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Bringing Awareness to Childhood Obesity

The United States is currently facing a childhood obesity epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity was 18.5 percent and affected about 13.7 million children and adults from 2015-2016.

The month of September is dedicated as Childhood Obesity Month, raising awareness about childhood obesity and how it can be prevented. Dr. Matthew Else, family medication physician at Utica Park Clinic in Bixby, shared what you need to know about childhood obesity with us.

“Obesity is determined by looking at the relationship between the child’s weight and height. This gives us an estimation of overall body fat,” Dr. Else says, adding that obesity is considered to be anything above the 95th percentile for age and gender. The CDC reports that obesity prevalence was 13.9 percent among 2 to 5 year olds, 18.4 percent among 6 to 11 year olds, and 20.6 percent among 12 to 19 year olds from 2015-2016.

Sharing that studies show that childhood obesity often results in adult obesity, Dr. Else adds that this can result in health conditions ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure, to heart disease and sleep apnea. Children who experience childhood obesity also often experience more severe obesity and disease risk factors when they become adults.

Dr. Else says that the most common ways obesity develops are related to genetics and environmental factors. “Environmental factors can include diet, level of physical activity, sleep hygiene and medications,” he adds.

“It’s important to get regular screenings with your primary care physician to monitor for signs of obesity. We take measurements at every visit and can help detect any concerns early on and try to determine what the cause may be. We can then work together to form and implement a nutrition and exercise plan,” Dr. Else explains.

Reach Dr. Else at 918-574-0150. To schedule an appointment with another Utica Park Clinic primary care provider, call 918-579-DOCS (3627) or request an appointment online by visiting uticaparkclinic.com/contact-us.