A Growing Concern: Doctors Ignoring Childhood Obesity

My Bariatric Life Health Guide

    One out of three children in the United States are currently considered overweight or obese. Less time is spent exercising and more time is spent in sedentary behaviors such as watching television, playing video games, or sitting in front of a computer screen. Corrective measures need to be taken to prevent dissatisfactory outcomes.

    Obese children often have low self-esteem because they are frequently bullied, teased, and rejected by cohorts. In addition, children who are unhappy with their weight are at risk for developing eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, more prone to depression, and vulnerable to substance abuse. As adults they are subject to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and liver and gall bladder disease.

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    Given the dire consequences of obesity, it stands to reason that prevention might be the best cure. An early intervention can remedy a number of problems before they even present, and many psychological and physical maladies can be avoided. A consultation between a physician, a child, and a parent can certainly shed good light on the situation. Some sound advice and poignant suggestions from the family doctor can be a saving grace.

    The problem is that an alarmingly large number of doctors never mention to parents that their child is obese.

    Duty to Inform

    Doctors who care for children have an obligation to track the weights of their patients, and perhaps they do. What to they do not seem to be doing is sharing that information with the caregivers of those children.

    In a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, it was noted that less than one quarter of the parents of overweight children were informed that their children had a problem. When the parents of  approximately 5000 children between the ages of two and fifteen who had a body mass index in the 85th percentile were asked if they had been informed about this by their doctors, only 22.4 percent said that they had been. The parents of very obese children were informed about their children’s weight issues only 58 percent of the time.

    Not Just Kids

    The trend of doctors not sharing weight issues with patients is not restricted to children alone. The Archives of Internal Medicine reports that 55% of overweight people and one-third of obese people who participated in a government survey were not informed by their doctors that any problem existed.

    A doctor’s intervention is important. Twenty percent of obese patients who were not informed of their condition by a medical professional did not believe they were obese as opposed to only three percent who were informed of their condition by a professional.

    Bias in the Health Profession

    A study conducted at the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders discovered that even health professionals who specialize in treating obesity are biased against people with weight issues. Some 389 professionals were sampled and significant bias was discovered with women and young people having the most substantial bias.

  • References:

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    Dr. Walt’s Blog - http://www.drwalt.com/blog/?p=6056
    Insight Into Diversity - http://www.insightintodiversity.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2942&catid=15&Itemid=183
    Kid’s Health - http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/overweight_obesity.html#
    Weight Loss for All - http://www.weightlossforall.com/are-doctors-dealing-with-overweight-patients-the-right-way.htm

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    My Story... 

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003, and since that time my journey from processed food junkie to healthy living so as to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management. Whether you are planning or have had bariatric surgery, or you want to lose weight through non-surgical means, my shareposts along the way will help you to navigate your journey successfully.


Published On: October 07, 2012