On an almost daily basis we hear from the media about the growing number of overweight or obese children. There’s a reason for all of this attention. The problem is very real and is putting the current and future health of our children at risk. Childhood and adolescent weight issues are one of the most important current public health concerns.
According to the Childhood Obesity Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to tackling unhealthy weight in children, 15 per cent of Canadian children, age 5 -17 years, were overweight or obese in 1978. According to Statistics Canada that number has grown to 31 per cent by 2012. Without help, most adolescents do not outgrow this problem. They become overweight or obese adults, which contributes to a host of physical and psychological challenges and risks.
Although many concerns surrounding childhood obesity, centre on the very real physical challenges (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease) that come with unhealthy weights, there are also very real mental health concerns. These can include low self-esteem, depression and oppositional defiant disorder.
Although the growing body of information about childhood obesity is worrying, the team here at Dr. Kiran Pure and Associates has a track record of effectively working with children and their families to set them on a healthier path through life. Dr. Pure works collaboratively with the individual child or adolescent, parents, and other health care professionals (physicians, pediatricians, and dietitians) to help develop behaviour strategies (including increasing activity level, monitoring factors that precipitate and perpetuate overeating) that will teach new habits and increase the child/adolescents’ confidence and give them a sense of efficacy. We discuss issues in terms of healthy living patterns and lifestyle to promote long term gains and reduction of future physical and mental health risks.