07/01/17 — HEALTHY LIVING 2017: Childhood obesity has become an epidemic says Goldsboro pediatrician

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HEALTHY LIVING 2017: Childhood obesity has become an epidemic says Goldsboro pediatrician

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 1, 2017 4:35 PM

Childhood obesity has become an epidemic today, and perhaps one of the most frustrating ones doctors have faced in pediatrics, says Dr. Dave Tayloe with Goldsboro Pediatrics.

A body mass index of 30 or more constitutes obesity.

Tayloe said there are several factors that contribute to a child becoming obese, such as genetics; family eating habits; not exercising; infant feed practices like using bottles and sippy cups that contain sugar-sweetened beverages as security items during sleep time; medications for behavioral disorders; and U.S. culture like fast food, junk food, a sedentary lifestyle.

He said the short-term health risks include social stigmatization and bullying, less than optimal athletic performance and anxiety/depression.

Long-term health risks include type 2 diabetes, chronic liver disease, cardiovascular disease secondary to type 2 diabetes, early onset of chronic arthritis necessitating early joint replacement, social stigmatization and anxiety/depression.

But there are ways to prevent obesity.

Tayloe suggests breastfeeding for as long as possible, establishing a three meal/three snack routine by six months of age and sitting at the table for all feedings.

Parents should also not give their child a bottle or sippy cup in bed or away from the table.

If you have to, make sure to put just water in the bottle or sippy cup.

You should also commit to good nutrition as a family.

Avoid bringing sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food into your home and also limit the consumption of fast foods and restaurant foods.

Take up an active lifestyle to guarantee that everyone in the family can take part in to ensure an hour of activity a day every day.

Regular medical checkups will help document patterns of height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index to help keep your child from becoming obese.

However, if your child is already obese, there are some things you can do to reverse it.

Tayloe recommends a family commitment to good nutrition, a consultation with a dietitian or nutritionist, a family commitment to daily physical activity, regular checkups with a health professional to monitor height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood lipid levels, fasting blood glucose, liver function and hemoglobin AIC.

Parents should encourage lots of activities such as sports, scouts, church, school clubs, 4-H, dance, Tayloe said. And parents also need to be aware of social stigmatism and bullying issues that could lead to anxiety/depression.

"Wayne County is not unlike any other rural county in the South where eating habits have involved high fatty foods like barbecue, fried chicken, butter, tasty breads and desserts and excessive salt," Tayloe said.

"Most people do not work outdoors, and therefore do not have a really active lifestyle during working hours. Most of us do not grow up in families where health/fitness/nutrition are priorities. 

"We are just as addicted to our smart phones, iPads and TV's as other people in the U.S. Our rates of type 2 diabetes have steadily increased since 1980.

"Personally, I see many more overweight/obese children than in previous decades; I am finishing my fourth decade of providing primary pediatric care in Wayne County."

Being obese can shorten one's life, Tayloe said.

Obese people also lead sicker lives than non-obese people.

"Therefore, our economy will not realize its full potential, and our health care system will become more and more costly if we do not, as a community, address the epidemic of overweight/obesity in Wayne County," he said.

Much is being done to combat obesity in Wayne County but much more needs to be done, according to Tayloe.

When Dr. Chris Griffin joined the pediatrics practice about 18 years ago, he developed the CHANGE program for the Family Y to provide scholarships for children to participate in nutrition and fitness program based at the Y, but provided by nutritionists from the health department and other organizations, fitness specialists at the Y and medical professionals from Goldsboro Pediatrics.

"This program has had its ups and downs, but currently is up and running again, and is coordinated by Vanessa Spiron at the Y," Tayloe said.

Amy Brantley, PA, registered dietitian with Goldsboro Pediatrics, provides educational programs and oversees the six school-based health centers of the Wayne Initiative for School Health.

"The providers at Goldsboro Pediatrics document height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure on all patients and counsel patients who are over the 85 percentile on BMI; national authorities have classified people who are 85-95 percentile on BMI as overweight, and people over 95 percentile as obese," Tayloe said.

"We have identified children as young as 10 years of age who have type 2 diabetes. We have identified many children who have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (a side effect of obesity and a precursor to cirrhosis of the liver if left untreated), some of whom are in the preschool age-group.

"We give parents copies of children's growth charts, explaining to parents that most overweight/obese children need to simply stop gaining weight to allow their heights to catch up with their weights."