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Pediatric Obesity Problems: April 26, 2011

Children's Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Cayce Jehaimi treats children with a variety of problems: from hormone difficiencies to thyroid issues. But these days, he's seen all too common pattern: obesity-related problems. "More than 50%. And if there's a more specific endocrin problem not related to obesity I always come across that issue being part of the issue."

He says obesity-related problems are much more than just the numbers on the scale. "Often times, I get the complaint of joint pain, knee pain, and if a child is hurting in their knees they can not run, they can not play."

High cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries and other heart-related issues. These medical problems can weigh heavily on a child and if not addressed, could haunt them into adulthood. "It's the 21st century battle," says Dr. Jehaimi. "Children are our future and if we can't have healthy children to sustain the growth of our country, I think we'll be in a difficult position."

He makes a point of educating parents about healthy lifestyle habits. He says each household should strive to do the same. "I think that there's sometimes a reluctance to admit there's an issue. However, I think that even the child, even the child, understands the difficulties and the challenges behind being over weight or heavy."

His plan is a simple 3-step process. Cut portn sizes in half. Increase water intake. And take time to exercise 20 to 30 minutes each day, even if it's just a simple walk. Three easy ways to prevent what could be complicated obesity problems as the child grows.