Dealing With Childhood Obesity

One-third of the nation’s children are carrying too much weight, and researchers are beginning to uncover that medical professionals are leery of proactively discussing weight issues with their patients. A recent study revealed that, even though 39% believed that treatment of obesity by physicians has the potential to be effective. “Displaying posters on eating habits in patient exam rooms can have a positive impact on patients.”  Given the sensitivity with young patients in particular, medical professionals often respond vaguely with nonspecific health instructions such as, “lose some weight” and/or “get some exercise.” Unfortunately, these vague commands result in gaps in care. Many parents of obese children often walk out of the doctor’s office just as confused as when they came in. As with any other chronic health problem, the challenge of low literacy may also impact how patients understand the information they are presented. Studies indicate that one of three American adults have limited health literacy skills. Although providers can’t cure all physical illnesses their patients face, childhood obesity and the potential of lifelong diabetes are conditions that physicians must try to proactively prevent and treat. Be Visual Community clinics that routinely deal with family obesity issues have found that displaying posters on eating habits in patient exam rooms can have a positive impact on patients. Being visual is an important strategy that can be easily implemented to address this problem. “Seeing is believing” when it comes to height and weight charts. Hanging a colorful height and weight poster of boys and girls ages 2 to 12 in physician offices can be a helpful asset in teaching parents about...