Fighting the childhood obesity epidemic

Dr. Eliana Perrin was recently awarded the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement for her research into the prevention of obesity in young people.September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In the United States, one out of three children is overweight or obese. Less exercise, more time spent in front of the computer and television and sugar-sweetened beverages all contribute to obesity in kids. Children who are overweight or obese are at risk for developing serious, chronic medical issues such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

Luckily, pediatricians are highly invested in helping their patients maintain healthy weights through proper nutrition and active lifestyles. They are equally interested in helping reduce the stigma related to being overweight.

“We really want to learn the ways parents and pediatricians can have good conversations together that help prevent obesity—conversations that will motivate healthy behavior change without making children or their families feel judged or stigmatized,” says Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, a physician and researcher in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Perrin, a leading authority in the prevention of obesity among young people, was recently awarded the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement for her work in this field of research. She suggests a variety of methods to prevent children and teens from becoming overweight, tips that can also be used to help one lose extra pounds:

  • Refrain from enforcing a "clean plate" policy. Instead, teach your child to listen to physical queues that indicate hunger and fullness.
  • Limit fast food. When indulging in the occasional fast food meal, use the nutritional information to steer your child to healthier options.
  • Limit screen time. This is time spent in front of the television, as well as the computer, gaming consoles and other mobile devices.
  • Follow nutrition and activity recommendations based on your child's age, and encourage daily physical activity.
  • Importantly, focus your comments on your child's behaviors rather than his/her physical appearance.

Find activity recommendations and other obesity facts and tips by visiting our Kohl's Online Health Resource Center.

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