Being overweight or obese leads to changes in metabolism and the body’s biochemistry that affect everyone, including children. Even young children who are overweight have a higher risk of developing health problems that were once thought to occur only in adults. For example, in obese children 5-10 years old, 60% have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Children who are overweight and obese have a higher chance of developing:
Your pediatrician is the first person to see if your child is overweight. A weight management plan should begin with a thorough physical examination, including looking for signs of chronic disease. It’s also important to be sure your child doesn’t have any underlying health problems that might interfere with weight loss or promote weight gain.
Dr. Jindal can calculate your child’s body mass index (BMI), which measures the amount of body fat in relation to body height and is used to determine whether children are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
After she has all the information, Dr. Jindal works together with parents and children to develop a weight management plan.
Weight management plans are individualized for each child, depending on their age and how much extra weight they carry.
Children older than two who are overweight but not obese need a plan that prevents future weight gain. As long as children don’t keep adding weight, their natural growth spurts and activity levels should cause their BMI to drop into a healthier range.
Children aged 6-11 who are obese should follow a weight management plan that helps them lose weight at the gradual pace of one pound a month. Adolescents may aim to lose up to two pounds a week.
The key to healthy weight loss is to take it slow and steady, while gradually changing diet and exercise habits. Dr. Jindal can help with all aspects of weight management, from dietary recommendations to tips for finding enjoyable ways to exercise and ongoing encouragement and support for children and parents.
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