Childhood obesity is a growing trend throughout America. As we have known for some time, overweight and obesity can lead to many serious health issues that affect an individual for years to come. Whenever a growing child is dealing with excess weight, both physical and emotional issues can occur that can have long-lasting effects. How is obesity during childhood defined and what are health implications that children dealing with it may be faced with? What steps can be taken to deal with this common problem? Who is Dr. Mark Holterman and what is his relationship to the childhood obesity epidemic? We will discuss these questions in more detail below.
Defining Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is defined as having an excessively high body weight or body fat percentage for the child’s age and height. A measurement known as body mass index (BMI) is sometimes used to provide an accurate assessment of where a child fits on a typical range of healthy weight and fat percentages. A child with a BMI of at or above the 85th percentile for his age, gender, and height will be classified as being overweight. A child at or above the 95th percentile for his age, gender, and height will be classified as being obese.
Body mass index is determined by taking the person’s weight in kilograms and dividing that number by their height in meters. Childhood BMI measurements are useful because they take into account the fact that the child is still growing and will continue to get taller. This simple calculation can give both parents and health professionals useful information regarding assessing the child’s current and possible future state of health in relation to their weight.
Health Implications of Childhood Obesity
What health problems can arise for a child that is either overweight or obese? These health problems can be further divided into physical and emotional issues that may have far-reaching effects for the individual in question. We will look at a few of these possible health implications in more detail below.
Physical Implications of Childhood Obesity
Carrying excessive amounts of weight on the body can cause physical harm in many different ways. The following are a few of the lasting physical affects of carrying excess weight in childhood.
* Cardiovascular Disease
While heart disease is generally thought of as relating to much older individuals, it can be a problem that now affects youth today. Heart attacks, strokes, and elevated cholesterol or blood pressure are now problems that are affecting young people in increasing numbers.
Type 2 diabetes was previously not seen in young children. For this reason, it was actually given the medical name of adult-onset diabetes. Now, however, type 2 diabetes can be seen in children as young as two years of age in some cases. This disease can lead to a lifelong series of devastating physical problems including loss of eyesight or eventual amputation of limbs.
* Joint Issues
Arthritis and joint pain are common in adults who carry excessive weight on their frame. Carrying even an additional twenty pounds over what is considered normal can place enough strain on the joints to cause pain and inflammation. This is now a commonly seen problem in children as young as toddlers.
Emotional Implications of Childhood Obesity
Of course, the damage created in the body by carrying extra weight is not limited to simply physical health conditions. Children can experience great emotional distress as a result of these issues as well. The following are just three areas where issues can occur resulting from childhood obesity.
* Negative Body Image
Low self-esteem and a negative body image are commonly experienced by children dealing with overweight and obesity. Perhaps even more upsetting is the fact that these psychological issues can potentially pave the way for the development of dangerous eating disorders that can last for years or decades.
Depression is a common occurrence for children dealing with weight issues as well. Depression can create a vicious cycle since the child experiencing it will also lack the motivation needed to make lifestyle changes that can help him get rid of excess weight. Depression is not to be taken lightly since many people eventually become so down that they can cause physical harm to themselves in some manner.
Of course, teasing is something we all go through as children and adolescents. However, bullying can be particularly serious or even life-threatening for overweight or obese children. These children typically have a low sense of self-worth that leads to continued issues with forming relationships of all types.
How Can We Address the Childhood Obesity Issue?
Now that we a much clearer understanding of the problem of childhood obesity, you may be asking what can be done about this issue. The combined efforts of parents and medical professionals can help those dealing with these issues in the following ways.
At-Home Interventions for Childhood Obesity
Parents can do a lot to set a good example regarding proper nutrition and quality exercise that can help control weight. By purchasing and preparing healthy foods at home, part of the battle is already being addressed. Children cannot consume foods that aren’t available, so parents must make an active effort to keep junk food that contributes to weight gain out of the house.
The nice thing about exercise for children is that it can usually be turned into a game. Children can engage in a variety of activities that are fun but also increase the heart rate and burn excess calories. Anything involving running, jumping, or climbing can be effective ways of helping a child lose excess weight.
Medical Interventions for Childhood Obesity
At times, medical professionals may be able to assist parents with helping their children lose weight. Medical interventions such as prescription drugs or surgical procedures are not normally relied upon for young children. However, medical professionals can offer nutritional counseling and other helpful advice to assist parents with helping their children lose weight effectively. Additionally, counselors may be helpful in combating depression or anxiety relating to bullying as a result of obesity.
More About Dr. Mark Holterman
Dr. Mark Holterman is a world-renowned pediatric surgeon who is affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Illinois and several other highly recognized medical facilities (https://ideamensch.com/mark-holterman/). In addition to serving as a qualified physician and pediatric surgeon, Dr. Mark Holterman is also a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He has served in this capacity as a full professor here since 2011.
Dr. Mark Holterman also holds active memberships with several professional organizations. These include such world-renowned organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Mark Holterman specializes in advancing therapeutic interventions for the successful treatment of childhood obesity, a growing trend throughout America over the past several decades (Peoria.Medicine.UIE). He also provides technologically advanced treatments for other common childhood ailments such as cancer. Dr. Mark Holterman has recently experienced success in the areas of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies for the treatment of serious childhood diseases, both of which are relatively new areas of development in the medical world.
Dr. Mark Holterman also boasts an impressive and successful academic career. He graduated from Yale University with honors where he specialized in Biology. He then went on to earn his doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia. Dr. Mark Holterman continues to lend his knowledge and expertise toward helping the youth of today to experience a greater degree of health through the development of innovative medical treatments for common childhood ailments.