Richmond Practice - Obesity in children

Obesity in children
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Childhood obesity can be embarrassing at school and lead to serious health concerns now and in later life. Obesity means having too much body fat for a child’s specific muscle and bone structure. Indicators of obesity can be Skin Fold Thickness (SFT) and calculation of the Body Mass index (BMI). STF is a measurement of the thickness of skin that can be pinched gently in the area of the child’s triceps muscle of the upper arm.

Body mass index?

Only a small percent of all obesity in children is caused by a hormone problem or genetic disorder, the rest is due to a complex mixture of diet, exercise, lifestyle and other factors.

Obesity in children puts them at greater risk of high blood pressure, breathing problems, Arteriosclerosis and Diabetes II (diabetes mellitus). Being overweight can overload and damage the joints and can create extra skin fold overlap, which can become irritated or infected.

Providing the right amount of calories? in a balanced diet and the necessary fibre, vitamins and minerals is your starting point. Restricted ‘fad’ diets such as popular ‘only protein diets’ are not the answer, they may interfere with growth.

Changes in lifestyle may also include modifying your child’s daily exercise pattern. You may need to check with your doctor first before your child begins any new exercise or sports programme. Make good nutrition and proper exercise a family affair.

Consult your doctor if you notice:
  • enlarged abdomen, skin hanging, stretch marks
  • fat causing deep skin folds -shortness of breath after a little activity
  • being teased by other children
Consult our GP or Consultant Paediatrician/Children’s doctor to exclude a medical or genetic cause and establish your child’s BMI? and SFT. Also book a consultation to formulate an action plan or for a referral to a Dietician.