Weight is one sign of health and we use this, along with other factors, to best determine if further evaluation is needed. Weight gain is a normal part of growth and development in children and teens. When we note weight gain that is outside of the normal growth rate, our goal is to work with you and your child to promote health and well-being through eating healthy and having regular activity daily.
Below are some quick tips that can help get you started on this journey:
- Teach your child about healthy foods. It is important for them to know what foods are healthy and why we eat them. Even young children can learn. When a young child asks for a snack, offer a healthy snack such a piece of fruit and say, “Here’s your healthy snack so that you are healthy and strong.”
- For older children, take them shopping with you and teach them about healthy foods. Check out https://www.myplate.gov/life-stages/kids for fun games and further information about healthy eating.
- Stock your home with healthy foods so that junk food is not a temptation. Yes, this means that everyone is going to be on the healthy food plan too!
- Doing physical activity as a family is always more effective for children. Walking, biking, hiking, or a fun game of tag in the yard can all get everyone’s heart rate up and promote fun activity.
- Limit screen time. Increased time on the screen has been linked to weight gain and its associated complications. See https://www.myplate.gov/life-stages/kids to find ways to help your child limit their screen time.
- Be a role model for your child. Be positive about healthy eating and exercising and try to get the whole family involved.
- Do not focus on the number on the scale. As noted, weight gain is normal for children. Making healthy changes in eating and exercise is all we would like you to work on at home. Focusing on the scale can lead to unhealthy feelings about weight and body image.
- Check out https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/tools-resources/parent-tip-sheets.htm for some great work sheets and information to help lead to success in this endeavor.
We hope these resources help you get started. We are here to work with you and your child/teen, as needed. A more extensive plan and weight management visit can be scheduled with your provider. We are here to help!
While cardiovascular disease is rare in children, risk factors present in childhood can greatly increase the likelihood a child will develop heart disease as an adult. In response, guidelines sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part the National Institutes of Health, and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends ALL children between 9 and 11 years old undergo universal screening for high blood cholesterol levels regardless of risk factors.
There is convincing evidence that children with cholesterol problems become adults with high cholesterol. Less than 1% of children with high cholesterol will require medication, but it will be important to limit cholesterol dense foods, incorporate heart-healthy, cholesterol lowering foods and increase activity/exercise in those children with elevated levels.
Risk factors that increase your child’s likelihood of elevated cholesterol include:
Children whose parents or grandparents have had heart attacks, stroke or have been diagnosed with blocked arteries or disease affecting the blood vessels at age 55 or earlier in men, or age 65 or earlier in women.
- Children whose parents or grandparents have total blood cholesterol levels of 240 or higher
- Children whose family health background is not known
- Children who have characteristics of heart disease or have conditions at risk for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking or obesity.
- For low-risk children, a NON-FASTING Total Cholesterol and HDL (good cholesterol) is recommended
- For children with risk factors, a FASTING Lipid Profile is recommended
- Is it a blood draw? No – we offer an in-house, finger prick cholesterol screening for most insurances. Results are returned in 5-10 minutes. If the result is concerning or your insurance does not cover the in-house screening, then yes, a blood draw is typically recommended.
- What does “fasting” mean? A full 8-12 hours without food (water is ok). Usually, this is easiest in the morning prior to eating breakfast.
Weight Management: Helpful Tips for Parents Part I
Weight Management: Helpful Tips for Parents Part II
Daily Food Journal/Diary
Guide to Lowering Cholesterol