Introduction – Obesity Resources
Dealing with childhood weight problems has always been a tremendous challenge, and the Virginia chapter is putting on one of our front burners as we have seen an explosion of children with type II diabetes and other comorbities walk into our offices. This problem provides an ideal opportunity for primary care doctors to have a major impact on the lives of our families. To make a difference providers need to accomplish four goals.
Goal One – Become informed. With a moderate concentration on learning we need to be experts on the causes and challenges related to obesity. Identifying and referral is not enough. With 31% of the children and adolescents in Virginia now either obese or overweight—We all need to become experts.
Goal Two – Learn new tactics to be an effective manager or facilitator for helping children reaching a healthy weight. Take a class in motivational interviewing when you get a chance. Find out which gyms or athletic programs are in your area and use your checkups or other appointments to recommend exercise and healthy eating practices if you get a chance. Keep yourself informed about best practices that are most effective for weight management (much research is taking place now).
Goal Three – Work with community partners. Dietitians, athletic programs, schools, PTA’s, hospitals and churches offer opportunities for getting the necessary help for eating advice and physical activities.
Goals Four – Be an advocate for this issue. Patients and the public look towards doctors and providers for advice and leadership about nutrition and fitness. Be a speaker and lead your community towards creating open spaces, walking paths and avoiding poor eating practices which have worsened over the last two decades. Your legislators and community leaders need your direction to allocate funds or set priorities for schools and public institutions about how children spend their time.
This website is designed to both inform the public about what they can do to help children make needed transformation. Explore, engage your patients and share with us your ideas for how to tackle this problem.
Robert Shayne, M.D.
Chairman, Pediatric Obesity Committee
Virginia Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics