Childhood obesity is the leading healthcare concern facing children today. Over the past two decades, the landscape of obesity has undergone a change unlike anything we have witnessed in other areas of medicine. The prevalence of obesity in adults and children has increased dramatically, as has the resulting co-morbidities. The causes of this dramatic increase are numerous, with contributing factors including genetics, environment, culture, tradition, ethnicity, economics, and politics. Numerous risk factors have been identified, beginning with the prenatal period and continuing throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence.
A 2007 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides evidence-based recommendations for the prevention, evaluation, management and treatment of childhood obesity. However, despite adequate knowledge of the medical aspect of childhood obesity, and a strong desire to care for their patients, pediatricians continue to find childhood obesity very difficult to manage. Many barriers are present for both physicians and families in attempting to treat overweight children. Treatment recommendations can be esoteric rather than practical; community resources are elusive; and appropriate referral for those in need of specialty care difficult to identify. The widespread nature of obesity has led to despair on many levels – physicians, community leaders, parents, and even children themselves often feel overwhelmed and unable to make successful change.
The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics seeks to aid pediatricians in the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. The Healthy Eating and Living Education (HEALED) program provides regional and in-office training to primary care physicians for the prevention, evaluation, management and treatment of childhood obesity in the primary care setting. Our website seeks to provide medical information for pediatric clinicians, practical assistance such as billing and coding for childhood obesity, and information for resources. Please contact us if you have suggestions, questions or need assistance.