When My Son Received an Obesity Diagnosis (Part II)

By Angela, Registered Dietitian

Hello again, and thank you for joining me for this next section of my blog post on my son and his obesity diagnosis.  In my first post I discussed what BMI is and why this particular number is used in conjunction with growth charts to monitor children.  Here is an article about why BMI is important for physicians to use when assessing children: click here.  While pediatricians have been given guidance to use BMI to help address and correct childhood obesity, they may not have the tools to discuss this sensitive topic in a way that is meaningful to families.  As I’ve spoken to other parents, I’ve realized that the confusing and frustrating experience we had is common.  It is important that parents like you and me can work hand in hand with our doctors to manage our children’s weight, and feel like we are on the same page.  

I am a registered dietitian and because I knew where to look, I was able to access the information I needed to help me manage my son’s health after I left our doctor’s office. I wanted to share some of my favorite resources with you so that if you have concerns about your child’s weight, you can walk into your doctor’s office prepared to have a meaningful and positive discussion.  I’m hopeful that these resources will also allow you to walk out of your appointment prepared to take charge of your child’s health.

This article has a list of topics that parents who think their child may have a weight issue should consider before stepping into their doctor’s office: click here.

In addition to reviewing this article, be prepared to discuss your child’s eating, activity and sleep habits with your doctor or nurse.  Lack of adequate sleep, inactivity and excess calorie intake can all lead to weight gain.  If the doctor or nurse sees some sort of pattern that can be addressed by habit change, this is where it will become evident.

If during your office visit you find that your child’s BMI falls into the overweight/obese category, here are some resources that you may find useful:

  • General guidelines for calories required for children based off of age, gender and activity level: click here.
  • Portion sizes for both adults and children have been increasing steadily over the years.  This website has useful articles on portion sizes and healthy eating and recipes to make mealtimes more fun and engaging for children: click here.
  • This website can help you create balanced meals and it also has a wealth of information about healthy eating and lots of fun activities that you can do with your children to get them involved in their own health: click here.
  • If you feel your child should be more active, click here for some excellent tips.
  • The AAP Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight was designed to help connect pediatricians to parents in order to provide a united front in regards to obesity.  Click here to learn more.  

As you click through all of the ideas and tips on the websites I’ve provided, if you find something that is helpful for you and your family, be sure to share it with your physician.  They don’t necessarily have time to find all of the resources that can help parents (as their focus is often on more critical care) but a good doctor will welcome information that can assist their patients’ families.  

I hope that you find the links I’ve shared useful and helpful.  As always, feel free to comment with your questions or concerns!  I wish you and your children the best of health.