Children with Obesity

By: Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
Salesian Cooperator

One of the benefits of working in an academic setting is the opportunity to grow by attending Grand Rounds. Recently I attended an excellent presentation on lifestyle modifications for the pediatric patient with obesity by Ms. Anet Piridzhanyan, MS, RDN. She presented updated data on obesity with nutritional considerations. I thought I would break it down and share her experience with you these coming weeks.

Why do we care about children with obesity? Look at the national statistics: youths between age 2-19, a survey from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System in 2017 noted 14.8% of high school students had obesity. A similar experience was reported by the National Survey of Children’s Health: 15.3% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity. In the Los Angeles service area 26% of children in grades 5, 7 & 9 are obese. Quick facts: adolescent with overweight has 70% chance of having obesity as an adult. And 1/3 of children born in 2000 in the U.S. will develop diabetes during their lifetime.

Consequences of obesity:

  1. They are developing cardiovascular risk factors typically not seen until adulthood. Associated conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, orthopedic problems.
  1. They are at greater risk of social and psychological problems – discrimination and poor self-esteem.
  1. They are more likely to miss school and repeat a grade.
  2. They have three times more healthcare expenditures – estimated $14 billion per year.

I don’t need to get more data; these are overwhelming statistics that would compel us to action. I suggest that we look around us, beginning with our own family and see if overweight is a concern. Unless you decide that it is a problem, we can then move to the next step.

For this week, do an assessment of your own family and determine if this health risk is present. Next week we will explore factors that contribute to obesity.

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