Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Teenage Obesity: A Warning...

The British Medical Journal has published a study looking at weight patterns in emerging adolescents. What they found shatters the myth that "puppy fat" (or "baby fat" as we call it in the States) disappears with adolescence.

They looked at over 5800 children as they moved from childhood into adolescence.

Kids who had weight problems prior to the teenage years, continued to be overweight as adolescents.

This study is important because it reminds us that overweight is overweight, and parents should not just wait and hope they "grow into it" as kids get older.

As a side note, this study also observed that children of certain ethnicities and socioeconomic status were more likely to be overweight. Nothing new here, but just a reminder that obesity has both genetic and environmental origins.


At 5:41 AM, Blogger Flea said...

True, genetics is not destiny.

I also look at the child's entire life. You have to.

I just saw a 9 year old with a BMI in the 92%ile. His older brother and sister were also chubby. Mom and dad are fit as they come. Mom is a nutritional activist, for want of a better word. Her kids adhere closely to the 5-2-1 rule and exceed it!

I am not worried about this kid. Should I be?



At 4:02 PM, Blogger Michael P. Scaccia, MD, FAAP said...

No, Flea, I agree with you, but here comes one of my favorite sayings...

"There's a difference between concern and worry."

When I see a kid who's hovering in the 85-95% "at risk" zone, I step up my counseling, just to make sure that eating right and getting plenty of activity is on the family's mind.

The key with all of this is keeping good health on the minds of our families. When a 9 year old sees us once, we counsel them, and then off they go into the world for another year, there's a good chance they won't remember, much less put into action anything we've discussed.

We need to find ways to keep those reminders out there. Fortunately, the media (for once) is helping us do just that.

Unfortunately, insurance companies won't pay for preventative obesity care or nutritional counseling for obesity. It is the number one preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, surpassing tobacco, and patients can't get the help they need.

Very frustrating.


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