The Role of the Pediatrician in Primary Prevention of Obesity

Childhood obesity is a problem that opens doors to many diseases. Obesity impacts many different aspects of a child’s body. For a baby, obesity means they may have difficulty growing both physically and mentally. They may have trouble doing day-to-day activities without getting breathless. While a chubby baby is not a cause for concern, obesity is. Therefore, as a parent, if you feel your child needs help, you should stop by a pediatrician. Pediatricians are professionals who understand a child’s psychology, physiological and emotional development. They’re well aware of when a child needs help to get better. They’re also knowledgeable about when a parent should intervene to help a child lose weight. Here are some key roles pediatricians play in preventing obesity:

  1. Screen For Family History 

A child is a mixture of nature and nurture. While parents may be feeding the child proper meals, they may be ignoring their genetic makeup. If obesity runs in the family, there’s a chance the child may gain weight faster than average. There’s also a chance a child may be born with conditions such as diabetes and heart problems. If the problem lies with the genes, it goes beyond fixing the diet. A doctor may help you curb several lifestyle issues that may help your child get better.

  1. They continuously upgrade their skills

Medical science is constantly changing, and new advancements are entering the sector every day. Pediatricians are continually learning and upgrading their qualifications. They have to keep up with the latest information, trends, practice standards for pediatrics in order not only to treat children but also stay informed about new developments within this field. Amid the pandemic, several online programs provide flexibility to fit the lifestyle where professionals can enroll in courses conveniently. For instance, PALS recertification offers the latest information and best practices concerning pediatric advanced life support.

Children are fragile. They can’t get subjected to diets and treatments that give fast results, which may jeopardize their health. So staying in touch with current and modern medicine is the only way to help them. An outdated theory is that children struggling with obesity are lazy. Some of the factors governing a child’s weight may be out of their hands.

  1. Prevent Feelings Of Shame

Children are aware of how their weight gets looked at. Unfortunately, they may experience bullying at school and at home. Not every treatment route needs to be hard and fast. A child needs compassion and empathy. A pediatrician may help a child understand why they have weight gain in the first place. It may not be because of their eating habits but maybe their environment. A pediatrician is not only helping a child but also counseling a child. Both are two essential factors to help a child. 

  1. Supplement’s A Baby’s Feed

Pediatricians don’t work with children alone; they also work with newborns. In some cases of obesity, it starts when the child is a baby. In such cases, the pediatrician will inquire the mother how they’re feeding the baby. Most pediatricians encourage exclusively breastfed babies. A mother’s milk contains the nutrients and the antibodies a baby needs for growing. Babies who are significant for their weight can get compared with a chart. If a baby is left struggling with the weight, they may show hindrance in growth. A pediatrician may talk to the parents at length on how they remedy the situation. 

  1. Help Make Dietary Changes

A pediatrician will start by checking a child’s height and weight. A child’s weight will change as they grow. A pediatrician can help a child understand what their optimum weight is and what ranges are acceptable. If the child has no family history of obesity or conditions, a pediatrician may start with the child’s diet. The food a child eats will deposit around the body. If the family has too much takeout food that is greasy and fattening, a child will gain weight. While a parent may not have to cook every day, a pediatrician can help identify the child’s needs. A parent can arrange for snacks and cook meals in advance. If the parent needs extra help, they can connect to a nutritionist. 

  1. Identify Emotional Issues

Some children may binge eat or neglect themselves because of emotional issues. These can stem from feelings of depression, anxiety, and even abuse. In such cases, the child needs help with their mental needs. A pediatrician will never launch into treatment without getting to the crux of the problem. Counseling is essential to help a child recover from mental health issues. It is also necessary to help a child safely to administer care. When a child starts feeling better, then the main route of their treatment begins. That includes helping a child make proper lifestyle changes.

  1. Help A Child Find Activities 

A child needs to have a physical regime. These don’t need to be strenuous or challenging. They can be anything from playing sports to encouraging to play outside. Some stretches and exercises can help a child get better physically. Pediatricians can encourage parents to get involved with their children and start exercising. They can motivate a parent to buy bikes and skateboards to build a healthy routine. The idea is to start slow; if a child is not used to playing much outside, they need encouragement. Physical activity is essential in keeping many health issues away. It also helps a child to gain flexibility and keeps their body in better shape.

  1. Check A Child’s General Health

General well-being also needs proper checking. That means a child’s eyes, ears, and even limbs get checked to ensure how a child is doing. Obesity stems from many different sources. Parents may not even know if a child has an underlying condition they don’t know about. An obese child has many layers of treatment. So unless their general well-being is approved, the weight issue cannot get acknowledged. Maybe a child has a premature metabolic problem they don’t know about. Which also removes more misconceptions about obesity and how it happens.

  1. Help The Child Manage Their Health

Suppose a child has issues such as hormonal fluctuations or diabetes, they need to get on medicines. A doctor realizes asking a child to take drugs is not easy. Children struggle with the timings of what they need to take. A pediatrician can help a child find alternatives to pills. These can be syrups or a chewable that is easy to consume. Hormones play an essential role in our weight. For children, if they have issues with their body’s hormones, they need immediate help. For some conditions, surgery gets recommended later, and that can help a child deal with obesity. 

Wrap Up

Obesity can happen to anyone at any time. However, if it starts in childhood, it needs to get dealt with immediately. Babies can become more significant than their age. When early obesity arises, it can stunt a child’s physical and mental growth. If a child stays obese until they’re a toddler, it will again cause problems for the child. A pediatrician will work in a very involved manner with the child. They’ll check their overall well-being and then dive into their emotional issues. Once those are in the clear, they’ll start by helping the child modify their diet and physical activities. After assisting a child properly, the parents and pediatrician can notice a visible change.