Talking to your Doctor about Childhood Obesity

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What is CO?
CO means childhood obesity. Children with childhood obesity have excess body fat which may cause serious health complications including high blood pressure, premature arthritis, damage to knee joints, headaches, blindness, asthma, liver disease and frequent heartburn.

Many overweight children may be at risk for obesity-related diseases.

Does your child have CO?
Has your child’s weight increased more than 10 pounds in the past year?  Does your child develop difficulty breathing during activities faster than other children?  Does your child complain of painful bones or joints with exercise?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your child might have CO.

How do you know if your child is overweight?
According to the 2008 Dayton Children’s Regional Pediatric Health Assessment, 1 in 4 children between the ages of 2 and 14 in our region are overweight; however 70 percent of those children’s parents thought their children were normal or underweight.

“Remember, your doctor is your partner in caring for your child,” says James Ebert, MD, physician at Dayton Children’s, “It’s important that you ask your doctor about your child’s weight to determine if your child is at risk for obesity-related diseases.”

At your child’s next doctor’s appointment:

  • Ask your doctor about your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI). This measurement is based on your child’s height and weight.
  • Ask where your child fits in on a typical growth chart. This chart compares your child’s BMI to other children the same age, and makes it possible to determine whether your child is overweight or obese.
  • If it is determined that your child is overweight or obese, find out if your child is at risk for any of the diseases typically associated with childhood obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep problems, frequent headaches, liver disease, and arthritis.

“Ask if your child is gaining weight too fast or needs to lose weight,” says Dr. Ebert. “Finally, ask your physician about some strategies to help your child become healthier.”

Starting the conversation early with child's physician about proper weight and nutrition can help avoid long-term health problems and the lifelong diseases associated with childhood obesity.


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