Pediatricians Miss Childhood Obesity Epidemic

In another case of physicians not spending more time observing, talking to and consulting with their patients rather than prescribing them drugs, pediatritions may be the weak link in the epidemic of childhood obesity.

In 66 percent of the office visits by obese children at a Pittsburgh hospital, pediatricians didn't note a child was overweight, according to a recent study. In many cases, parents and physicians wait for children to grow out of it, one physician said, although even an obese 6-year-old has a significant chance of being an obese adult.

The study was based on a review of medical records of more than 2,000 children seen at the hospital over a three-month period. It found that only 7 percent of pediatricians ordered laboratory tests to screen for weight-related problems, and only 15 percent noted children's activity level and hours spent watching television.

One nurse at the hospital's primary care center noted other nurses didn't routinely note a child's body mass index (BMI), although she knew from observing kids that obseity was a problem.

I've found preventing childhood obesity is far easier than applying treatment options, although much of the success of prevention depends on parental involvement. Setting guidelines and educating children on good nutrition through providing them with nutritious meals and snacks will put them on the road to making healthy decisions as adults.

Here are three recommendations you can use immediately to help your children win the battle over obesity:

Yahoo News August 2, 2004

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