Pediatrician Helps Fight Against Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is an epidemic in this country. With the popularity of video gaming and other “sedentary sports” at an unprecedented level, many children fail to get an appropriate amount of healthy activity on a regular basis. And with fast foods having a starring role in their diet, an overabundance of sugar, sodium, and preservatives quickly leads to obesity.
“Childhood obesity is a real problem,” says Dr. Tajuddin. “Twenty years ago, the obesity rate in children was around 12 percent. Now 18 percent of kids are considered obese, and one in three children is either overweight or obese.”
Dr. Tajuddin says we must consider the long-term effects and realize the impact that being obese has on children.
“Metabolic syndrome can begin early, and as children become adults, they can develop high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and joint pain,” he says. “Obese children are frequently bullied in school, and the psychological damage to them can be long-lasting. We don’t want kids feeling inferior to others because of their body.”
Dr. Tajuddin gets parents involved in their children’s diet and lifestyle adjustments, and aims for gradual improvement.
“Obesity can’t be solved quickly; we need a collective long-term strategy,” he says. “I show them where they are on the growth curve, and where they should be. I try to understand their family dynamic so I can recommend changes.”
The first step involves cutting out soda, switching to skim from whole milk, and limiting juice intake. Dr. Tajuddin also recommends that children shouldn’t skip breakfast.
“During well-child visits, we discuss portion control and how to increase exercise and activity levels,” he said. “The whole family must embrace the changes, or success will be difficult.”
For more information on childhood obesity, contact Dr. Tajuddin at the Coal City Healthcare Center of Morris Hospital, 815-518-5755.