4 Treatment Options for Childhood Obesity

Child Obesity is, unfortunately, becoming more and more prevalent. Child Obesity is characterized by a BMI above the 95th percentile. Children with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentiles are considered overweight and at risk of obesity. Many immediate and long term complications can arise from childhood obesity - some of which include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol, earlier than normal puberty or menstruation, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, and more. It’s key to treat childhood obesity as soon as possible to help minimize risk of these complications. Here are a few ways obesity is often treated:


1. Diet:

The diet that is often pushed for obesity treatment in children is the low-glycemic diet. This diet encourages that only slow energy releasing carbs and foods with high fiber are consumed. This allows for the patient to stay full for a longer period of time, and for their blood sugar and hormones to stay more stable. This diet is also oftentimes combined with steady exercise.


Pros:

- lowers risk for diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver

- lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2

- controls appetite


Cons:

- It can be difficult to adjust to a drastically new diet

- Often times the GI (glycemic index) involved with the diet can be misleading


2. Medications:

Medications are often used to help decrease problems with complications that arise with Obesity. This measure is often not taken unless diet and exercise have been proven ineffective as a treatment.


Pros:

- Offers some ease in losing weight/maintaining proper hormone and sugar levels in the body


Cons:

- Medicine dependency can be an intimidating concept

- Unwanted side effects from the medication



3. Physical Activity:

Effectively losing weight can’t just be done with only diet, a good exercise plan is required as well. The routine that one will follow depends on their body type and previous exercise habits. For example, it may be pretty intimidating for children to exercise for the first time intensively if they haven’t done so before; so they may be put on a very light plan that may include walking or light jogging.


Pros:

- Improves blood circulation, and heart and lung function

- Reduces stress and helps encourage self-control

- Burns of calories and helps build muscle


Cons:

- Can initially be very taxing on the body depending on intensity levels

- May increase appetite/cravings

- Individuals who are suffering from obesity are more prone to workout injuries



4. Weight Loss Surgery:

In more extreme cases of obesity, surgery is considered for treatment. This often happens when many other treatment plans have not been effective. Read our blog post about the different types of bariatric surgeries to learn more.


Pros:

- Can cause drastic weight loss (when accompanied with proper post-surgery care/routine)

- Can decrease risks of Type 2 diabetes, Obstructive sleep apnea, High blood pressure


Cons:

- Surgery complications can arise both during and after

- Possible malnourishment due to lack of healthy pre and post-surgery care\



Works Cited:


Association, O. M. (n.d.). Obesity and Exercise . Retrieved from Obesity Medicine Association : https://obesitymedicine.org/obesity-and-exercise/


Foundation, C. O. (n.d.). WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY? Retrieved from Childhood Obesity Foundation : https://childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/what-is-childhood-obesity/complications-childhood-obesity/


Group, W. S. (n.d.). The Role of Exercise in Treating Obesity . Retrieved from Wayne State University Physician Group: http://www.wsupgdocs.org/family-medicine/WayneStateContentPage.aspx?nd=1571


Hospital, B. C. (n.d.). Treatments for Childhood Obesity in Children. Retrieved from Boston Children Hospital : http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/c/childhood-obesity/treatments


Olivier, D. (2016, April 25). The Pros and Cons of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. Retrieved from The Unconventional Dietitian : http://www.theunconventionaldietitian.com/pros-cons-glycemic-index-glycemic-load/


Staff, M. C. (n.d.). Childhood Obesity . Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354833


WebMD. (n.d.). Pros and Cons of Weight Loss Surgery. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/is-weight-loss-surgery-right-for-you

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