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Acid Reflux causes and Treatment

Childhood Obesity—Whose Business Is It?

Childhood Obesity—Whose Business Is It?


Not only are there more kids who are affected
by obesity, but those who are: are more obese then we seen before—even more obese. And
so when you have greater levels of obesity you have many more problems with orthopedic
development cardiovascular issues—that now we are starting to see not only in adulthood
but we’re seeing in childhood as well. So: One of the major findings of this study
is that we are really not at a consensus! We can’t agree as to whether or not it’s
our role to intervene with childhood obesity as far as physical therapy within the schools.
In a nutshell: what was the attitude you found among physical therapists?
One of the really interesting findings is that the younger therapists—those with less
experienced—tend to embrace that role in intervention in the childhood obesity more
so than those older therapists who have already had clinical experience working with kids.
And so it—sort of—hints that there might be some changes coming down the pike with
our profession. It takes a whole team to address the issue
of childhood obesity. And physical therapy is uniquely positioned to play a role—especially
for those kids who are profoundly affected by the problem. So the problem is clearly
very big and it’s growing by the day. It already has reached epidemic proportions in
high-income countries like the USA and the UK and Australia. But increasingly even within
the urban parts of the cities of countries like India and Brazil and China it’s increasing
very rapidly. And right now—depending on what figures you read—anything between 20
to 40% of children are getting overweight and obese in many of these countries. The question that I aimed to the answer was:
What is physical therapy’s role—and specifically for school-district physical therapy? A child
spends a good part of their day—five days a week—in schools. So it’s an opportunity
to influence that lifestyle for that child. And so working on being healthy and being
active is a very important piece. What did you find out in your survey? Did
you find that physical therapists regard it as part of the job? I think we’re all over the place. But I
also think it’s (kind of) changing. When we see these kids who are profoundly overweight
they’re going to have developmental impact. So the skeletal systems are not going to form
because of the forces put upon them. Physical therapy looks at pathology. And then
pediatric physical therapy has to have a crystal ball and predict the future based on what
you are seeing at the time. And so I think we have a huge role that we can play that
goes along with our typical practice because we can see what’s going on bio-mechanically
with these kids, and then try to project what problems they may have as adults. What specific activities do you think physical
therapists might encourage children to do—even if it wasn’t the formal physical therapy
maneuvers? So: I think in some ways this isn’t so different
to adults: But it might be even more important in children to focus on something that they
and enjoy. It has to be something fun, something that
they are doing because they value the activity, not just simply they are trying to do it for
health or something like that. I think in adults: adults can understand the investment
of time and how that’s going to yield a benefit to them as an individual. I think
for children it’s even more important that they’re doing it for the value of the activity—that
it’s something that they enjoy. And then—after that—it’s a case of: Pretty
much anything goes! Anything where you are burning energy above your resting metabolism
will bring that child some benefit. So whether it’s playing games, whether it’s skipping,
or hopping, or whether it’s out in the garden on the trampoline—Whatever that is will
all be of direct benefit, and will add up over a week or a month or a year to health
value for that child. In terms of what the health professionals
can do? I think they have a very important role to play. Clearly there is a big role
for the policymakers to play. But that will take its time coming, and it’s not easy
to change environments very quickly. So: The health professionals have a key role
because they are on the front end of interaction with the communities. They need to: a) have
enough knowledge themselves so they can communicate the healthy diet and activity. And also they
need to be more familiar with more—sort of—psychological and other tools that people
can use in their day-to-day interactions—because we all have this tendency to take food and
not exercise. And we need a little bit more than education—going through our lives—to
manage that better. So: I think the take-home message to physical
therapist is that: We pretty much need to decide for ourselves what our treatment philosophy
is—and what our role is—in embracing this problem. I think: maybe our focus needs to
be on working with those kids who really need more help then just signing up for soccer,
not drinking as much soda, and staying away from the TV. There are kids who really are
in trouble. And I think we are uniquely positioned to help those kids.

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