Child Obesity Causes & Treatments

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: What's the secret to helping my child avoid weight gain?

Philip Landrigan, MD
One of the biggest health problems among American children today is obesity. And the diabetes that follows obesity. And rates of obesity have almost tripled among children in many parts of the country.

Philip Landrigan, MD (cont.)
Basically there's two causes for obesity in children, one is too much intake of food – calories – and the other is too little burning off of energy – calories – in exercise. It starts early. Obesity begins early in kids; two, three, four years old, kids that are going to be obese in childhood are already showing signs of obesity. So what's the secret?

Philip Landrigan, MD (cont.)
The secret is that parents have to impose limits early on. They have to teach children what to eat, they have to limit sweets, they have to feed kids, fruits and vegetables, they have to get their children out running and playing.

Philip Landrigan, MD (cont.)
One of the nice things about children is children like to do the right thing and if they pick good habits early, they're in many ways set for life. But if parents allow their children to eat a lot of processed foods and sweets and junk food early on, and not get much exercise, and sit for six hours a day in front of the TV, those bad habits become a way of life and it becomes much harder to shake them at age 6 or age 16, or age 36, than at age 1 or 2.