Utah dietitian urges multi-faceted approach to reducing childhood obesity
Dec 15, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: 5:14 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that childhood obesity should be tackled early, and as early as age six in instances where a child has a high body mass index. In this instance, “high” means a BMI greater than the 95th percentile for the child’s age and sex.
The task force includes comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions in its suggestions for obese children.
By offering this guidance, the independent panel of experts in disease prevention hopes to address the propensity of obesity in American children. They say that nearly one in five children in the United States struggle with obesity.
It’s a problem with many facets, said Logan-based dietitian Lea Palmer. She told KSL NewsRadio that childhood obesity arises from genetics and social pressures, along with food choices and activity level.
Palmer recommends an all-inclusive approach to care that takes into account individual needs, emphasizing the importance of tailored solutions for each child.
“I think that that’s the only way that they’ll get sustainable change,” said Palmer
The task force advocates for a proactive strategy, and suggests that children as young as six should receive a minimum of 26 hours of professional counseling annually to help manage and balance their weight.
In addition to professional assistance, Palmer suggests that parents incorporate simple measures into their child’s daily routines. These include family activities and introducing healthy foods to their children’s diets as opposed to a sole focus on restriction.