Childhood Obesity

How do I determine if my child is overweight or obese?

Your doctor or pediatrician determines whether or not your child is overweight by comparing your child’s weight and height ratio to their age and growth patterns.

What causes obesity in children?

Some of the most common causes are: genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. In rare cases being overweight is caused by a medical condition such as hormonal problems. A child’s activity level and diet are one of the most important factors in determining a child’s weight. Currently, children spend an average of 4 hours a day watching television, gaming or using computers!

Are obese or overweight children at greater risk for disease?

These children are at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early heart disease, diabetes, bone problems, and skin conditions. A study done tracking thousands of children through adulthood found that heavier children were twice as likely as the thinnest to die prematurely, before age 55, of either illness or a self-inflicted injury

How can I help my overweight child?

  • First, be supportive of your child. Often their feelings about themselves are based on your feelings about them.
  • Accepting your child at any weight will help them feel good about themselves.
  • Discuss your child’s weight with them and allow them to share their concerns with you.
  • Be a positive example! Go on a family walk, go biking, or swimming together. Engage your child in family game nights requiring movement.
  • Evaluate the family diet. Decrease or eliminate sodas, chips, candy, fast food or processed meals. Try integrating a more balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and low-fat protein options like chicken, fish or tofu.

How can a physical therapist help?

The physical therapist evaluates aerobic capacity, postural control, motor and sensory function, balance, endurance and gait. From the assessment, the therapist develops a specialized plan/treatment focusing on safe/efficient movements, aligned posture, flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance. A home exercise program helps the family continue with the child’s success and progress towards a healthy lifestyle.

Does my child need Physical Therapy?

Children who could benefitt from our services may:

  • Holds head tilted to the same side most of the time
  • Has difficulty holding head up
  • Dislikes being on tummy
  • Has Flattened head on one side or the other
  • Has trouble holding the bottle
  • Is unable to hold body up while held on adult’s hip
  • Does not crawl forward while on tummy
  • Prefers to creep with one leg up and the other down
  • Does not kick legs equally
  • Rolls in one direction
  • Has stiff arms and/or legs
  • Is not reaching developmental milestones
  • Walks on toes frequently
  • Slaps feet when walking
  • Has difficulty maintaining posture
  • Is clumsy
  • Is unable to sit still
  • Has weak muscles
  • Is unable to ride a bike
  • Has poor balance
  • Has poor coordination
  • Is unaware of safety precautions
  • Is unable to keep up with peers

Our Pediatric Therapists have a passion for children, working to develop each child’s abilities.

Diagnoses and treatments include the following:

  • Gross motor development
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Torticollis
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Spina Bi?da
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Prematurity
  • Developmental delays
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Autistic Spectrum

Physical therapists promote strength, balance, coordination, improved range of motion and developmental progression through:

  • Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT)
  • Motor learning
  • Motor Control
  • Strengthening programs
  • Parent education/training
  • Developmental therapy
  • Custom orthotics
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Pre-gait and gait training
  • Specialty programs include:
  • Suit erapy/erasuit
  • PedFit
  • Sensory Processing/Integration
  • Torticollis Program
  • Therapeutic Listening
  • How Does Your Engine Run?
  • The Alert Program
  • Yoga for Kids
  • Handwriting Without Tears

The Benefits of Babywearing: Carrying Baby in a Sling

What is Babywearing?

Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or in another form of carrier. Babywearing hs been practiced for centuries around the world and has gained popularity in the industrialized world in recent decades.

What can Babywearing do for you and your baby?

Babywearing is awesome for bonding with baby as you are always touching your baby when babywearing. Because your hands are free you are able to get more done while still having your hands available to touch baby. Babywearing promotes your baby’s healthy development and assists in preventing or lessening David Bakhtiari Youth Jersey Torticollis and Flat Head Syndrome (plagiocephaly).

While babywearing you are able to check that your baby Davon House Authentic Jersey gets equal head-turning. You are able to catch any asymmetries in head turning and try simple strategies to help your little one stretch and strengthen out of them.


Babybabywearing-is-wearing-a-baby-in-a-sling-or-other-carrierwearing can be great for your baby’s development, when it’s done safely and correctly. There are tons of different styles of slings, wraps and carriers and each should come with directions and safety information to follow. But here’s one safety check you’ve probably never heard of that is super important for your baby’s health and development.

Newborns most often rest a cheek against your chest when worn while older babies frequently lean their heads back from your chest and turn to look around while worn. Regardless of your baby’s age and what type of sling, wrap or structured carrier you use, check which direction your baby’s head is most often turned when worn.

If you notice your baby spending more time looking one direction or with one cheek to your chest more than the other, help and encourage your baby to turn the opposite direction.

Some Tummy Time Tips We Love

*Tummy Time Tools

*Taken from “Activities to Help You Position, Carry, Hold, and Play with Your Baby” by Colleen Coulter-O’Berry, PT, and Dulcey Lima, OTR/L

Why Do Babies Need Tummy Time?

Babies need tummy time because they are spending more and more time on their backs, largely in part to the Back to Sleep program and the wide use of infant carriers outside of cars. This combination of back sleeping at night and daytime pressure on the infant’s head can create a flattening of the skull. Increasing the amount of time your baby lies on his tummy:

  • Promotes muscle development in the neck and shoulders
  • Helps prevent tight neck muscles and the development of flat areas on the back of the baby’s head
  • Helps build the muscles your baby needs to roll, sit, and crawl

Tummy Time Is:

  • Always supervised—never leave your baby alone on his tummy
  • Any activity that keeps your baby from lying flat in one position against a hard, supporting surfacetummy-time-tips-from-lakeland-pediatric-therapists
  • Anytime you carry, position, or play with your baby while he is on his belly
  • Beneficial to babies of all ages
  • Adaptable and changes as your baby grows and develops strength
  • A great time to bond with your baby


  • Alternate the hip your baby straddles to encourage looking, turning, and balancing in both directions.
  • Hold and carry your baby facing away from you to encourage him to watch the activities in the room by turning his head.
  • Carry your baby belly down, with your arm supporting underneath his chest. Younger infants will need their heads and chest supported, but as your baby gains strength in the neck and trunk muscles, less support is needed.

Positions for Play

  • Lie on your back and hold your baby on your chest facing you. This will encourage your baby to lift his head to look at you.
  • Place a pillow, small towel, or blanket under the baby’s chest to help your baby lift and center his head.prop-pillow-under-baby-chest-for-tummy-time
  • Play on the floor with your baby. Place toys on both sides to encourage turning of the baby’s head and reaching with both hands.
  • Place your baby on your lap. Raise one of your legs higher to make it easier for him to lift his head.


  • Adjust positioning so the baby can watch you with his head centered, rather than off to one side.
  • Place the baby in your lap facing you. Sing, make eye contact, snuggle and center his head, as needed.
  • Place fun and interesting toys equally on both sides of your baby to encourage turning to both directions while on his tummy or back. Change the side your baby lies on, even if he prefers just one side.


  • Feed your baby in one arm, then switch to the other side for the next feeding, so the baby begins to look and turn equally to both sides.
  • Sit with your back supported and knees bent. Position your baby against your legs, facing you. Feed your baby with the head positioned in the middle.
  • Try placing your baby belly down on your lap when burping.


  • Position your baby on his back to sleep.
  • Place your baby at the opposite end of the crib every other night.
  • Turn the baby’s head to the opposite side each night to keep it from developing flat spots

Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists Discuss Best Gifts for Sensory Development

It’s that time of year again, when we get to celebrate all our blessings throughout the year. Holiday season is a fun time to enjoy and show love to our family and friends. This time can be so stressful to find the JUST RIGHT gift for our little blessings with varying talents.

We have developed a list of fun games and toys to match your little blessings’ wishes and talents:


Gross Motor or Movement Toys

toys-for-gross-motor-movement-physical-therapy-brandon-flPush toys or kid shopping carts: These are motivating for children learning to walk or children who seek heavy work through pushing objects. Developmental age 12 months and up.

Radio Flyer Cyclone Cruiser: Great for children at the developmental age of 3 years or higher, who have full sitting balance and can play without stabilizing their hands on the floor, who may not be ready balance wise for a bike. 75lbs weight limit

Sensory Toys

Kinetic sand: This is perfect for kids who love messy play. Developmental age 2 years and up. This sand-like material molds and sticks together similar to playdough but feels like sand.

Tents or Cranium Super Fort Building set: A great, fun escape for a child who is overstimulated by their environment. Developmental age 3 years and older.



Fine Motor Toys

Perler beads: Small beads that you can place on boards to form different art projects, shapes, or patterns. Appropriate for children with a developmental age of at least 5 years old, who do not place objects in their mouth.

Scratch N’ Color: A great way to incorporate drawing and tool use without having to do writing. Kids can draw pictures on black paper using a small wooden dowel that scratches off to reveal colors underneath. Appropriate for developmental ages 5 years and older.

Bath time squeeze toys or cups: Practice pouring and squeezing during bath time. Developmental age 2 years and older. Be sure your child can sit upright or is fully supported when incorporating fine motor play during bath time.

ball-drop-game-for-babies-develops-sensory-skillsBusy Ball Drop: Working on grasp/ release with your child? Get a toy that is visually fun when a child releases the ball into it. Add a toy hammer, and you just included tool use in the fun.

Legos or building blocks: They make all sizes and types depending upon your child’s developmental age and if they place objects in their mouths. You can start your child with Mega blocks around the developmental age of 11 months.

Oral Motor

Include bubbles and all kinds of whistles as stocking stuffers. These are great to improve your child’s breath control, work on deep breathing, blowing, and possibly decrease oral sensitivities.


Dress up medical kits: Your children have so many medical appointments; allow playtime to include doctor play and dress up to help decrease anxiety during these times as they begin to understand more about what doctors/nurses do.

Spot It!BlokusRush Hour JrHead BandzTappleMouse MatchScatterpillar ScrabbleDiggity DogDon’t Break the Ice: All games for children with a developmental age of at least 4 years. Some rules may have to be adapted depending upon your child’s level. All of these games are easily adaptable.


The Physical Therapy Services team would love to discuss these and other ideas with you as the shopping season comes upon us. Also, see our Gift Giving Guide located in the lobby of both of our clinics for more ideas.

Our hope is for this season of giving and love to be full of enjoyment and peace