Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity services offered in Mcallen, TX

Childhood obesity is more widespread than you may realize, affecting nearly 12% of preschoolers and 20% of 6 to 19-year-olds. Maria Hoffman-Guardia, MD, at Pediatric Associates at Ridge in McAllen, Texas, specialize in helping children and teens reach a healthy weight with individualized weight loss plans that fit their lifestyles and unique needs. Your child has a better chance of success with the medical and emotional support provided by the caring team at Pediatric Associates at Ridge. Call the office or use online booking today to learn more about weight loss for your child.

How does childhood obesity affect long-term health?

Gaining weight in childhood (and not losing it) gives obesity-related diseases the chance to develop earlier, even in your child’s teens or young adulthood.  

Fat cells actively release hormones and chemicals that cause inflammation, affect organs, and increase the risk of developing:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Once these diseases develop, they can’t be cured. Then your child faces a lifetime of chronic medical condition management.

Can children grow out of obesity?

Years ago, doctors advised parents to monitor their child’s eating habits and let them grow out of obesity. But now they know that doesn’t work. And in light of the rising number of children and teens diagnosed with obesity and diseases like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the recommendations have changed.

In February 2023, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for treating childhood obesity (the first update in 15 years). They recommend consulting a physician and starting medically supervised weight loss as early as possible.

How is childhood obesity treated?

The team at Pediatric Associates at Ridge treats children with great respect and compassion, especially when dealing with a condition like obesity that directly impacts their emotional well-being.

Children and teens need to know that obesity is a disease caused by many overlapping health issues, not a lack of willpower. For example, obesity is frequently associated with hormonal imbalances telling the body to store fat.

When treating childhood obesity, your provider creates a healthy, sustainable lifestyle that you and your child can follow for the long run. Slow and steady weight loss is the best way to reach and maintain your child’s healthy weight.

Your provider supports weight loss with services such as:

  • Nutritional education
  • Daily or weekly calorie goals
  • Healthy weight loss goals
  • Meal planning
  • Exercise and activity recommendations
  • Behavior management

Your provider may consider prescription weight loss medications for children over the age of 12. However, your child may regain the weight after they stop taking the medication, a risk you may want to avoid.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests that teens (13 and older) with severe obesity should be evaluated for weight loss surgery.

Call Pediatric Associates at Ridge or use the online booking feature today to get help for childhood obesity.