Portneuf Medical Center: The dangers of childhood obesity
Courtesy of KPVI. Video can be seen here.
Primary Care Specialists physician Mark Mansfield says the medical risks associated with childhood obesity can be detrimental to a child’s livelihood and future.
“Obesity, and especially childhood obesity, is probably the number one risk factor that is occurring now in America,” Mansfield says.
Mansfield says diabetes, insulin resistance and high cholesterol in children are all more likely when a child is obese.
“Then, the child can’t be as active as he or she might want to be because it hurts and it’s tiring and they’re out of breath,” he says.
Using the Centers for Disease Control calculations, Mansfield says parents get a wakeup call when they realize their child is at risk.
“I’ve had a lot of moms and dads, I might plug in the numbers and they’ll look at it and they’ll suddenly notice that their child is obese,” he says. “We don’t even have to say the words.”
That’s when he gets to work, addressing the underlying issues with the family
“It is a family issue, it’s not the child’s issue,” Mansfield says. “When the parents say it’s difficult to eat right and to have the right foods I add that you can’t eat what you don’t buy.’
Though 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day is recommended for adults, Mansfield says kids need a full hour.
“That can be a fast-paced walk, a walk around the wellness complex, biking, whatever the child wants to do and the family will do,” he says. “Video games aren’t bad, but you don’t play them until you’ve done your hour.”
When it comes to discussing the lifestyle changes you’re making with your family, Mansfield suggests: don’t.
“Especially with females, but also males, it can be a self-image issue and once you damage that self-image, it’s very difficult to repair,” he says. “So, I just want them to lead by example. If the parents are eating right and exercising, the kids will follow. We become our parents.”
For more information on childhood obesity visit http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/ .