be consulted, to help identify dietary missteps and to make nutrition recommendations. The environment in the home and neighborhood can help to identify pitfalls, such as numerous fast food restaurants and no parks and places to exercise in. The seventh step, bariatric surgery, would only be used as a last resort.

The 7 Steps to Success articles outlines the progression of treatment options for children and family members, so that they can work together to treat obesity in children and adolescents.

Information in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have questions about treatment for overweight or obesity, please consult a physician.

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