Massachusetts Ranks 22nd in Childhood Obesity | Connecting Point | Oct. 15, 2019

Massachusetts Ranks 22nd in Childhood Obesity | Connecting Point | Oct. 15, 2019


>>>ACCORDING TO THE DATA
RESOURCE CENTER FOR CHILD AND ADOLESCENT HEALTH, MASSACHUSETTS
RANKS 22 OVERALL IN THE NATION FOR OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE
CHILDREN, WITH 30% OF KIDS CONSIDERED EITHER OVERWEIGHT OR
OBESE. AND IT’S A PROBLEM THAT’S ON THE
RISE. CAROLEE McGRATH SAT DOWN WITH
DR. BETH BROWN, A PEDIATRICIAN
WITH HOCH YOLK MEDICAL CENTER TO FINAL OUT MORE.>>CHILDHOOD OBESITY IS ON THE
RISE. APPROXIMATELY 1 IN 5 CHILDREN IS
CATEGORY OF OBESE. THAT IS MORE SO IN CERTAIN
ETHNICITIES. OVERALL, FOR THE UNITED STATES
IT IS ONE IN FIVE.>>YOU SAY IN THE CATEGORY OF
OBESE, HOW IS THAT DETERMINED?>>THAT WOULD BE GREATER THAN
THE 95th PERCENTILE IN TERMS OF HEIGHT FOR WEIGHT ON THE GROWTH
CHARTS.>>OKAY. THAT COULD BE KIDS WHO MIGHT
SHOOT UP AFTER GAINING SOME WEIGHT AROUND 10 OR 11 YEARS OLD
OR COULD BE SOMEBODY HEADED DOWN THAT PATH. HOW DO YOU DETERMINE THAT AND
HOW DO YOU TALK WITH FAMILIES, HEY, YOU ARE AT THE 96
PERCENTILE AND WE NEED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES?>>ONE THING I PAY A LOT OF
ATTENTION TO WHEN I LOOK AT GROWTH CHARTS IS THE TRAJECTORY
KIDS ARE FOLLOWING. ONE OF THE HELPFUL THINGS TO
LOOK AT, HOW IS THE CHILD’S WEIGHT AND HEIGHT CHANGING. THEY SHOULD BE ON THEIR OWN
CURVE AND STAY ON THAT CURVE AND WE KNOW APPROXIMATELY HOW MUCH
THEY SHOULD GAIN AND GROW OVER A YEAR. IF I START TO SEE THAT
TRAJECTORY CHANGING DRAMATICALLY, GAINING TOO
QUICKLY OR NOT ENOUGH, THAT IS A RED FLAG FOR ME. ONCE I’M SEEING A CHILD WHOSE
WEIGHT, BMI IS ABOVE THE CURVE, SO ABOVE THE 99th PERCENTILE,
THAT IS ALARMING FOR ME. IF I START TO SEE THAT
TRAJECTORY ACCELERATING, THAT IS THE POINT TO START INTERVENING
WITH THAT FAMILY.>>TELL ME ABOUT THE HEALTH
RISKS THAT COME WITH THIS?>>SO, THERE ARE A LOT. WE SEE, UNFORTUNATELY, THE RISKS
FOR TYPE II DIABETES, MUCH MORE PREVALENT AMONG CHILDREN. RISKS FOR CARDIAC DISEASE,
HYPERTENSION AND THOSE ARE PROBABLY THE MAIN ONES.>>WHY ARE WE SEEING THIS?>>IT IS MULTIFACTORIAL. THE AMERICAN DIET HAS BECOME A
LOT LESS HEALTHY THAN IT USED TO BE. THERE ARE A LOT OF CONVENIENCE
FOODS MARKETED FOR FAMILIES ON THE GO. SUGARY DRINKS. WE USED TO COUNCIL FAMILIES
AROUND JUICE. SODA IS NOT HEALTHY, THERE’S
EVEN A LITTLE MORE RECOGNITION THAT JUICE IS A LOT OF EMPTY
CALORIES.>>RIGHT.>>NOW WHAT I SEE A LOT OF ARE
THE SPORTS DRINK. GATORADE BECOMES THE THING THAT
IS REPLACING IT. ALL OF THOSE THINGS, SODA, FRUIT
JUICE, GATORADE, SPORTS DRINK, THEY ALL ARE PACKING BETWEEN
200, 300 CALORIES PER SERVING AND THEY ARE NOT GIVING ANY
NUTRITIONAL BENEFIT.>>WHAT ABOUT KIDS’ ACTIVITY
LEVEL AS WELL?>>YEAH. SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE. WE ARE SEEING CHILDREN’S
ACTIVITY LEVELS DECREASING. SCREENS ARE A HUGE FACTOR. TODDLERS, PRESCHOOLERS ARE
SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WITH SCREENS. SCHOOL AGED KIDS USED TO COME
HOME AND PLAY, RUN AROUND. SOMETIMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS
NOT SAFE TO PLAY IN, BUT SOMETIMES THEY ARE DRAWN IN BY
THEIR SCREENS.>>WHEN YOU SIT DOWN WITH A MOM
AND SHOWING HER THE CHART, NOT A COMFORTABLE CONVERSATION TO
HAVE. HOW DO YOU TURN THIS AROUND?>>ONE OF THE IDEAL THINGS IS TO
BE DOING PREVENTION. WHEN WE FIRST START TO SEE THAT
TRAJECTORY CHANGE IN A PERFECT WORLD, AT THAT POINT, STEPPING
IN. IT IS A LOT EASIER TO INTERVENE
WITH A YOUNGER CHILD BECAUSE THE PARENT IS STILL IN CHARGE. THE PARENT IS STILL PROVIDING
ALL THE FOOD, PROVIDING THE MEALS. AND IT IS HARDER WITH ADO
ADOLEADOL ADOLESCENTS FOR LOTS OF REASONS. WHEN I SEE A CHILD ACCELERATE
WITH THEIR WEIGHT GAIN BEYOND WHAT IS APPROPRIATE, I WILL HAVE
A CONVERSATION. IT IS A TOUGH CONVERSATION TO
HAVE. FOOD IS LOVE, RIGHT? I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING I HAVE
BECOME MORE AWARE OF WITH MY OWN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. IT IS REALLY HARD TO SEPARATE
THOSE TWO THINGS OUT. SOMETIMES KIDS ARE IN THE CARE
OF GRANDPARENTS. THE GRANDPARENTS WANT TO FEED
THEM AS A WAY TO BE LOVING THEM. SOMETIMES HAVING CONVERSATIONS
AROUND, GO BUY A SPECIAL FRUIT TREAT RATHER THAN THOSE COOKIES
OR DONUTS.>>LET ME ASK YOU A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THE TEENAGERS. THAT CAN BECOME A VERY DIFFICULT
CONVERSATION. YOU HAVE TO WALK A FINE LINE,
CERTAINLY AS A PEDIATRICIAN. YOU DON’T WANT TO DEVELOP A
COMPLEX ABOUT HOW THEY LOOK? HOW DO YOU HAVE THAT
CONVERSATION SO IT DOESN’T BECOME I HAVE TO LOOK AT THE
SCALE AND WORRY ABOUT WHAT I’M WEARING? HOW DOES THAT PLAY OUT?>>ONE OF THE THINGS I TRY TO DO
WITH TEENS IS FOCUS ON HEALTH. WHY IT IS HEALTHY. WHY I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR
DIET AND LEVEL OF ACTIVITY PURELY BASED ON THEIR HEALTH AND
NOT SO MUCH ON THE NUMBERS IN THE CHARTS AND WHAT THEY LOOK
LIKE. I WILL STRESS FOR THEM BEING
ACTIVE EVERY DAY IS NOT ONLY GOOD FOR PHYSICAL HEALTH BUT
MENTAL HEALTH, THEIR WELL BEING. THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT EATING
EMPTY CALORIES. THAT BECOMES A BIG THINGS FOR ME
TO FOCUS ON. EVERYTHING YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY
SHOULD BE HELPING YOUR BODY GROW OR DEVELOP.

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