A call for action on childhood obesity

September 1, 2013

Because childhood obesity is a chronic issue, Contemporary Pediatrics would like to serve as a clearinghouse and forum for sharing your ideas, success stories, and anecdotal wins.

 

Approximately 70% of obese youth in the United States have at least 1 additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and about 40% have at least 2. Among families living below the federal poverty level, more than 44% of children are overweight or obese with particular impact felt in communities of color. Some researchers contend that if these trends persist, obesity could cause this generation’s life expectancy to be lower than its parents’.

These statistics-alarming as they are-likely pale in comparison to the reality you encounter in your practice every day. We realize no easy answer exists when it comes to counseling your young patients and their families on weight management. Compounding the challenge is the average pediatrician’s schedule. A 15-minute office visit scarcely leaves time to address rudimentary medical issues let alone a condition with such complex and far-reaching cultural and emotional tentacles.

However, against the stark backdrop of these numbers, in light of the American Medical Association’s designation of obesity as a “disease,” we endeavored to find pediatric peers and novel programs that have shown some promise in the treatment of overweight youngsters and their families.

As part of September’s Practical Pediatrics, for National Childhood Obesity Awareness month, we present some targeted strategies and recommendations that are succeeding-particularly those that tap other community professionals trained in confronting this menace.

Are there techniques, resources, or programs you’re finding successful in your patient care? Because this is a chronic issue, we would like to serve as a clearinghouse and forum for sharing ideas, success stories, and even anecdotal wins beyond just this issue. Please send your thoughts to tmcnulty@advanstar.com.

Alone, the scope of the problem may seem massive-both to you and to your patients. However, just as the problem itself is multifactorial, so may be its solution, and we all may have 1 piece to offer in solving it.

Help students with ADHD succeed in college

The article in the August Contemporary Pediatrics (Quinn PO. Contemp Pediatr. 2013:30[8]:14-20) concerning talking to youngsters about college was fine as a general article. It did not, however, go into specifics.

It has been my contention for years that people with ADHD . . . should NOT go to college right after high school. This is especially true for the boys, but also can pertain to the girls.

When my patients do insist on attending college, I get very specific with them as to how to increase their chances of success.

I tell them that exercising for minimally 30 minutes 3 times a week is essential for mental health and clear thinking. . . .

I also encourage them to sign up for morning classes. . . .

I give them an instruction sheet on how to study.

[Ii tell them that] eating a protein-filled breakfast every day is important for brain functioning.

I stress staying away from mind-altering illegal drugs and . . . continuing their medicine in a consistent manner.

Lastly, I tell them to not overload their schedules the first year. Four B's are better than 5 D's and F's.

Whether they listen to me about any of this, I don't know. The ones that do are successful.

Joel P Sussman, MD, FAAP

Palmetto Associates for Scholastic Success

Columbia, South Carolina

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