Most people think of obesity as a problem affecting adults, but alarmingly, about 1 in 5 kids is obese, too. In fact, childhood obesity has skyrocketed in recent years, doubling for kids and tripling for adolescents since the 1980s and 1990s.
Even though childhood obesity is a serious medical problem, a lot of people — parents and teachers included — may not appreciate how serious it is. That’s because childhood obesity is surrounded by a lot of misunderstanding and confusion.
At their offices in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, the team at Nevada Pediatric Specialists offers individualized treatment plans for kids who are overweight or obese and regular screenings to ensure your child’s weight remains on track for their height and age.
Here are five myths that could be interfering with your child’s weight management goals.
1. Obesity doesn’t pose health risks to kids
This is a serious myth that, unfortunately, many people believe. Perhaps it’s because adults associate childhood with a time of health and vigor. But if your child is obese, the truth is that they’re at risk of many of the same problems as obese adults.
That includes serious health risks like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, and respiratory problems like asthma. Overweight and obese kids often find it difficult to be active or enjoy time with friends, which can lead to isolation and depression, too.
2. My child will grow into their weight
You can’t “grow into” fat. In fact, the opposite may be true. If a child doesn’t lose those extra pounds, not only are they at risk of the medical problems listed above, but they’ll also be more likely to struggle with obesity as an adult.
3. Between-meal snacks are to blame
Having snacks between regular meals can absolutely lead to extra pounds — especially if the snacks are high in calories. Healthy, portioned snacks can help curb the hunger that can lead to overeating during meals.
Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables or a small serving of low-fat cheese or yogurt to lock in nutritional benefits while limiting sugars, fats, and calories.
4. There’s no harm in offering food as a reward
Research shows that offering food as a reward is associated with increased body mass index and weight, leading to a behavior cycle that can have long-term implications for dietary habits, even into adulthood. The same is true when food is offered as a reward in school.
Instead, consider some of these non-food rewards or offer your child what they want most — parental praise.
5. My child is “big-boned”
It’s true that bone mass and size vary from one individual to the next. But there’s a big difference between having a larger skeletal frame and carrying around excess fat.
Attributing those extra pounds to your child’s skeletal structure simply delays treatment and offers your child a convenient way to avoid healthy eating and exercise in the future, too.
Help your child manage their weight
Like adult obesity, childhood obesity is influenced by many factors. Successful treatment begins with a comprehensive exam and a detailed health history, sometimes combined with lab tests, to identify the causes.
Our specialists work with you and your child to develop an individualized obesity treatment plan that takes all of those factors into account.
If your child is overweight, medical treatment is critical for preventing complications. To learn how our team can help, call 702-457-5437 or book an appointment online with Nevada Pediatric Specialists today.