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.