Local experts discuss new guidelines for fighting childhood obesity

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:55 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The totals are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 million children and teenagers in the U.S. deal with obesity every day.

Obesity rates have tripled in children since the 1980′s and quadrupled in adolescents.

“The incidents of childhood obesity have increased a lot in the United States as well as in Canada. All over North America,” said Dr. Nandini Chattopadhyay, a family practice physician with OSF.

Chattopadhyay thinks it’s gotten even worse since the pandemic.

“Kids were not allowed to go outside, there was no gym at school that they were participating in―parents were not allowed to take their kids to playgrounds. Honestly, the whole concept of exercise was bizarre,” she said.

As a result, for the first time in 15 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for treating the problem.

The first step is intensive behavioral and lifestyle changes; Dr. Chattopadhyay agrees.

“I tell them to bring a food diary. I tell mom and dad to make sure that they have breakfast lunch and dinner and meals, whatever the kid is consuming, to write it down in a diary and bring it to me,” she told 23 News.

The Academy also recommends anti-obesity medications and surgery. Doctor C says she hasn’t used those drastic steps yet, but if research shows it works, she’ll reconsider.

“I haven’t personally done it because I didn’t see a population that needed that right away. But I’m seeing more research about it and hopefully if this is something we can do in the future I would be happy to help my patients with it,” Chattopadhyay said.