Childhood Obesity Specialist

Newton Pediatrics

Pediatrics, Travel Medicine, & Pediatric Obesity Medicine located in Wellesley, MA and Waltham, MA

Children have varying body fat levels during their development, so one who goes through a phase of having a few extra pounds doesn’t necessarily have childhood obesity. However, if your child’s weight continually increases, you should visit Newton Pediatrics for a weight assessment. At offices in Wellesley and Waltham, Massachusetts, your child receives a comprehensive weight and health evaluation and a plan to help them lose any excess weight, if necessary. To find out how to manage childhood obesity and protect your child’s health, call your nearest Newton Pediatrics office or book an appointment online today.

Childhood Obesity Q&A

What is childhood obesity?

Childhood obesity is a condition that’s increasingly common in the United States. If your child is obese, it means they’re carrying an amount of excess fat that could be harmful to their health.

Your pediatrician uses the childhood body mass index (BMI) guidelines (a comparison of height and weight at different ages), along with growth charts and, where required, other tests to determine whether your child is obese. 

What problems does childhood obesity cause?

Childhood obesity can affect your child’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. Problems that may arise from childhood obesity include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Joint pain
  • Asthma 
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease 
  • Teasing or bullying 
  • Loss of self-esteem 
  • Depression and anxiety

Some of these conditions may not have a noticeable impact on your child at this early stage. However, problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions in later life, including heart attacks and strokes.

What causes childhood obesity?

The primary cause of childhood obesity is lifestyle issues. Eating a lot of high-calorie fast food, snacks, candy, desserts, and sugary drinks makes your child gain weight. The problem is much worse if your child doesn’t get much exercise but watches a lot of TV or spends hours on their computer.

Exercise burns calories, so if your child is leading an inactive lifestyle and eating junk food, they could gain a lot of weight quickly. If a child’s parents are also overweight and have an unhealthy lifestyle, the child is more likely to develop childhood obesity.

Another risk factor for childhood obesity is stress. Some children find comfort in food and eat to self-manage problems like depression and anxiety. Your child could also have a genetic tendency to be obese, or they might have a hormonal problem that’s making them more likely to gain weight. Certain medications can also increase the risk of obesity.

After diagnosing childhood obesity, Newton Pediatrics checks for any underlying causes like hormonal imbalances that might require medical treatment.

How is childhood obesity treated?

Newton Pediatrics prepares a comprehensive treatment plan for your child that’s likely to contain ideas such as:

  • Offering healthy snacks 
  • Choosing non-food rewards
  • Making sure your child gets enough sleep
  • Preparing healthy meals 
  • Increasing fruits and vegetables 
  • Cutting back on convenience foods 
  • Limiting sweetened drinks
  • Avoiding fast food
  • Having family meals
  • Not eating in front of an electronic screen
  • Serving appropriate portion sizes
  • Limiting screen time 
  • Encouraging active play 
  • Finding physical activities your child enjoys

The aim is to reduce the child’s calorie intake and increase the time they spend exercising so they lose weight.

With expert support from Newton Pediatrics, you can help your child regain their health and fitness, reducing the risks of childhood obesity. Call the nearest office to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.