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Major Concerns With Childhood Obesity - Odessa American: Medically Speaking

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Major Concerns With Childhood Obesity

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Posted: Monday, November 2, 2015 9:14 am

   Let’s face it; when we as parents look into the eyes of our children, all we see is perfection. None of us want to think that there could ever be a serious issue with their health. However, childhood obesity is a growing issue in the U.S., with 1 in 6 kids from the ages of 2-19 being overweight or obese, and it is the most visible, yet the most neglected problems we see in our children.

   There are many health issues your child can face if he or she is overweight or obese, the most common being type II diabetes. Vivek Dasari, M.D. is a pediatrician who has screened many obese patients for type II diabetes through hemoglobin A1C screening. Among those screened, 30-40% of patients were positive for pre-diabetes which increases the risk of incidence of diabetes at an early age.

  Dr. Dasari says another problematic issue with childhood obesity is sleep apnea, which can cause hypertension and eventually lead to heart disease… in a child. Asthma can also be brought on by obesity as well as relentless bullying from peers, which leads to self esteem issues that can lead to a plethora of other problems.

   Dr. Dasari mentioned that the effects of diabetes are not going to happen overnight, it is a slow process.  It may take 10-15 years, which means by the time your kids reach into their 20’s or 30’s they will have all severe health issues. 

   As with all things our children learn, education about being healthy begins at home with us as their caretakers. If you are unsure about what the classification is for overweight or obese, calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI). You can do so at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm).

   Texas currently ranks #5 in the United States in obesity levels, so the first thing we need to do is ask ourselves one simple question: Why is my child overweight? Are they eating healthy, getting enough physical activity? If they spend several hours in front of a television, video games or staring at a phone or tablet, they are not only not getting enough physical activity, they are most likely also snacking which adds more calories. Be proactive and a good role model as a parent, and do not buy junk food and cokes but instead, encourage them to drink water, eat fruits and vegetables. Encourage your kids to go outside and play. Lead by example and be a motivator for your child!

   Dr. Dasari believes school is also a key place for our children to learn healthy living. Teachers and administrators alike need to promote a healthy diet because most children eat 2 meals a day, 5 days a week under your care. Help support and advocate keeping our kids healthy.

   Lastly, make sure you take your children to see their pediatrician at least once a year for a checkup. If we all work together, our children’s future will be so much healthier and brighter.


   For more information, please call Dr. Dasari’s office at 432-582-8670.

Odessa, TX

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